A major part of a home is the dining room which obviously focuses on one piece: the dining table. But which table? What size? What shape? This decision effects Sunday dinners, Thanksgivings, family reunions, and the list goes on. This is the place where families sit and talk about their days, announce promotions and engagements, try mom’s new recipes, and blow out birthday candles. So you’re not just buying a table. You are setting up the scene for so many happy occasions to come.
Dining Table Size Compared to Room and Rug Size
There should be 42-48 inches allowed between the table and walls or other furniture so that guests can easily stand up and sit down at the table.
If you’re matching a table with a rug, you will need to make sure the rug is at least 24 inches longer than your dining table size on each side where there will be chairs. So measure your dining table and add 24 inches where there will be a chair to pull out.
Dining Table Size Based on Seating
A person needs about a 24 inch width to eat comfortably. But for chairs with armrests or wide seats, 28-30 inches should be allowed for more elbow room. Plus, you should add an extra 12 inches on the end of rectangular tables if you plan to add another chair at the head of the table.
For depth, you need space for a dining setting and to place food and decor. A minimum 15 inches for a basic plate setting should be allowed plus 5 inches per person for shared space. 30 inches is more appropriate to allow for a full dining set (including a bread plate and two glasses). Then, you would need 9 inches of free space per person.
The number of people you want to sit around your table might dictate the size and shape of the table you want. Whether having a small breakfast nook with 2-4 people or a large dining room with enough room to fit 12, measurements should be taken in order to utilize the space for your purposes. Another question that comes into play at this point is “what shape dining table do I need?”
A rectangular table works well in long, narrow rooms or when incorporating other furniture pieces in the room such as a buffet or china cabinet. It does make it harder to interact with all guests at a longer table, but there is more room for circulation around the table. One thing to remember is, generally, as the length of the table increases so does the width.
- 4 feet long seats 4
- 5-6 feet long seats 6
- 7 feet long seats 8
- 8-9 feet long seats 10
- 10-11 feet long seats 12
Round tables do encourage more conversation since everyone is able to see each other. They are best for small spaces so you can fit more people because there are no corners. The most appropriate spaces for round tables are corners of rooms with a banquette (i.e. as seen in photo to the right), in an open floor plan, and in square dining rooms (i.e. as seen in the Sketchup animation video below). Pedestal tables allow for even more leg room. Mixing in bench seating and acrylic chairs can make you appear to have more room. However, Large round tables do make it more difficult to place and pass food.
- 3 feet with a pedestal base seats 4
- 4 feet with legs seats 4
- 5 feet with a pedestal base seats 6
- 5 feet with legs seats 4
- 6 feet with a pedestal base or legs seats 8
- 7 feet with a pedestal base or legs seats 9