How to Choose the Right Dining Table

There are so many shapes and sizes of dining tables.  The look of your table is important, of course, and the right choice will compliment room design, windows and other furnishings. But making sure it fits your space and offers enough seating is equally critical. So what should you consider so you choose the right dining table for you.

Your table needs to comfortably seat the number of diners you prefer, but still leave enough room your family or guests to walk around it. The width of your table should be at least 36 inches. This will allow ample space for place settings as well as food. Typically, as the table length increases, so does the width of the table top. Read on for sizes and shapes to consider when shopping for a dining room table.

Measure table-to-wall clearance.

Measure up the space available in your dining room. To allow diners to sit down and get up easily from their seats, try to leave 42-48″ between your table and the walls.

Measure table-to-furniture clearance.

If there is other furniture in the dining space, begin your 42-48″ measurement from the edge of the furniture instead of the wall.

My crazy way of measuring.

To test possible table sizes in a given room, I first grab a bed sheet or two. Returning to the room, I place them where the table will go, and fold them  into the shape and size of the table I am considering. This allows me to visualize the space it will take up. Then I can measure the wall or furniture-to-table clearance. If your table has leaves, include them in your calculations.

Don’t overcrowd your table.

Rectangular Table

The table manufacturer should recommend the number of people that can comfortably be seated without touching elbows while eating.

Each person needs about 2 feet of eating space. Of course, if your table allows for it, you might be able to squeeze in another seat or two for those larger, occassional gatherings.

Round tables are great for small spaces.

They fit in tight spaces and have no sharp corners to bump into. You can usually fit more people around them because it has no corners. Pedestal tables are even better, as they offer more legroom as well.

Pedestal Dining Table

Add transparent acrylic chairs to show off a beautiful table and make a small room feel more spacious.

Seating size for a round table.

I usually stick to this calculation to begin looking for round tables. Manufacturers may offer different recommendations, and you might be able to add more seating for a tighter fit. Also keep in mind that using a pedestal base allows more seating because it eliminates the legs that can get in the way of a chair.

  • 3′ with a pedestal base seats 4
  • 4′ with legs seats 4
  • 5′ with a pedestal base seats 6
  • 5′ with legs seats 4
  • 6′ with pedestal base or legs seats 8
  • 7′ with pedestal base or legs seats 9

Note: Large round tables can make it difficult to reach for food. Rectangular shapes seem to work better for seating very large crowds.

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