Whether you’ve just moved into a new space or are looking to update your dining room before the holidays, choosing a new dining table can be tricky. Especially when dining tables come in so many sizes and shapes, it’s important to make sure you find a dining table that is both right for your room, your family, and for existing or new chairs. This way everyone can gather around the table this holiday season.
First, think about the shape of your dining room. If your dining room is rectangular – then a rectangle or oval table makes the most sense. If your dining room is square – try for a square or round table. Once you’ve figured out what shape will work best for the space, you can plan out size and seating.
Table size is very important to scale just right in the dining room. Try cutting out butcher paper or folding a bed sheet into the size of the table you plan to buy. This way you can see the size and shape come to life in the room. And, if the table has leaves, try and “create” this size too. You’ll want to know how the room will look once family is in town!
When measuring, there are some standard rules that will help you find the perfect table. First, take a look at the width. For round or square/rectangular tables, make sure your table is at least 36″ wide so you have room for place settings and food. Usually as the table length increases, so does the width.
You’ll also want to make sure that your guests can get up and move around the room easily. Try to allow for 42″ to 48″ inches between the edge of your table and the walls (or the closest piece of furniture, such as a sideboard).
Speaking of entertaining for guests, this is where seating comes in. It’s very important to think about seating and eating space, especially for the holidays! Once you’ve decided on a table size, it’s good to know what the table can fit. This can vary on shape and leg/base placement. For a quick and easy answer, the table manufacturer or retailer should be able to recommend your table’s seating amount – even for when the leaves are extended.
A great rule is to make sure that each person has about 2 feet of table space.
Here are some standard seating recommendations for different table sizes:
When you’re planning for a rectangular table, think about how many feet long the table is:
- 4′ long seats 4 people
- 5 to 6′ long seats 6 people
- 7′ long seats 8 people
- 8 to 9′ long seats 10 people
- 10 to 11′ long seats 12 people
And when you’re planning for a round table, think about the pedestal bases:
- 3′ wide with a pedestal base seats 4 people
- 4′ wide with legs seats 4 people
- 5′ wide with a pedestal base seats 6 people
- 5′ wide with legs seats 4 people
- 6′ wide with pedestal base or legs seats 8 people
- 7′ wide with pedestal base or legs seats 9 people
If you want extra seating for when the table is extended, invest in two extra chairs. When they’re not in use, you can place these on either side of an entry way for a polished look.
Make sure when you’re investing in new tables or chairs that you measure the chair seat height and the table height. You wouldn’t want to get a new dining room table where the chairs are too high – or even too low – for eating. Most dining room chair seats are between 16″ and 17″ high for a table that is 26.5″ tall, and 18″ high for a table that is 28″ to 30″ tall.