You don’t want to buy a seemingly perfect and beautiful dining table, only to find out that when it’s delivered to your home, it turns out to be too big or too small for your space.
Before starting your dining table search, you should first calculate the size of your dining room and identify the range of dining table sizes that can fit in your room based on design principles. Consider how many people you want to accommodate, as well as the space needed for people to pass. The table must also be of enough size to fit dining settings and must be proportional to the room size to balance it out.
Dining room size
Before considering the seating capacity of the table, you must first need to see what size of dining table would actually fit in your available space, taking into account any furniture, walkways, walls, and doors. To make sure you have enough room around it (considering you have to put chairs and enough space for people to sit, stand and walk around), you need a minimum of 30-36 inches measured from the nearest obstruction to the side of the table. However, a 30-inch space around the table can still feel cramped if some people need to get up while another one is still sitting.
If you want a more comfortable space, choose for up to 42-48 inches, which also creates a proportioned room. If you’re blessed with a large space, make sure that the dining table won’t feel too small for your room by not leaving more than 6 feet from the edge of the room, at least on one side.
To help you visualize the space your dining table would take, you can place a sheet on the ground or create an outline on the floor using masking tape.
To identify the maximum size of a dining table your room can accommodate, measure the distance between walls (or the front edge of the furniture placed along the walls) and subtract 84 inches. It is because you must provide about 42 inches of space between all edges of the table and wall (or front edge of any furniture) so chairs can be pulled out and people can easily be seated. This also provides enough space for other people to walk behind anyone seated.
Dining table size based on seating
Now that you figured out the maximum size for your dining table, determine how many people can be seated. Each basic place setting needs 24” x 15” of space, allowing room for the dinner plate and flatware and space for dining chairs and elbow room.
However, if you want a more comfortable table surface, or if you have chairs with wide seats and armrests, you may consider giving 28-30” x 18” inches of room for one place setting. This space can accommodate a full place setting for each diner, which includes two glasses and a bread plate. In a rectangular table, you also need to add an extra 12” for each end, if you intend to place seating at the head and foot of the dining table.
Then, you also need to consider the space for a shared area to place food, condiments, wine or candles. Add a minimum of around 5” for a shared space per person, or 10” for a full table calculation.
But be careful not to add too much distance in the middle. For round tables, a large space makes it difficult to reach food and maintain a conversational vibe. This is why a round table is best for 2-6 occupants, perhaps up to 8 people, since a round table too large is awkward and occupies a lot of space. Rectangular tables work best for seating large groups. But if you still want to choose a round table wider than 60 inches in diameter, consider adding a lazy Susan at the middle.
If you don’t plan to put shared food or decorations at the center of the table (like for instance, if you have a side console table where the food will be served, or if you don’t mind moving glasses around to accommodate food), then you don’t need to add shared space. In these kinds of tables, it is possible to go for a dining table as narrow as 36” and still have enough space to put a bottle of wine or glasses.
Dining table height
Standard dining tables have heights ranging from 28 to 30 inches. To ensure that there is enough space for people to fit and even cross their legs while they ear at the table, you must leave at least 12 inches between the chair seat and the tabletop. For standard dining tables, the fitting chairs must have a height of 18 to 23 inches.
Meanwhile, counter-height tables are usually 34-36 inches tall and must be used with chairs measuring 24-26 inches tall. If you prefer a bar table, the standard table heights range up to 40-42 inches, and the matching stools range from 28-30 inches tall.