Right Fit for Dinner: A Table and Chair Sizing Guide

Beth Rice 11/10/2017

Are you ready to start shopping for a new dining set? Before you go online or head out to a furniture store, check out our table and chair sizing guide to determine what shape and size table and chairs will work best in the space you have.

Choosing a Table Size

When shopping for a dining table, consider the following first:

  • The size of your family.
  • How often you host or need seating for more than 4.
  • What other uses (i.e. outside dining) you envision for your table.
  • The size of the room.

Second, to get an idea of the maximum size table your space will allow, measure the room.

Fold a sheet to the approximate size and shape you envision for your table and lay it on the floor. Measure from the wall to the sheet to get a visual idea of what size table will fit comfortably. To provide adequate room for people sitting at the table to get up, push their chair back, and walk around the table, aim for at least 48” from the edge of the table to the nearest wall or a piece of furniture.

Dining Infographic Dining Room Spacing

Tabletop Size

  • Along the length of the table, allow a minimum of 24” per guest, (but 30” is better for more elbow room).
  • For rectangular tables (the most popular table shape), add 12” to the width of the table at each end for guests seated at the head and foot of the table.

Table Width

Most dining tables are between 36″-48″ wide, depending on the length of the table, which leaves room for place settings and serving pieces. Keep in mind that dining tables wider than 48″ will be more difficult to reach across.

Table Shapes

The size you choose will be determined by the shape that best fits your needs and style.

Rectangular Tables

Rectangular tables offer a classic shape for dining room and kitchen, and they’re quite versatile. Rectangular tables are the most popular dining table shape, and they are available in a wide range of sizes.

Dining Infographic Rectangular Tables

  • 120″ long can seat 10 to 12 comfortably, with 1 person at each end.
  • 96” long can seat 8 to 10 comfortably, with 1 person at each end.
  • 72″ long can seat 6 to 8 comfortably, with 1 person at each end.

(Note: These measurements work best for seating at a double pedestal table that doesn’t have legs taking up space in the corners.)

Amish Falcon Trestle Table

The Amish Falcon Trestle Table in the popular rectangular shape is shown in cherry with an onyx base.


Round tables create a casual and intimate atmosphere instantly. They offer the best table configuration for conversation. Many round tables offer the option to add leaves, adding more seating and creating an oval shape. This makes the round table a flexible table type for adding guests for special occasions.


Oval tables don’t have sharp edges like rectangular ones. They offer flexibility for guests seated at ends, bringing them together for easy conversation. While some round tables expand to oval shapes when leaves are added, some oval tables are just built to be oval.

Dining Infographic Circular Tables

For Round Tables:

  • 72″ diameter can comfortably seat 8 to 10.
  • 60″ diameter can comfortably seat 6 to 8.
  • 54″ diameter can comfortably seat 5 to 6.
  • 48″ diameter can comfortably seat 4 to 6.
  • 42″ diameter can comfortably seat 4 to 5

For Oval Tables

  • 48″ Round with 2 12″ leaves can seat up to 8.
  • 42″ Round with 2 12″ leaves can seat up to 7.
  • 48″ x 96″ Oval table can seat up to 10.
  • 42″ x 90″ Oval table can seat up to 9.

Amish Napoleon Dining Table

Some round tables turn into oval tables when leaves are added, like our Amish Napoleon Table.

Dining tables with extensions are a convenient way to seat more people on special occasions. Check out the four main types in action in our handy table extension video.

Table Height

Tables can be built in three heights: Table, counter, and bar.

Dining Infographic Table Height

  • Most standard dining tables are 29”- 31” high. This traditional height is more formal and is ideal for hosting regular family dinners and celebrations. Since this is the most common height, you’ll find the widest variety of styles.
  • Counter height tables are 34”- 36” high and create a more casual dining experience. The added height creates the illusion that the table takes up less space.

Amish Ripple Back Pedestal Table

The Amish Ripple Back Pedestal Table  in counter height pairs beautifully with Amish Ripple Back Bar Stools.
  • Bar height tables are generally 40”- 42” high. They create a casual atmosphere, and their height and width make them ideal for small spaces.

Reclaimed Wood Avenue Bar Table

Shown with our Reclaimed Wood Bar Stools, the Reclaimed Wood Avenue Bar Table is casual-cool.

Choosing Dining Chairs

Keep in mind that your table type will affect how your dining chairs will fit. Pedestal tables and trestle tables will allow more room than leg tables since chairs have to fit between the table legs, with pedestal tables offering the most flexibility.

  • The average dining chair is 16”- 20” wide. Measure dining chairs at their widest point, and add 6” to ensure there is enough room between chairs for people to move comfortably. Depending on the style of the chair, the widest point may be on the seat or chair back.
  • Try to allow for 12 inches between the chair seat height and the table top, no matter the table height, to ensure everyone has enough room to sit comfortably.
  • Leave seven inches between the chair arm height and the table apron (bottom edge of the table).

Chair Heights

Chairs can be built in three heights: Standard, counter, and bar or gathering height.

Dining Infographic Chair Height

  • Standard height chairs are 18”- 23” tall and are available in a wide variety of designs.
  • Less formal than standard chairs, counter height chairs are 24” – 26” tall. Their added height creates the illusion of taking up less space.

Amish Livingston Contemporary Bar Stool

The Livingston Contemporary Bar Stool is available in counter or bar height.
  • Bar/gathering height chairs are 28”- 30” tall. They are ultra-cool and casual and fit well in smaller spaces.

Amish Harris Bar Stool

The Amish Keeseville Stationary Bar Stool can be built in counter or bar height.

Side and Arm Chairs

Arms add about 6” to the overall width of a dining chair. If space is limited, consider using armless dining chairs, or only use arm chairs at the head and foot of the table.

  • Side chairs take up less space visually and physically.
  • Arm chairs are often used at the head and foot of the table. They offer added comfort with a place to rest the arms.

With the help of our sizing guide, we hope you find the right solid wood dining set that will be the perfect fit for dinner and special occasions.

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  • Marty Collins
    February 16, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    What is the proper size area rug for a 60 inch top round dining table…room is around 12 ft. By 12.5 ft? Should it be round or a rectangular or square shape?

  • Beth Rice
    February 17, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Hello Marty,

    While round area rugs are a good fit for round dining tables, the shape is really a matter of personal preference.

    For rug size, I’ve attached some links that could be helpful. One article states that a good rule of thumb is to choose a rug that is 30 inches larger all around your table. This should help allow for chairs to move freely and not get stuck on the rug.

    I hope that helps. Thank you for visiting us on Timber to Table.

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