All About Arms: Things to Remember About Dining Chairs

Beth Rice 17/01/2019

They’re pretty. They’re graceful. They’re supportive.

That’s right we’re talking arms—dining chair arms and the reasons we love them and the reasons we don’t.

When you’re ready to furnish a dining room for a new home or you’re finally getting rid of the set you’ve had for decades and treating yourself to a new one, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. There are the styles, the space, and the question of where you’ll store dining table leaves if they don’t self- store in your new table.

Amidst all of this the arms can get lost. And since we connect customers to custom made furniture all the time, it’s our duty to make sure your dining chair arms are going to fit, so we’re tackling the topic head on using gorgeous Amish dining chairs as examples!

Flashback to the Traditional Dining Room Set Up

A traditional dining room used to feature a dining table with two armchairs at the ends of the table and side chairs lining the sides.

Rockford Dining Room Set
The Rockford Dining Room Set

This is still done in many dining rooms, but many have been switching to all side chairs or dining benches in the interest of saving space.

How to Make Sure There’s Room for the Arms Plus Other Dining Chair Measurements

Here’s how to make sure chairs with arms can slide under the table and also provide enough lap and leg room.

Most dining tables are about 30” high and there’s usually 18” from the floor to the chair seat, leaving a space of about 12” between the chair seat and the table top. Arm height should be about 25″ from the floor to the top of the arm with about 1 3/4″ from the chair arm to the bottom edge of the table apron (if the table has one).

Measure from the floor to the lowest part of the table, either the table edge or the bottom of the table apron if there is one.

*Tip: If the space from the floor to the apron is less than 25”, it is unlikely that arm chairs will fit under the table.

The average dining chair is 16” to 20” wide.  Arm chairs will add about 6” to the width of a dining chair. You can add 5″ to 6” to the overall width of the chair to provide plenty of space between chairs.

A cozy family dinner.
Proper width for dining chairs will prevent bumping elbows at dinner.

Allow 36” from the dining table to the wall so there’s enough room for guests to push their chair back to get up

Arm Chair Tips

If you have a small dining room space and want a complete dining room set, consider using all side chairs to save space or dining benches that slide right under the dining table.

If you have elderly guests who dine at your table regularly, upholstered chairs with arms are a good option for added comfort and support when getting up instead of leaning on or pushing off from the dining table.


  • Provide added support and comfort and a place to rest the arms.
  • Make it easier to get in and out of the chair with the arms to lean on.
  • They’re more impressive at the head of the table.
  • For large dining rooms, chairs with arms help to create a fullness that fills the space.


  • They take up more space
  • Custom made arm chairs cost extra to add the arms

When Shopping Custom Dining Chairs at DutchCrafters

The right fit for dining chairs with arms is imperative to avoid causing damage to the chairs and base of the table. We encourage you to talk with a Furniture Specialist if you’d like to have dining chairs with arms that will fit under the table skirting so we can help with measurements.

*Insider Tip: Our Artisan Chairs found in the American Chair Collection will fit under the table skirting. They measure 25 1/4″ arm height from the floor.

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