Most of you would agree that your dining table will be the focal point of your dining space – and, in some cases, your entire home. A resurgence in modern, more open layouts for newer homes has led to dining tables that serve as creative project spots, kids’ homework desks, family game tables, and dinner prep counters – as well as the main component of an optimal dining area. Today, we’ll focus on step 1 of the search for the perfect piece: Deciding what size dining table is best for you.
Before deciding how large your table should be, it’s important to know that it will fit into your room! If you aren’t committed to buying a large table at this point, you can always use the measurement guidelines below to find the maximum size table that would fit in your space (doesn’t hurt to think big).
For guests to comfortably rise, push back their chairs, and walk around a table, aim for at least 48” between the table’s edge and the nearest wall or piece of furniture.
Try this tip: Fold up a big ol’ sheet to approximate the size of a table in the middle of your space – make it round, square, a blob, doesn’t matter. Measure the wall to the sheet, then reshape the sheet accordingly to get a visual idea of what size will comfortably fit.
Are you always the host(ess), or are you usually the one bringing a bouquet and desert to Thanksgiving? Are you a part of a close family of three or a raucous brood of seven? All this to ask: How often do you need to seat more than four at the dining table? While you’ll want to take more than seating into consideration when deciding which size dining table will meet your entertaining needs (e.g., the grandiosity of the room, its ability to function as, say, a drafting table), remember that sitting and eating with enough room to let your hair down are still your primary objectives.
If you’re still racking your brain for the last time it wasn’t just the two of you at the dining table, relax. A number of intimate dining tables come equipped with extensions that will allow you to seriously spread out when required (one of these years, you may have to make the turkey).
Table Size – Space Solutions:
Stowleaf and Extension Tables
Stowleaf or draw-extension tables are great for quickly expanding the area of a tabletop and making room for a few extra guests. Stow leaves operate on hinges and wooden slides that rest underneath the table. When you pull the extensions out from the table, they slide over the center of the hinge and raise upward. These leaves are sturdy, solid wood with authentic breadboard ends and pull-out leaves. Some extension tables have convenient self-storage for leaves underneath the table (with skirts to hide the leaves) while the leaves of other tables are removable, for tucking away in a nearby closet.
Most of our removable leaves come 12” in width, but welcome to customize them to fit the right-size dining table you’ll need at maximum length.
Drop Leaf and Gateleg Tables
Drop leaf and gateleg tables present flexible options for smaller homes and apartments, where rooms may double as both living and dining spaces. A drop leaf table has hinged ends so that you can “drop” extra table surface out of sight when it is not needed.
Our Amish drop leaf dining room tables are ideal size dining table for kitchens, or even small dining rooms. The gate leg table features legs that swing out to support and level side extensions. This table is sometimes called a swing leg table.
Butterfly Leaf Tables
Butterfly leaf tables, sometimes called expandable tables, are great space-makers, and best suited to more cozy rooms and occasions. Common butterfly and removable leaf extensions are 18” wide, which allow for two additional guests (one on each side).
Table Size – The Basics
- Tabletop size: For tabletop area, allow a minimum of 24” per guest, but 30” is even better (two words: elbow room!). For a rectangular table, add 12” to each end for guests seated at the head and foot of the table – if it’s a leg table, measure for the additional 12” between the legs.
- Table height: Most dining tables are 29”-31” high. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep at least 12” between your chair seat and table, no matter your table height, so that your guests can sit comfortably. If you’re buying arm chairs, decide whether you’d prefer to have those arms slip under the table or sit around the edge – it’s not uncommon to see chairs propped around the perimeter of a table, but some people find it awkward. If your dining table is going in the kitchen, consider a counter-height table as a great option that doubles as a prep surface before dinner.
- Table width: Most dining tables are 36″ wide. The following guidelines may help you determine the length of your table, based on the number of guests that you’ll typically need to seat. Consider adding a little more length if you go with a leg table, as it can alter seating arrangement.
o A 72” long rectangular table will comfortably seat 8, with one guest at each end.
o A 96” long rectangular table will comfortably seat 10, with one guest at each end.
o A 120” long rectangular table will comfortably seat 12, with one guest at each end.
o A 36-48” (diameter) round table will comfortably seat 4.
o A 60” (diameter) round table will comfortably seat 6.
o A 72” (diameter) round table will comfortably seat 8.
One more thing, before we send you off on the hunt for the right size dining table: Remember that square and round tables, while great for small spaces and intimate seating, get a bit more cumbersome the larger they get. You’ll still need to reach for that food in the middle, so plan accordingly . . .