The Best Dining Table Size for Your Room

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Finding a beautiful table that perfectly echoes your style can be a great feeling!

But what happens when you find out that your one-of-a-kind piece doesn't fit in your space?

I've had my fair share of chair scooting and embarrassing moments trying to get around others to know that nobody want's to inconvenience others at the table.

So why not learn from an interior designer what the rules of dining table sizes are?

Follow along to find the best dining table size for any room no matter what the size!

Tip #1: Measure Your Room (Correctly!)

I'm going to let you in on a little interior designers secret.

Before any designing starts the space is always measured.

Luckily for you, we don't have to go and measure every single nook, cranny and window in the room. Trust me, its a nightmare!

Due to my not-so-easy-to-read handwriting, I will be doing this in a program. But not to worry! You can follow along with your good old pencil and paper and use my example as a guide.

So let's get to work!

  • Start by sketching out all the walls in the room. We aren't going for accuracy here, just a basic layout of the shape of the room.
  • Next, pick a corner of the room and start to measure the length of the first wall. I prefer to use a laser measurer to speed up the process but a tape measurer will work just fine.
  • As you go along each wall, write down the dimensions right below each wall.

In the end your picture should look something like this.

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If you're blessed with a not-so-square room like the one above you'll want to factor in every "jog" in the plan.

Tip #2: Find your clearances

Entertaining can be a pain, but not having enough room (also known as clearance) around the table can be even more aggravating!

That's why as a general rule there should be at least 42" of space on all sides of the table.

Unfortunately for you buffet-lovers out there, this applies to other pieces of furniture in the room as well.

For example, if you want to place a buffet at the end of the room. you'll want to make sure that there is atleast 42" of space between the table edge and the cabinet front.

You may be asking yourself, "why do I need to have so much room around a table?".

This is because we'll need to factor in the dining chairs. Afterall nobody wants to fight their furniture and be told to "suck it in" so others can get by!

 In this example there is 30" from the table edge to the buffet. See how things looked a little cramped?

In this example there is 30" from the table edge to the buffet. See how things looked a little cramped?

 Much better! with 42" of space everyone is happy and can use the space without bumping into one another.

Much better! with 42" of space everyone is happy and can use the space without bumping into one another.

Think of it like this: a standard chair needs 24" of 'scooting' space, and the extra 18" is for people trying to get past with guests sitting down.

Remember, the goal is to get everyone in and out with ease ;)

To make life a little easier, I made a cheat sheet that shows the least amount of space you need for every standard table size.

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Tip #3: The Solution for Small Dining Areas

Now that you know what size table will fit your space, the next follow-up questions I usually get is, "what do I do if I have a small space?"

The great news is that round tables are perfect for tight spaces as they can generally fit more people without sacrificing room to get around!

Take a look at the example below.

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See how much extra seating you can have just by changing the shape!

Of course, if you're a die-hard fan of those squared off edges another great alternative is to get a smaller table that fits the space and incorporate a bench up against a wall

That way you can omit the space needed behind a bench while also packing in more guests at the table.

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Did you figure out what size table will work best for your space? Do you have your own embarrassing stories to share about "close quarters" dining? I'd love to hear your thoughts!