How Much Room Do You Need for a Dining Table and Chairs?

When it comes to buying furniture, it can be easy to fall in love with a piece before realizing that it won’t actually fit in your home. To help eliminate disappointment and ensure everyone has enough room while enjoying a meal together, it is important to know how much space you have compared to the size of the table you’re purchasing.

The good news is that figuring out what size dining room table you need and can fit is relatively simple to do. Unless you’re buying a custom piece, your dining room table is going to follow a standard measurement. By knowing these measurements and those of your area, you can easily determine how many people can realistically dine at your new table and how much space you need in the room.

In order to make this process a success, start by measuring your whole room. If possible, jot down the layout on paper to show any doors or windows that you absolutely cannot block. Then take your notes and your tape measure down to the local furniture store and start shopping for your dream dining table following those parameters.

Rounded Dining Room Interior with Picture Frame Template, How Much Room Do You Need for a Dining Table and Chairs?

Purchasing a Round Dining Table

Rounded Dining Room Interior with Picture Frame Template, How Much Room Do You Need for a Dining Table and Chairs?

Round dining tables offer a coziness and closeness that you don’t always get with a square or rectangular piece. They are also usually a little more compact, allowing you the opportunity to fit more seating in a breakfast nook or small dining space. In some cases, they also come a little more informal, making them ideal for casual or active households.

The general guidelines for purchasing a round dining table are:

  • Seating Four People or Less: Under 44-Inches in Diameter
  • Seating Four to Six People: Between 44-Inches to 54-Inches in Diameter
  • Seating Six to Eight People: Between 54-Inches and 72-Inches in Diameter

Taking that into consideration, we want to be sure that we have space in the dining room for the table and all chairs. The general rule of thumb is add on an additional 36-inches of space for each person at the table.

Purchasing an Oval Table

Scandinavian theme dining room interior with oval dining table

Adding an oval table to your home is great because most of them are adjustable, allowing you the option of having a bigger table for holidays and dinner parties, but not when you don’t exactly need it. With oval tables that have expandable leaves, make sure to measure your room for the largest possible seating.

  • Seating Four People or Less: 36-inches to 44-inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Four to Six People: 44-inches to 56-inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Six to Eight People: 56-Inches and 72-Inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Eight to Ten People: 72-Inches and 84-Inches on the Longest Side

Remember, to achieve these figures, you’ll likely need to use leaves to make this possible. And don’t forget to add 36-inches around the table within the room to accommodate for chairs and walkways.

Purchasing a Square Table

Unless you’re buying a square table that is a custom creation, there really is only one standard size measurement. A 33-inch to 36-inch square table comfortably seats three to six people, making it an ideal addition to a breakfast nook or smaller dining space.

The same rule of adding 36-inches around the outside of the table still applies, but you might want to consider a bit more if your family likes to recline back from the table or is larger in stature than most.

Square tables come in tons of different sizes and styles, from those that are simple standard height designs to pub-style tables that are much taller. However, it can be difficult to get a square table to accommodate a large number of people, so if you entertain a crowd you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Purchasing a Rectangular Table

Interior of Scandinavian style dining room.

There’s no doubt that rectangular dining tables are the most popular option on the market for outfitting your dining room. Not only do they hold the largest number of people, they’re ideal for families who have a formal eating area away from a breakfast nook or eat-in bar area.

  • Seating Four People or Less: 36-inches to 44-inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Four to Six People: 44-inches to 56-inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Six to Eight People: 56-Inches and 72-Inches on the Longest Side
  • Seating Eight to Ten People: 72-Inches and 84-Inches on the Longest Side

Essentially, these are the same guidelines as the oval table. In order to meet these lengths, you’ll likely need to use leaves. But the added bonus is that you don’t have to keep them in all of the time and can shrink down the table when it is not needed. And, as always, remember that extra 36-inches around each side for added seating in the room.

Table Heights: Standard vs. Pub Style

A modern farmhouse themed dining room with wooden chairs and wooden flooring, How to Paint a Dining Room Table [4 Steps]

Besides the outside dimensions of your dining table, you also need a general idea of the height you’re looking to purchase. Most standard dining tables are considered counter height, which means they rise only a maximum of 28-inches to 30-inches from the floor to the top of the surface. Pub style tables are much higher. They rise to approximately 36-inches tall, which is considered counter height.

There are numerous reasons to consider one over another, but it is still important to find the right size for your space and the needs of your family. For example, if you have a low-hanging light fixture or your family’s stature is a bit on the short side, you might not want a taller pub style table in your home.

Chair Styles & Overall Spacing

Again, we’ve mentioned throughout this guide that you need a minimum clearance between the table and any walls or other furniture to accommodate chairs. This is because the average dining chair is 16-inches to 18-inches deep, both for pub style chairs and standard chairs. When you throw in legs and laps, that means you’ll want a good 36-inches of space all around the table.

Of course, this is just a basic guideline. In some cases, 36-inches might still seem a little cramped if the table is heavy wood or large and bulky, making it appropriate to go larger. Likewise, if you’re using bench seating next to your beautiful new farmhouse table, you might only need 32-inches or 34-inches of space. Again, it all comes down to the design of your table.

Tables for Small Dining Spaces

We couldn’t talk about large dining tables without at least mentioning the opposite direction: extra small tables. These are those that don’t usually fit the standard design and are only meant for two people. Some retailers refer to this as an eat-in bar or freestanding dining counter.

When it comes to size here, you’re probably looking at getting one for a small guest house or apartment dining area. It’s important to note that the same rules apply for exterior space, but you’ll likely not need as much. A good 28-inches should be sufficient for a couple of bar stools around a pub style counter, which means you can likely fit some sort of dining space in even the most cramped of rooms.

Wrap Up: Purchasing the Right Size Dining Table for Your Space

Buying the right dining table for your needs really just comes down to knowing your desired shape, maximum number of seating, and height. From there, you need to know the size of your room and ensure there is a minimum of 36-inches around each side of the table to accommodate for seating and walkways. After all, nobody wants to get squished up in a corner while trying to enjoy a nice dinner, right?

Past that, style and construction is entirely up to you and your personal decor tastes. With so many different options on the market, you’ll enjoy finding the right one for your home. Just make sure to get that tape measure out and know your space before committing to a purchase!

 

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