How Much Space Per Person At A Dining Table?

Trying to figure out how many people you can fit at your dining table this Thanksgiving? The rules for spacing are actually quite simple. We researched this to figure out the best spacing for a comfortable meal. 
At a dining table, expect each person to need between 1 foot 6 inches and 2 feet of space. Estimate 2 feet to allow plenty of room for comfortable dining. As for depth, each diner requires at least 15 inches.

Read on to learn more about how to make sure your guests are comfortable and have adequate room. This article will cover how many people can fit at standard table sizes,  whether you need a round or rectangular table to make enough room for everyone, and how big a table you can fit in your space.

A modern dining room with luxurious black painted wooden chair a dark granite dining table, and a huge sliding door on the background, How Much Space Per Person At A Dining Table?

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How Big of A Table Can I Fit In My Dining Room?

Not only do you need to account for the size of the table and chairs, but you also need to leave enough room for people to walk around. So just how big of a table can you fit in your dining room?

The math is actually pretty simple. You need to allow for 3 feet of clearance space on every side of the table. All you have to do is:

  • First, measure the space for length and width.
  • Then, subtract 6 feet from each. For example, in a room that is 10 feet by 12 feet, you will have 4 feet by 6 feet available for your table. 

Of course, you don’t have to select a table for the maximum space – you can’t select one any bigger. Leaving some space unfilled just offers a little more room for movement. If you are worried about having too much extra space, read further: How To Fill Empty Space In Dining Room [5 Awesome Ideas!]

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If you’re trying to determine how a table will fit or look in your space, there’s a helpful trick. Use masking tape or blue painters tape to mark the area where you expect to place the table. Mark off the exact measurements of the table. This can help you visualize the table’s size and shape to determine if it is the best choice for you.

For further information, try: How Much Room Do You Need for a Dining Table and Chairs?

What Type Of Dining Table Is Best For A Small Space?

Round or square tables are tailor-made for squeezing into small spaces. The curved sides of a round table make it the absolute easiest to fit into a small space. Round tables can hold a limited number of guests; however, guests will have to be limited to fit comfortably in a small space.

How Many Inches Should Be Between Table and Chair?

The average dining table is approximately 30 inches high. Leave about 12 inches from the seat of the chair to the bottom of the tabletop. This ensures there’s adequate legroom at the table, even allowing enough room for guests to cross their legs if they prefer.

This also means that chairs should be approximately 18 inches, seat height (distance from the floor to seat). Higher chairs would require higher tables to remain proportional and leave the 12 inches of clearance needed. To read further on table dimensions, try: How High Should A Dining Table Be?

How Wide Is A Rectangle Table?

On average, a rectangular table is about 3 foot wide (36-40 inches). This allows for the guests seated on each side to have 15 inches of depth. The few extra inches leftover offer enough room for placing serving dishes, condiments, etc.

Do Round Or Rectangle Tables Take Up More Space?

Because of the curved shape and the missing corners, round tables take up less space than a rectangle shape. However, that missing space also means that there’s less surface area available for food. Also, round tables that are wider than 4 feet in diameter can be difficult to socialize or pass food around. For this reason, for a large group, rectangles may still work the best.

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How Many Chairs Fit Around A 48-Inch Round Table?

Five chairs will fit comfortably around a 48-inch round table. A rectangular table that is 4 feet long would only fit 4 people comfortably.

How Many Chairs Fit Around A 60-Inch Round Table?

A 60-inch round table has adequate room for 8 chairs. For comparison, a 5-foot rectangular table would fit up to 6 chairs (2 on each side and 2 on each end).

How Many Chairs Fit Around An 8-Foot Banquet Table?

You can fit 8 people around an 8-foot  rectangular banquet table (as many as 10, if you place a person on each end). Conversely, you would need a 5 foot wide round table to fit 8 people (or 6 foot wide, for 10 people).

Should I Get A Round Or Rectangle Table?

There are actually 4 basic shapes for tables – rectangular, oval, square, or circle. There are pros and cons to each shape. This list will help you determine the best table for you.

Rectangular Tables

Rectangular tables are flexible – they can seat just a few or a large group. They have the most surface area. This means, compared to other shapes, they can hold whatever you may need during a meal with ease. Rectangular tables fit into the standard dining room (typically rectangular) and are the most popular.

On the other hand, they may feel too large and oversized when only a few people are seated. They tend to be bulky and can take up a lot of room. In a small room, they can feel overpowering and hard to maneuver around.

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Oval Tables

Oval tables share a lot of features with rectangular tables. They work for a larger group. Oval tables have a slight edge in narrow, tight rooms. They aren’t as bulky due to their rounded corners – conversely, they don’t have as much surface area for the same reason.

If you regularly have a large group for dinner, stick to rectangles and their wider surface. An oval can be the perfect fit for people who have mid-sized groups of 4-6 but may occasionally need room for an extra guest or two.

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Square Tables

Square rooms work best with square tables. If that’s the dining room you have, it can be difficult to find the right table – but a square is a good bet. Square tables also can be intimate when there are only a few people at dinner.

Squares do not work well for large groups. Because of the shape, large squares can be difficult to pass food around and socialize with everyone at the table. If you need to seat more than 4-6 people, avoid a square. However, if you will only need extra seating for special events, it’s worth considering just adding another square table. You can make a rectangular table for special events out of two squares.

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Round Tables

Round tables are really the only other option when dealing with a square room. Like a square table, these work well for small groups. They have an intimate, cozy feeling when shared by a few people. 

However, again, a large round table can make it difficult for conversation. It doesn’t work well for a large group, as people end up stuck, only interacting with the people sitting beside them. If you have more than 4-6 people to sit, consider other options.

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So What Shape Is Best?

In a square room, a round or square table is generally best. For narrow spaces, an oval may be the best fit. In rooms that are a standard size, or when large groups are regularly present, a rectangular table is typically most ideal.

In Conclusion

When hosting a dinner, allow each person 2 feet of space at the table (and 15 inches depth). In small spaces, round tables allow for the most seating while taking up the least room. However, round tables can hinder conversation and flow around the table in a large group. Make sure to leave enough room at the table, and enough space for movement in the room, to keep your guests comfortable and relaxed.

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