How Narrow Can A Dining Table Be?

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Dining tables bring people together; holiday dinners, family meals, and everything in between can occur in our dining room, and at the center sits the dining room table.  With all these events to take into account, you may ask, “How narrow or wide should my dining table be?” Not to worry, we have researched the latest design information and trends on dining table dimensions to get the answer for you.
 
Your dining table dimensions are mostly based on your dining area’s size and the number of guests you can expect to serve. It would be best if you allowed 3-feet of clearance on each side of the table. There should be 2-feet of table length per person on each side. Any width narrower than 36-inches will cause problems due to a lack of space for table settings. A standard rectangular dining table is 36″ X 60″ to provide comfortable seating of four to six people.
 
We can dress dining tables in tablecloths and decorate them for the season but picking the right size is crucial to getting the best usage out of your dining table. You need enough surface to eat comfortably, room for moving about in your chair, and space for walking around behind guests. We invite you to read on to find out more about these considerations when sizing your dining table.
 
Modern kitchen with white wooden walls and dining table with plates, How Narrow Can A Dining Table Be?
 

Fit for a Feast

Dining tables are designed to be used for gatherings or meals of family and guests. Thus, each person’s comfort is an essential factor in deciding the perfect dining table size. Thirty-six-inches is the most narrow that you can usually find a traditional dining table. This allows for 18-inches of space for each opposite-facing guest and permits some room in the middle for serving dishes or platters. There should be 20- to 24-inches of length on each of the table’s sides, per guest to allow for easily getting in and out of their seat and some elbow room.

Dining tables should not generally exceed 48-inches to avoid creating a big gap between guests. This would make it hard to speak across the table or pass something from one side to another. Standard sizes for dining tables range from 36″ x 60″ up to 44″ x 96″. An overly wide table can seem barren and give off a cold atmosphere, which is the opposite of what we want from our home dinings spaces. 

When it comes to tablecloths, there are some basic guidelines to follow to ensure the right fit. Dining tables come in many shapes, so be aware of the shape when purchasing a tablecloth. The formality of the event, room, or home is also considered with the standard sizes. Always start by measuring the table yourself to make sure you get a perfect fit. Formal dining tables should have a 15-inch overhang, while casual settings can have 6- to 10-inches of overhang.

Click here to see this water-resistant 52″ x 70″ tablecloth from Amazon. It will amply cover standard rectangular dining tables.

How Much Space Is Required Around a Dining Table?

The space around a dining table is important for both the person sitting and anyone trying to walk past. Guests should be able to easily get into and out of their chairs without backing into a wall. If someone does need to walk around the table, it would be better for them not to squeeze or shimmy through.

The minimum space clearance on any given side of a dining table is 32-inches. This is a standard measure used to design and stage dining room compositions. Thirty-two-inches is enough space for those seated and others to feel comfortable with the room behind them. This is one measurement where there is no maximum. The table can be whatever distance you like from the walls, beyond three-feet, and will only give the setup more room to breathe. 

How Much Should a Tabletop Overhang?

Table overhang is the distance that the tabletop stretches out past its base. This measure is very subjectively based on the table and how it was designed. Some tables have a base that you can slide your legs underneath. In those cases, the overhang is almost irrelevant because guests can move forward until they are comfortable. This design is common for tables with four spread out legs or columns.

If your table’s base cannot be crossed, the table overhang length becomes very important. This would happen if your table had a wide trestle or was designed with a wide base column. In these cases, the desired distance would be from 15- to 18-inches long. That would make your legroom a bit longer than the area used for your place settings to create a comfortable seating arrangement. Wondering how tall your dining table should be to get the most comfortable legroom? Please read How High Should A Dining Table Be?

What Dining Table Shape is Best for a Small Space?

A round dining table is best for small dining spaces. Round tables have been designed for smaller spaces because a large round dining table would place people too far from each other. They occupy the same area as a square table but take up even less room due to the rounded corners and are easier to walk by. Round tables create a cozy and intimate setting, so it’s the best shape for a small group of people.

You can create more versatility by buying one with an extender to fit more guests on short notice. A transitional table like that makes it easier to tuck away when not in use. Round tables are also unique because they allow everyone at the table to see and easily converse with everyone else, and they feel more casual because there is no head of the table. Looking for some inspiration to decorate your own round dining table? We recommend reading How To Decorate A Round Dining Room Table.

A Good Place To Gather

Our dining spaces give us a warm and comfortable place to gather and be with our favorite people. We share holiday feasts, family dinners, and anything in between on these tables. We want them to be comfortable, pleasing, and accommodating to their use.

A proper dining table should be wide enough to hold place settings and serving platters with at least 36-inches across of space. Each guest should have enough room to move about and leave their chair with 24-inches of width per seat and 32-inches of free space behind them. The table should allow us to slide into it or give us enough room to comfortably pull in our chair comfortably with at least 15-inches of overhang. We’re confident that using these guidelines, you can find the perfect dining table for your home. 

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