The Ideal Dining Table Height (And how to match the height of chairs)

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If you’ve been looking at furniture, you may have noticed the recent trend of less-traditional dining furniture. No longer must you sit at a formal table in a chair with arms – now, you can pick from benches, stools, and more. Tables can be low to the ground or as high as a bartop. So just how high should a dining table be? We’ve compiled all the possible options for you below.

A standard dining table is 30-inches high; however, variations in height range from floor sitting at a coffee table (16- to 18-inches high) or sitting at a bar table (42-inches high). 

Keep reading for the different heights of different table styles, as we consider each one’s pros and cons. We’ll also discuss how to find the right chairs for your table, the right table shape for your room, and more!

Luxurious dining area with plush dining chairs, The Ideal Dining Table Height (And how to match the height of chairs)

Different Heights of Dining Tables

If asked how high a dining table is, most people might not be able to answer in inches. But we have a sense of how high a standard table seems to be – almost every table is the same, right? While there is a standard table size with a standard height, there are also designs that deviate from that intentionally.

Some of the common table heights are: 

  • Standard tables (round, oval, square, or rectangular) are designed to be 28-to 30-inches high. These are the most commonly used because the height works for everyone -children, adults, even a person in a wheelchair will sit and reach at a standard table comfortably.
  • Counter height is 34- to 36-inches high. Countertops used as tables are tall enough to work well as an extra prep space before dinner.
  • Bar height tables are 42-inches tall. Sitting at this height keeps most people about as high as they would be if standing.
  • Coffee tables are approximately 16-to 18-inches high. This is a good height for people who prefer to eat sitting at the floor level. This is a common practice in some cultures, such as Indian. Some believe it even has health benefits for digestion, though it may not be for everyone.

Family sitting by the fireplace in Christmas

Considerations for Dining Table Height

There are, of course, pros and cons to any of these choices. Some points to keep in mind:

  • People and families who are shorter in stature (including families with kids) will be more comfortable at the lower, standard table. 
  • If taller people grace your table, the counter height tables offer them more legroom.
  • For people who host often and enjoy socializing at a more casual dinner, the bar table may be what you’re looking for.
  • If you have a small space, counter height and bar tables make the room appear less crowded and more open.
  • For a formal look, use a standard table. More casual choices are the counter and bar tables. On the other hand, floor sitting is the most informal option.

Any table height will work. You may even find a table that is outside of any of these sizes, but you can use these pointers to help determine if it’s a good table for you. For example, if it’s slightly higher than a standard table but not quite as high as a counter table, you may not mind if your family is a bit on the tall side.

Two girls sitting in the kitchen bar

The table height isn’t much of a concern, as long as you find the right chairs to go with it. Having chairs that are proportionally sized to your table will make for a comfortable dining experience. Conversely, no matter what table you pick, if the chairs don’t measure up well, it’s bound to be difficult. No one wants to stand up from a “kiddy” chair every time they want to reach something from the table. Or have their knees knocking into the table bottom throughout the meal.

You can learn more here: How High Should A Dining Table Be?

How High Should Dining Chairs Be?

So, what IS the right size chair? In short, you want to have enough legroom. Chars are comfortable but still functional when they have the right amount of legroom under the table.

The bottom of the table, to the chair seat, should measure approximately 12-inches. Much less (don’t go below 10-inches) and there isn’t enough room for people to move around, cross legs, etc., at the table. Additionally, don’t go above 15-inches because it  makes it feel like the chair is too “low” to reach the table comfortably.

Adult man sitting on a low chair with low desk

Chair sizes that correspond with the tables listed above are:

  • Standard table (28-30 inches) = chairs are typically 17-19 inches
  • Counter height table (34-36 inches) = usual chair size is 24-26 inches
  • Bar table (42-inches tall) = chairs are 29-32 inches tall

Read more about chair height here: How Tall Should Bar Stools Be? [Results by bar height]

How Tall Should A Dining Table Bench Be?

Benches for a dining table can offer additional seating while taking up less room than individual chairs. The same guidelines listed above for chairs apply, however. You’ll want about 12-inches from the bench seat to the bottom of the table, to leave enough leg space for those seated.

For this reason, dining table benches come as a standard 18- to 20-inches. You can also find benches such as this one in counter height:

Click here to see this Ashley Furniture counter height bench on Amazon.

Finding a bar height bench is quite difficult, however. Part of the draw of bar tables is how easy it is to get up and down frequently (due to the height). Using a bench, on the other hand, can be more difficult to get in and out frequently (especially if you’re sandwiched between two other people in the middle of the bench). This contrast makes these two pieces of furniture at odds with each other and something you are unlikely to find.

Do Dining Chairs Have To Fit Under A Table?

It’s certainly more convenient when chairs can fit under the table. This keeps them out of the way when the space around the table needs easy traffic flow.

If the chairs are the correct size for the table, they usually can slide under the table with no real issue. The biggest problem is sometimes that the legs of the table or a cross brace underneath interfere. Still, even in that case, the chairs can usually be pushed in most of the way. 

For tables with heavy bracing underneath, sometimes the best solution is to pick chairs with thin, light legs. This can sometimes make enough extra room so chairs can fit under the table, even if it was difficult with other style chairs.

Big bright dining room with plant decoration

What Is The Most Common Length/Width Of A Dining Table?

Popular tables right now include:

  • Round tables are sold most in a 32-inch size. The second most popular size is 40-inches in diameter.
  • Oval tables are sold less often than rectangular or round tables. The most popular size is 47-inches long and 27-inches wide.
  • Rectangular tables currently sell in a 36-inch by 60-inch size most commonly. The next most frequently sold size is 46-inch by 30-inch.
  • Squares are the least commonly sold of all table shapes. However, they typically are about 36- to 40-inches on each side.

What Kind Of Table Should I Get?

Tables come in four basic shapes – rectangular, oval, square, or circle. Keep reading to learn each shape’s pros and cons to determine which one is best for you.

Rectangular Tables

Rectangular tables are the most popular. They fit into the standard, typically rectangular, dining room easily.

They are also the most flexible – they can seat just a few or a large group. You can find options with leaves that add even more seating, meaning that you can cover any size group with the right rectangular table.

They have the most area, which means they seat large groups easily, with room left over to keep the tabletop from feeling crowded.

However, they do tend to feel bulky in a small room. They can take up a lot of room, and if space is limited, they can be hard to maneuver around. They can also feel oversized if there are regularly only a few people seated.

Oval Tables

Oval tables share a lot of features with rectangular tables.  They can fit more people, working well for a larger group. If you expect to need a lot of seats but don’t have much room, an oval table may be right for you.

They aren’t quite as massive as rectangular tables, due to their rounded corners. This gives them a slight edge in narrow tight rooms. However, it also means they don’t have quite as much surface area and the table can begin to feel crowded.

If you always have large groups at dinner, a rectangle and all of its extra room is probably the best choice for you. On the other hand, an oval table suits mid-sized groups of four to six. You can find ovals that expand with leaves to make room for extra guests on special occasions. 

Square Tables

Squares work well as an intimate table when there are only a few people seated. They are easy to look around and see, and talk, to everyone present.

Conversely, squares do not work well for large groups. The shape of them is not ideal for trying to seat more than four to six people. They can be difficult to reach around, pass food, or talk to other guests, in large groups.

However, it’s worth pointing out that two square tables can be combined to make a rectangle. If you generally only have a few people at dinner, a square may work well. You can add a second square table for special occasions to make a suitable dining space. You can also find square tables that expand into rectangles.

Round Tables

Round tables work well in a small room. In a small, square room, round or square tables are really the only shape that will work. 

Round tables are also ideal for small groups. They feel cozy and intimate for socializing with just a few people. But like a square table, they perform poorly for large groups. Tables that are large enough for many people are also too large for comfortably maneuvering around. Typically, guests get stuck only able to talk to (or pass food to) the people seated immediately nearby.

Should I Get A Round or Rectangular Dining Table?

In a square room, a round or square table works the best. Round and square tables also work well for small groups of four or less. You can find round or square tables that expand into oval or rectangular tables for special occasions when more seating is needed.

Oval tables fit best in narrow, tight spaces. Rectangular tables are ideal when large groups are regularly present for dinner. They also work well in any standard size dining room. You can read more about dining rooms and tables here: How Much Space Per Person At A Dining Table?

In Summary

While a standard table height is about 30-inches, there’s a wide variety of styles that can change the table height anywhere from 18- to 42-inches. There’s really no wrong table height, simply use the table that works best with your decor. As long as the table fits your needs and has the right-sized chairs to go with it, your guests will be able to enjoy their meal in comfort.

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