How to choose the right size dining table

Inspiration Station - Dining Room

The first step to creating the perfect dining room is to choose the right size dining table and calculate how much space you need per person.

Solid Wood Dining Room Furniture Table and Chairs

The recommended comfortable space per person for a typical dining table is 70cm wide (elbow room) by 90cm deep (to slide out your chair); however if you are prepared to squeeze in and get cosy for a special occasion you can get away with as little as 50cm wide per person.

This means that measuring whether your dining table will physically fit into your dining room isn’t quite enough. You need to factor in a minimum of 90cm clearance for every side that will have chairs - so be sure to increase your measurements accordingly.

The next thing to consider is the role that your dining table plays. Is it a focal point where your household spends a lot of time? Or is it only dusted off for dinner parties and the occasional board game? How many people usually eat together and how often do you entertain guests?

If it’s somewhere that people study regularly or the main social hub, you need to consider how comfortable it will be to sit at for long periods of time and whether the material it’s made from will get damaged from frequent use. Solid hardwood is a great option as it’s durable and it looks beautiful. If you’re opting for wood, always make sure that you care for it well.

How to choose the right dining table size

Oak square dining table and 4 fabric chairs grey sideboard

Whatever the purpose of your furniture, gauging the right dimensions and size of your dining table is very important. And remember, you must always consider the space required for both the dining table and chairs.

A square four seater dining table is the tempting solution if you are limited on space, but you might benefit from some more room in the long-term. If this is the case and your space allows, our Dorset 3ft extendable dining table offers the flexibility to be used everyday as a smaller table, and to be extended when you have guests.

A six seater dining table might be a better size if your household is likely to grow or perhaps if the purpose of the room is likely to change and your dining table will be used for work or other activities. Above all, be realistic and consider everyone’s comfort, now and into the future.

When it comes to the right height table for your dining room, take into account any alcoves or declining ceiling heights. The standard dining table height is around 75-80cm high and the seat needs to be about 30cm lower than the tabletop.

Rectangular dining table size guide

How to measure dining table space:

Start by measuring the width and depth of space you’d like to put your dining table in
Subtract 90cm from each of the measurements - this is to allow enough room between the table edge and the wall to walk around the table and for the chairs to slide in and out comfortably.
If you’re putting your dining table into a dining room, also allow for 120cm square for the entrance or doorway. If you’re putting your dining table into an open plan kitchen area, this isn’t something to factor in.

Oak Rectangle dining table set 6 seater

Consider how close the table will be to other furniture and whether it’s on a path where bikes or other large items might be moved around. If there is other furniture in the room, ensure there’s at least 90cm between it and the edge of the table.

With these measurements, you can now choose the right dining table for your space. Use the size guide below to help guide you.
Don’t forget to run through the measurements again once you’ve made a decision on your table dining table.

Dining Table Size Guide

Size of Dining Table Length Width
4 seater dining table 75cm - 90cm 75cm - 90cm
6 seater dining table 118cm - 140cm 75cm - 90cm
8 seater dining table 150cm - 220cm 75cm - 90cm
10 seater dining table 180cm - 280cm 90cm - 100cm

Choosing the right style and shape for your dining table

The shape of your table is very important in terms of space and its intended usage. Round or square tables are great for smaller spaces and more intimate gatherings. If your room is long or narrow or you simply have more space to play with, rectangular dining tables are a good solution. They’re also great for entertaining large groups of people. If your use of space varies or you often need to cater for guests, consider an extendable dining table.

Don’t forget to take the width and positioning of the legs into account. Tables with a pedestal base or those that have slimmer legs or legs positioned at the ends generally allow for more seating. When you’re choosing, try every seat and position and make sure there’s no danger of knocking knees or nudging elbows.

Be sure to consider the kind of styling and decoration you prefer. Even a few pot plants or vases can significantly impact the space available. Also, keep in mind what table settings and serving ware you like to use, for entertaining or day-to-day use. Don’t let a lack of room mean your dining table can’t bring character and flair to your space - let it shine. Be bold with accessories and add flourishes of colour and soft furnishings that blend well with the rest of your scheme. If you opt for a round table consider a painting or wall hanging in a circular design behind the table to help define and emphasise the area.

Need to open up a narrow room? Go for a slimline table to create an illusion of space and a minimal or monochrome colour palette, wall-hung accessories, a statement mirror and pivoted lighting. Your choice of seating is really important, so if your space is modest opt for bench or armless seating which can be easily tucked away. If you choose wood for your dining room table, consider lighter or pastel shades to open up a room and darker for a more intimate, cosy space.

Do round dining tables save space?

oak round dining table and chairs

Yes, most definitely. Round dining tables have the benefit of no potentially awkward corners but also provide a good amount of surface space. If you’d like the option of extra seating, consider an extendable round dining table. Another advantage of round tables is they’re great for socialising and entertaining - the centre base on a round dining table is a great way for squeezing more people in. If that sounds like a good idea for your home, this round Pedestal dining table is an elegant piece that will give you that extra flexibility and space.

Why not pop into your nearest stores and have a seat at one of our dining tables or browse our full collection online.

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