What size do I need my dining table to be?

The dining table is the second heart of the home.  It is where we entertain guests, eat with our family and hopefully get to spend a Saturday morning or two lazily reading the newspaper. Choosing the right dining table size is important in creating visual balance, to allow for good flow of traffic around the table and also to create a comfortable dining experience. There are a couple of scenarios by which you may be trying to decide on the best size for your new dining table.  

What is the perfect size dining table for the dimensions of your dining room?

The first thing that you have to do is get out a measuring tape and work out the dimensions of the space.  The basic rules are this:

Leave a minimum of 800mm between the table and any obstructions such as a wall, piece of furniture, fireplace or door.  The ideal distance to create an elegant look is 1200mm.   

Leave a maximum distance between the table and the nearest wall or piece of furniture to 1800mm otherwise use a larger table to create better visual balance as well as seat another person!

This also works in reverse if you have found your dream dining table and you want to design a new or existing space around this dining table. 

 

Have a flexible space and want to work out dining table size by number of seats? 

If you have a flexible space or are designing a new dining room, you can establish the dimensions of the room and size of the dining table by the number of people that you want to seat. The length of the dining table is established by how many people that you want to seat. The general rule of thumb is to allow around a width of 600mm per person at the table to allow for comfortable shoulder and elbow room.  If you want guests at the ends of the table, you need to allow around and additional 400mm at each end for this guests legs. 

From here, you then need to consider how much space to leave around the table and well as the width and then you are done!

What is the ideal table width?

The ideal table width is established by the table setting space needed by each person and then the shared space in the middle for such things as serving dishes, condiments as well as decor items such as flowers or candles. The minimal depth that fits in the plate, cutlery, wine and water glass is around 450mm.  If you want a shared space in the middle of the table, this should ideally be around 250-300mm to fit in platters, bowls etc but can be as little as 150mm as you can squeeze things between glasses.  This makes the minimal dining table width at 1050mm and ideal at 1200mm. 

 

Here are a couple of other factors to consider when deciding on a table size. 

What chairs do you have?

It is a good idea to measure your chairs as factors such as arm rests, an extra long seat or wide back can mean that you need to be a little more generous with the table size.  If it is important to you aesthetically to be able to fully push all of your chairs in when not in use then knowing the size of your chairs is even more important. 

 

What leg design are you thinking about?

The location and size of the dining table legs needs to be considered when working out the size of dining you need for the number of seats. If the legs are in the corners, like with the Torquay Point,  they have little effect on the size unless of course they are quite chunky! If the legs of you table are a box leg like our Sunnymead or Winkipop dining then the legs either need to be set back from the edge if you want someone to sit at them or add a little extra length to enable seats on either side.  A refectory leg design like the Rincon is another way of getting around this. 

Access

Another important factor consider in the design and size of your dining table is the access to your dining room. A rectangular shape tends to be the most movable with the the round and square limited in size by the door frames. If you have winding stairs or tight corridors, this also can make installation much more challenging or impossible. 

In summery... 

allow 600mm per person in the length of the table

allow 400mm at each end if you want seats at the ends

add in the width and depth of the legs to the overall table size

Allow a minimum of 800mm between the table and any obstructions

Allow a minimal width of 1050mm

Allow a maximum of 1800mm between the table and the nearest wall or piece of furniture

Square

6 seater square   1100-1400mm 

8 seater square  1400-1600mm

Rectangular

6 seater rectangular 1600 - 1800mm (4 people at the sides and one either end)

8 seater rectangular 2100 - 2400 (6 people along the sides and one either end)

10 seater rectangular 2600 - 3000 (4 sides and 1 at either end)

12 seater rectangular 2600 - 3000 (4 sides and 2 at either end)

Round

To work out the number of seats for a round requires a little more complex calculations! Take the diameter is mm, times by 3.144 then divide by 600 depending on how much space you want for each person. Add additional space for each person depending on how far you want to be able to push your chairs in. 

6 seater - 1200mm diameter

8 seater - 1600mm diameter 

 

During the design process, we work with you to consider all these factors to ensure we get everything just right! Contact us for more information! 

 

Alison Collins is the Co-Owner of Bombora Custom Furniture and in charge of all things other than making furniture!