Skip to content
"It isn't so much what's on the table that matters, as what's on the chairs." -W.S.Gilbert - 1/2 of Gilbert and Sullivan fame
How many of us have dining rooms anymore? So many new home designs have done away with the formal dining room. More formal dining rooms are usually only used a couple times a year for family gatherings and holidays.
In the early 1900's, maids and cooks were employed in the home, so the family needed a separate space away from the kitchen to gather for meals. Times have certainly changed and now Mom (or Dad!) does most of the cooking and life is more casual. Hence, more gatherings and entertaining is right there in the kitchen to be where all the action is happening. Dining tables are still important, whether there in a designated space or part of the kitchen design.
So how do you know which dining table is right for you? There are a few factors to consider. The shape of your table should really depend on the shape of the room and how many people usually gather around the table. Your dining table is the place where family and friends gather to share a meal, talk about what's going on in their lives, and probably a few deals are made around the dining table.
First of all you need to measure the room. There should be at least 42"-48" between your table and your wall and give people the ability to sit and get up easily from their chair. Make sure to measure that amount of space from furniture to table if there is a piece of furniture on the wall.
Small spaces are perfect for round tables, plus the round makes for easy conversation. A pedestal table will usually fit more people than a round with legs.
Here is the recommendation for the amount of seating that works well with different sizes of rounds (remember these are only guidelines, you can always add a seat or two if needed for a larger group):
3’ with a pedestal base seats 4
4’ with legs seats 4
5’ with a pedestal base seats 6
5’ with legs seats 4
6’ with pedestal base or legs seats 8
7’ with pedestal base or legs seats 9
Consider the convenience of a Lazy Susan with the larger round tables. They can sometimes cause difficulty in reaching for food, so the Lazy Susan can remedy the problem.
If you have a larger space to work with and would like to seat a larger group of people, you may want to consider a rectangular table. A rule of thumb is as the length of the table increases so does the width of the table.
Since most dining rooms are rectangular, the most common shape of dining tables is rectangular. If you want to seat more than 4 people, a rectangular dining table is a good fit. Many tables will come with a leaf, so you can always extend the table if you have extra guests.
A rectangular dining table should have a width between 36" to 42". You can get away with a narrower width if the room is narrow. You just want to make sure there is enough space for place setting on both sides of the table.
Here is the recommendation for the amount of seating that works well with different sizes of rectangular tables (remember these are only guidelines, you can always add a seat or two if needed for a larger group):
4’ long seats 4
5-6’ long seats 6
7’ long seats 8
8-9’ long seats 10
10-11’ seats 12
If your room is square, you may want to consider a square table instead of a round table. Your guests will be able to have an easy conversation with each other because everyone is the same distance apart. When you have a smaller number of people, a square table can be an easy solution. Try to find one where you can add a leaf or two so you can expand the table for larger gatherings.
Whatever you decide for your dining room or kitchen table, remember it's where everyone gathers and should be comfortable and inviting.