With the holidays just around the corner, now is a popular time to purchase a new dining table. Before you fall in love with that modern mahogany number on sale at West Elm, it makes sense to assess your wants AND your needs. Many people shop for a style and then make due with the size which is not a good idea. A “too large” table has guests plastered against the wall trying to make a discreet exit to the ladies room and a “too small” table has one of the kids sitting in the extra chair at the corner. So let’s go by the Goldilocks rule and find one that’s just right!
- Each person requires about 24″ of width so they can comfortably eat and avoid bumping elbows.
- Allow 32″ between the table and wall to allow people to get up and sit down easily.
- Allow 38″ if people are also going to be walking back and forth behind the table.
- Allow 42″ if you are going to serve people from behind their chairs.
- If you have a china cabinet or buffet table, take your measurement from there, not the wall.
Here is a rundown on popular table sizes, the number of people accommodated and the recommended minimum room size for round and rectangular tables. I would advise against square tables unless you have a very large room because you need a little more space in the corners to make it comfortable.
Base your decision on the number of people you usually have at dinner and then add two. It’s nice to have the extra room for impromptu guests. Of course, things change when the holidays come and there is always room for everyone. The rules are easy, your dining area will look welcoming and your guests will be comfortable.
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