The first thing to consider when choosing a dining room table is the general style of your home. Whether modern or traditional, eclectic or French farmhouse, the table is the focal point of the room, and the dining room furniture should blend well with the rest of your home furnishings. Its also important to decide whether you want a cozy look, with a smaller, intimate table, or a formal, traditional dining room where you can display centerpieces, candles, beautiful linens and table settings.
Another consideration is size. Ideally, a dining table should be at least 36″ wide, but you need to leave enough room for people to walk around it, so measure the space. A gap of 3 to 4 feet from the table to the wall is required to allow for traffic and chair movement. Each person requires about 2′ of table space to sit comfortably while eating. In small rooms clear acrylic chairs, or chairs with open slats, can make the room appear less crowded.
Round tables are great for small spaces, and fit more people. A pedestal base allows even more people to fit. Typically a round table with feet will seat almost one person per foot in diameter, so a 5′ table with feet might sit 4-5 people. However, with a pedestal base a round table will seat more than one person per foot in diameter, allowing 6 people at that same 5′ round table to dine comfortably. A leaf can extend it into an oval table to accommodate extra guests.
|Round Table Diam.||Seats||Min. Room Size|
|3’||2-3||9’ X 9’|
|4’||4-6||10’ X 10’|
|5’||7-8||11’ X 11’|
|6’||8-9||12’ X 12’|
|7’||9-11||13’ X 13’|
|8’||10-12||14’ X 14’|
|9’||11-14||15’ X 15’|
|10’||12-15||16’ X 16’|
The diameter of a large round table can make reaching food difficult (a lazy Susan can help), so in a large dining room a large rectangular table would be more practical. A rectangular table also tends to allow traffic to move more easily. Don’t forget to make allowances for any sideboards/buffets you may have when allotting space available for your table and chairs. If you really want a table to be a focal point allow for a bit of extra space.
|Rectangular Table LXW||Seats||Min. Room Size|
|3’6” X 2’6”||2||9’6” X 8’6”|
|5’ X 2’6”||4-6||11’ X 8’6”|
|6’ X 3’||6-8||12’ X 9’|
|8’ X 3’6”||8-10||14’ X 9’6”|
|10’ X 4’6”||10-12||16’ X 10’6”|
Buying a table suited to regular frequent usage is a good idea, as there is no harm in crowding more around it for special occasions. A square table is a beautiful trendy option for a square room. Some have extendable leaves to accommodate extra guests. Consideration has to be made for ease of passing food, much like at a round table, depending on the size of the table, as square tables, like round tables, often have a large diameter.
|Square Table Size/Side||Seats||Min. Room Size|
|2’6||2||8’6” X 8’6”|
|3’||4||9’ X 9’|
|4’||4-6||10’ X 10’|
|5’||4-6||11’ X 11’|
|6’||8-10||12’ X 12’|
|8’||8-12||14’ X 14’|
Standard dining room tables are between 28-30″ tall. Tables are also available in counter height (between 34-36″) and bar height (40-42″). Because standard height is most common, you will find a wide variety of tables and chairs in this height. They are typically most comfortable, as our feet touch the ground when seated at them. Counter height tables can be kept adjacent to a kitchen counter or island, and are typically less formal. Bar height tables tend to be even more casual, and are often found in narrow sizes for use as an actual bar when entertaining.
Another thing to consider is the formality level of the room. In a beautiful high end home with a large kitchen eating area and a separate, large dining room, a very formal dining room would seem appropriate. These separate rooms are typically used for large family gatherings or for dinner parties. However, for a smaller home with an open living concept, or for those with very casual lifestyles, something less formal would be more appropriate, perhaps a modern or trendy set better reflecting their personal taste. 2014 trends in dining tables include many sophisticated yet casual options.
If you have large formal dinners on a regular basis you’ll want as large a table as you can fit in your space. However, if you tend to have informal or intimate dinners you may want a smaller table. A square or round table with expanding leaves would be a great option for an informal setting. A cocktail table with dropped leaves can serve for entertaining in a dining/living area, and as a dining table when the leaves are up. Pushing a table over bench seating can be a space saver, leaving less chairs to be moved when not required. If you plan to use existing chairs with a new table, make sure the chairs will slide under the table.
Dining tables are most commonly made of solid wood because scratches can be repaired, so they are durable and long lasting, However, they are expensive. If you can afford a high quality table, you’ll be investing in a table that can be passed down for generations. Veneer can be a more economical option, coming in many grades, of a varying quality to fit any budget. There are many other options for small budgets, including particle board with melamine foil and lacquered MDF. Glass tops can be nice in a modern decor, but are unsuitable in high traffic areas or where children’s fingerprints might be a problem.