What size table do I need? It seems like a simple answer at a glance - big enough to seat everybody. It's not quite that simple though; too big of a table can crowd a room and too small of a table will crowd your guests. We're always happy to work with you directly to work out the best dimensions for you, so if you want to skip the read send us a message! If you want to get a head start figuring it out, here's how we do it:
How many people will you be seating?
Didn't I just say it's not that simple? Yes, but it's still an important factor. It's important to consider how many people you will be seating on a daily basis and then on an occasional basis. Let's say you're seating 8 or 10 people one day a year and 4 people on a daily basis. A 10 person table really doesn't make much sense for the 364 days of the year you only have the four of you, especially if you don't have the space. In this example, a roomy 6 person table would be a more reasonable choice and you can adapt your space the one day a year when you have extra people by adding another table for the kids or by having everyone sit a little close. Isn't that the charm of family time? Now you certainly won't be able to put 10 people around a 4 person table, but we've had customers get 10 people around a 6-8 person table with no trouble at all! So exactly how much space do you allow per person? We're not there yet, keep reading!
Do you want to seat people at the ends of the table?
This is a two part question because you might only seat people on the ends when you have company over or you might want to have people sit on the ends on a daily basis. If seating on the ends daily, I always add extra length to make sure the seating is comfortable and your knees don't hit and if you are looking to seat a large family, a wide table will even allow for two people to be seated at each end.
How big is your room?
This one is important, you want to make sure that when everybody is sitting down or the chairs are pulled out to eat that you can still move around the table. It's always better to have a table that fits the room even if it has less seating than you would ideally have. A good minimum distance on all sides to walls, walking paths, or other furniture is 36 inches. That applies to all sides that will have seating, so you can go closer if there will be no seating on the end. Some customers angle their tables in order to add a chair to the end and that can improve the walking distances, especially in a square-shaped room!
If you're really set on a larger table in a smaller room, you could push the side clearance to 30 inches, but it will be a bit tight and your guests will have to move if someone inside needs to get out. On the other hand, if you have the space, the ideal amount is 48 inches which will allow people to walk around the table without people having to move their chairs. Make sure you are still considering your everyday seating requirements and how foot traffic flows through your home so that your table is complimentary to the room and not out of place!
But how much room does everyone need?
That really depends on how close you want to be! On your every day meals, an ideal amount is 24", but we've found that the number gets fuzzy and really varies depending on if there are children or adults and what kind of chairs or benches are being used. Some people like more space and some don't mind having less. Benches are efficient and can seat people closer together and some chairs are very wide and require more space. As a general rule, 18 inches works for special occasions, especially with bench seating. The number also changes based on the table style. Our Farmhouse Table has legs on the four corners which need to be considered for seating and other tables, like our Classic Truss, have a central base, so you could even pull up chairs to the corners for seating. If you're trying to max out your seating, your best bet is to contact us and we can work together to figure out your best options!
Okay, now that we have a length we just need to pick a width
Now that we've answered those three questions, we can start to hone in on a table size. While width is less important, it is still something to think about and it changes the proportions of the table if you go narrower or wider. A typical dining table is about 36 inches wide and is a comfortable width for regular family dinners and up to 42 or even 44 inches is appropriate for longer tables and larger family meals where you are having several dishes in the center of the table. We have built tables as wide as 48 inches which allowed for two people sitting on each end, and as narrow as 30 inches for a more compact area and smaller families.
Provided we don't interfere with our clearances around the table in question #3, a good general rule is for lengths 72" and under, a 36" width is perfect. For every additional 6" in length, add 1-2" of width.
That just about covers it!
We've made tables as small as 30x24 and as large as 108x48 for all kinds of room sizes and seating requirements! It's not an exact science, but we can help you through the process. Head over to our contact page to reach out and start a conversation!