How to Choose the Best Size Dining Table

Select a table that is comfortable for both your room and your lifestyle.

A dining set serves as the backdrop for countless important life events. Whether you’re anticipating elegant holiday meals or casual heart-to-hearts after dinner, it’s worth investing in a dining table that accommodates all your needs. To start, the shape of your room will dictate what shape of table you should shop for; for instance, a rectangular or oval table is likely to be best in a rectangular space.

Once you’ve decided on the shape, use our guidelines below to help you choose the size table that fits both your room and your lifestyle. If you plan to frequently host large parties, you’ll probably opt for the largest table option for your room. On the other hand, if you prefer more intimate gatherings and smaller family dinners, a smaller table may be a better fit. Read on to discover the variables you should factor in when deciding on a dining table.


Room Size

To allow enough room for a person to comfortably rise and push her chair back from the table, you need a minimum of 36 inches between the table edge and the wall, but more (42 to 48 inches) is better. You may want a 12-seat table, the size of your room may only allow for an eight-seat table.



If you don’t need a large table now, but would occasionally like one for special events or anticipate your needs may grow in the future, choose a dining table with extensions.


Table Size

Allow each guest a minimum of 24 inches of table surface. Even better, allow up to 30 inches for extra elbow room. For rectangular tables, be sure to add an extra 12 inches at each end for those seated at the head and food of the table.


Table Height

Most dining tables are about 30 inches high. Chair height is generally 18 inches (from the floor to the seat). This allows for comfortable lap and leg room. A general rule of thumb is to allow at least 12 inches between the seat of your chair and your tabletop.


How Many People Will Fit?

Review this handy chart to determine how many guests will comfortably fit at a table of your desired size and shape.


Table Sizes and Seating Capacities
Shape Dimensions Seating Capacity
Round 36-inch diameter Four for drinks, two for dining
Round 40-inch diameter Four
Round 56-inch diameter Eight
Square 38-inch square Four
Rectangular 60 x 36 inches Six
Rectangular 72 x 36 inches Six to eight
Rectangular 84 x 36 inches Six to eight
Rectangular 96 x 48 inches Eight to ten
Rectangular 132 x 48 inches Twelve



In informal spaces, such as breakfast nooks, you can squeeze a couple extra people at the table, but be cognizant of the table’s surroundings—this may feel crowded. 

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