Consider the chair sizes and features when choosing your dining room set.

Dining Table Size Requirements

by D Ann Kross

Dining room table shapes and sizes vary greatly. Rectangular tables provide traditional seating arrangements in family-sized dining rooms, and you can get one with a self-contained extension leaf to make the table larger and accommodate extra dinner guests. Armchairs require extra clearance for in-and-out access, but they add comfort and importance to a dining space, making any meal a special occasion -- no matter how busy you and your family are.

1. Nights at the Round Table

Round tables maximize seating in rooms with space challenges. Some have a single pedestal base, which makes for good leg clearance. Bistro tables are the smallest type of round dining table and range between 24 and 32 inches in diameter to accommodate one or two people. Round tables that are 36 to 54 inches in diameter accommodate four or five chairs. Table diameters that fall between 56 and 72 inches seat six or more comfortably. Round tables provide a symmetrically pleasing seating arrangement, giving each diner equally spaced distance and across-the-table eye contact. Round tables do well in tight spaces, making passage easier because there are no corners to navigate.

2. No Cutting Corners

Square tables that measure between 28 and 48 inches on all sides can seat up to four people comfortably. Rectangular tables work for large groups and some can extend up to 8 feet or longer with extra table-leaf extensions. Formal dining tables and chairs are often larger in scale than casual dining room tables and can have clearance limitations near table corners or ornate decorative legs and bases. A rectangular table length for six people can range between 54 and 60 inches. A table at least 72 inches long seats eight people, and an 84-inch table seats 10.

3. Out of the Ordinary

Trestle tables have a center base that runs the length of the table to maximize the diners' leg space. However, these tables are wider than average to accommodate the leg and chair clearance required by the inset base. You can choose a custom round wood tables with a symmetrical configuration in a variety of size options. These have triangular-shaped leaves to adjust the table's overall diameter in pie-shaped fashion. Busy moms appreciate the ease of counter-height dining tables that accommodate bar stools instead of standard dining chairs for casual, on-the-go bistro seating. These have a finished height of either 36 or 40 inches, to accommodate counter-height or bar-height stools. Choose stools with swivel bases for easy in-and-out access.

4. Sizing It Up

A comfortable finished height for a dining room table ranges between 28 and 31 inches. Formal dining room tables range between 40 and 44 inches in width, and casual rectangular dining tables range between 30 and 38 inches wide. Round tables should not exceed 70 inches in diameter if you want to maintain a sense of intimacy at dinner time. Allow a width of 24 inches for each place setting and at least 22 inches of width per chair, adjusting for extra-wide chairs or armchairs. A chair return is the amount of space required to slide a chair back to get in and out of your seat; the industry standard is a minimum of 24 inches from the edge of the table. Bring a tape measure on shopping excursions to take measurements when shopping for your table.

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