Remodeling and Home Design

DRH'S Dining Table Must Knows

Choosing the right dining table can be an overwhelming process, especially if you do not know exactly what you’re looking for (or not looking for). There are so many shapes and sizes of tables, which is right for you? The look of your table is also important, but making sure it fits your space and gives enough seating is even more critical.

Your table needs to allow for the number of diners you want to seat comfortably (operative word) and still leave enough room to walk around it. Look for at a minimum width of 36 inches wide so there is ample space for place settings as well as food. Generally as the table length increases, so does the width of the tabletop. Everything you need to know about sizes and shapes to consider when buying table is right here…read on.

Before you shop…

  • Measure table-to-wall clearance. Measure the space around the room. To allow diners to sit down and get up easily from their seats, try to leave 42-48” between table and the walls.
  • An easy way to visualize this to use chalkboard and layout a few different sizes of tables so you know what is the maximum size table your space can fit.
  • Measure table-to-furniture clearance. If there is furniture in the dining space (buffet, console, etc.) beginning your 42-48” measurement from the edge of the furniture instead of the wall.

What is Your Shape?

One of the first decisions that you need to make is regarding the shape of the dining table that you wish to purchase. Believe it or not, this aspect is relatively simpler than choosing the style of the table!


The rectangular dining table is the most popular across the board. It is universally loved, both for its form and functionality. This option brings together the best of both worlds, as it offers the visual clean and well-defined straight lines while serving your needs flawlessly.


While rectangular tables are the most popular option, round and oval dining tables are the favorites for small dining rooms. It is best to opt for a round dining table (with a pedestal) only when you need to seat six people or less. Larger round dining tables make both conversation and serving a slight inconvenience. But add stunning pendant lighting above, along with plush chairs, and these small, rounded wonders transforms into a warm and romantic setting that is simply magical.


An oval table is very similar to a rectangular shaped table, but visually it takes up less space because of the rounded corners. Oval tables are great fit for narrow or smaller size rooms but you still need to maximize seating. Most oval tables also come with leaves to extend their seating capacity.


A square table is the least common option in the design world, however in small spaces a small square table is the perfect marriage of the two. Square tables look good in long, narrow rooms, as they offer proper proportion, or you can even couple them with a rug to create a space that appears like “a room within a room”. Square tables also look great in a square room, like a round table, it makes for a more intimate dining experience because it is an equal distance apart. Also it will look great mimicking the room shape around it.

What is Your Style?

Crafting that brilliant dining room is all about getting the theme and the style right. When it comes to dining tables in an open floor plan, it is best to opt for one that seems like a natural extension of the remainder of the living area. Some might want to add a chic contrast by using a rustic table in a modern space or even a minimalist metal table in a room dominated by warm wooden tones. This creates an instant focal point when combined with the right lighting.

Reclaimed wood tables are currently one of the hottest design trends, and with an increasing number of eco-consciousness consumers, they seem like a logical choice for the green at heart (and at home). Whether you are a traditionalist or a design aficionado who loves Mid-Century Modern, remember that the table you choose will set the tone for the entire dining area or possible living area if you have an open concept.


What is Your Size?

After deciding on shape and size of the table, it is time to move ahead to the all-important size. There are a few simple and standard numbers that will get you through this difficult part. The golden rule (mentioned above) is at least 42-48” of space between the table and the edge of the walls or furniture. This will give you adequate room to move about. Here are a few more standard sizing rules to keep in mind:

  • Plan for 24″ for each place setting so people can comfortably eat without hitting elbows
  • The maximum width of a table should be 48″ – any more space and your guests can’t pass things across the table and conversation becomes strained
  • The minimum width of a table should be 36″ – any less width and you will have difficulty placing serving pieces in the middle of the table
  • If space allows, base your size table on the number of persons you usually have for dinner then add two. That should accommodate a normal number of guests.

Use the below charts to help you decide the size of the table you need based on the number of diners.


The above seating guide can be used for rectangular and oval shaped tables, while the one below refers only to round tables.

Obviously you can cram more chairs in when the need arises, but on an everyday basis, we'd suggest keeping the seats to the number the table can comfortably seat.

**Space Saving Tip – Go big on the table and small on the seating. When looking to take up less room in a space, try a bench instead of chairs on all or one side of the table. Make sure you can push the bench under the table so you can stash it away when not in use.

All the Little Things

Most often, people tend to think about chairs, lighting, and maybe even the area rug after committing to a table. Try out the table along with the chairs you fancy before buying it. You do not want to put yourself in a place where you will bring home a boring chandelier or chairs that you are not really in love with, just because they go with the table you already have.

Use the below charts to see all of the different types of chair legs and back so you can choose the best style to match your table.

You will need a rug, it is the foundation of the room and helps to define the space. Use the below guide to help you pick just the right size rug for your dining space.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping a light fixture for above your dining table:

  • the fixture's diameter should be 1/2 to 2/3 of the width of the table.
  • allow 30-34" between the surface of the table and the bottom of the fixture.

Now you have the table, chairs, rug, lighting all in place and it's time for your first dinner party so set the perfect table with this guide from Kate Spade!

Picking the right dining table is not all that hard once you are aware of exactly what you need. Always try sitting at a table before making a purchase, and do not let the slick salesman talk you into buying a piece that is bigger than what you really need. While this might sound silly, it is the biggest reason why most people come home with dining tables that seem out of place… Shop smart!

Make an appointment today to meet with one of our Design Consultants to help you pick out the best table (and chairs) for your dining space.

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