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Helpful Advice to Pick the Right Dining Table

Helpful Advice to Pick the Right Dining Table

Enter a store, look at a dining table, sit on a chair, check its comfort, and buy it. Done? Not yet! There's more to the process than just this, and here's a guide on choosing the perfect dining table for your family and home.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Quick Tip

For a quirky look, go for a good old wooden dining table with chairs that have different colors, fabrics, and even shapes!
A dining table is more than just a place where you eat. It is where you meet after a long day. It is where you discuss the events of the day, share ideas, give opinions, and have a good laugh. It is where your family comes together to remember that this is the reason you want to come back home after a long day at work/school―to be with the people who make your life perfect. Then why should the size, type, material, and placement of a dining table be ignored. It is such an important piece of furniture in the house, and deserves so much more attention than it normally receives. Here, we tell you how to pick the right dining table, and make those meals and evenings more memorable than ever.
How to Pick the Right Dining Table

To Pick the Right Dining Table, Consider ...
  • Usage
  • Shape and Size
  • Available Space and How to Measure Your Dining Area
  • Choice of Material

The choice of dining table will be dependent on multiple factors.
  • Family size: The dining table should be enough for the family, as well as a few extras.
  • Shape and size of the room: Rectangular, square, irregular?
  • Use of table: Is it used only for dining, or even for other activities like children's homework, art and craft activities, etc.?
  • Frequency of use: Do you entertain regularly?
Shape and Size - Dining Tables and Chairs
Rectangular Dining Table
  • The standard size of a 6-seater dining table is 5'-6" to 6'-0" by 2'-6" to 3'-0".
  • The distance of the dining table from the wall should ideally stand between 36"-42" in order to facilitate movement of the chair to sit and get up comfortably, as well as to allow people to pass behind if necessary. This distance can be as less as 24", but that will restrict movement behind the table.
  • Every person on a dining table requires at least 24" to eat comfortably. When going to purchase a table, sit on the chair and place your elbows on the table as if you are eating, and if possible, have someone sit next to you to understand whether the space for both of you is enough.
  • If a particular wall has furniture, such as a china cabinet, the distance of the dining table should be measured from that piece of furniture.

Number of Persons Table Size (Length x Width)
4 52" x 32"
6 66" x 36"
8 90" x 44"
rectangular dining table
Round Dining Table
  • A circular dining table is ideal for areas with high traffic.
  • A standard 3'-0" to 4'-0" dining table will seat four comfortably.
  • Ideally, such a table should be placed in a square room. It will not use space optimally in a longer room.
  • The distance between the table and the wall can be lesser in case of a circular table as it is easy to adjust chairs for movement.
  • Go for a single pedestal table in order to allow for comfortable leg room.
  • You may opt for a 6-8 seater circular table that will go up to 5'-0" to 6'-0" in diameter. While circular tables look great and facilitate conversation easily, they make it difficult to reach for the food. If you must have a large table, opt for one with a lazy Susan.

Number of Persons Table Size (Diameter)
4 36"
4 44" - 48" 
6 54" - 60"
8 60" - 72"
round dining table
Square Dining Table
  • Just like a circular dining table, a square dining table will be best suited to a square room.
  • A table that is about 3'-0" to 4'-0" will accommodate four people comfortably and again, like a round table, will facilitate conversation easily.
  • Like a rectangular table, even a square table requires about 36"-42" from each wall so as to facilitate easy movement around the table.
  • An 8-seater square dining table is believed to be the most cozy and comfortable setup as everyone is equidistant from each other.

Number of Persons Table Size (Length x Width)
4 36" - 48"
8 54" - 60"
square dining table
Dining Table and Chair Height
  • The standard height of a dining table from the floor to the top is 30" or 2'-6".
  • The height of a chair should be 18" or 1'-6".
  • When you go to purchase a dining table, sit on the chair. Check for the comfort and whether the height is suitable. Cross your legs under the table and see if it's comfortable. A dining table may have an apron (a vertical extension of the edge of the table, which may make it difficult to cross your legs). If the chairs have arm rests, ensure that they fit under the table comfortably. Chairs with arm rests may take up more space. Consider all these factors before you finalize your table and chairs.
Table and chair height
Measuring the Dining Area

Now that you know the standard size of each type of table, it is time to measure the space you have available for the dining table. Follow these steps.
  • Get hold of a tape measure.
  • Measure the longest wall in the dining area. Then measure the narrowest wall in the area. Note down these measurements.
  • Depending on the shape of table you want to purchase, measure the appropriate distance from both the walls.
  • If you plan to place additional furniture in the room or already have it, measure the distance of the dining table from that piece of furniture, if applicable.
  • To do this, you can either transfer the measurements on a grid paper to a scale that allows you to fit all the accessories, or you may place newspaper on the floor to mark the starting and ending point of the table. Use measurements of a square table (except for the distance from the wall) if you intend to purchase a round table.
  • Now that you have a clear idea of the amount of space you will have, make adjustments to your requirements if necessary, and then go ahead and start looking for the perfect table.
Helpful Tips

If you find that the space is not enough, you can make the following alterations to your plans.
  • Go for tables with leaves or extensions that can be opened up only when needed. These are huge space savers.
  • Don't have the necessary clearance around the table? Opt for bench seating rather than regular chair seating. The bench can be tucked under the table when not in use. (Warning: Benches are not very comfortable for sitting on for long hours.)
Choice of Material

The way a dining table is used as well as the people who use it will determine the material you opt for. Nothing beats the classic look that wood provides. It is sturdy and even handles wear and tear well. It can be molded into a sleek, modern table, and will even fit in well to exude a rustic charm. It is a great choice, particularly now that you have veneer finishes that give the appearance of hard wood without the huge costs that purchasing it entails.
Glass Table

Glass is great if you are seeking a modern look. When combined with metal such as stainless steel, it adds a streak of class to the room. When combined with wood, it retains the classic look that you desire and makes maintenance of the table easy. When combined with wrought iron, it allows for an eclectic look; however, it need not meld with the other furniture in the room. Glass is sturdy and safe, and is perfect to handle the wear and tear that the regular use of a dining table entails.
If you want to take the look you create with your dining table up a notch, go for tables with stone finishes such as marble. Though slightly difficult to maintain, they look gorgeous and are perfect if you entertain on a regular basis.
dining table with cane chairs
dining table with benches
classic wooden dining table
wooden square dining table
glass dining table
colorful dining table
dining table with bench and chairs
medal dining table