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choosing a dining table

Choosing a dining table size for your space

When you’re picking out a new piece of furniture, there are some obvious things to keep in mind. Naturally, you want to choose furniture that fits the style of your home decor, and one that fits your budget. You need a piece of furniture that fits your lifestyle as well — a delicate glass coffee table might look great in your living room, but if you have kids and pets running around and playing catch indoors, you probably need something sturdier. And of course, when you’re buying furniture, you need a literal fit as well: measuring your furniture and the room where you intend to place it is essential. 

Choosing a dining table requires all of these considerations, but selecting the right size table is particularly important. You not only need space for the table itself, but also room around it for seating (and space beyond that so that nobody pushes their chair into you when you’re trying to bring the plates to the table). Here’s what you need to know to size things up when you’re choosing a dining table for your home. 

The starting space — Room shape

Any easy rule of thumb when choosing a dining table is that you should match the shape of the table to the shape of the room. Rectangular dining tables look best in longer, rectangle dining rooms, while round and square tables are well-suited to square dining rooms. 

Many contemporary homes feature open plan living and don’t have a separate dining room — the kitchen also serves as the main dining area. In these cases, imagine an invisible boundary separating the cooking area of your kitchen from the meal space, and decide on a dining table shape based on this. 

Table for two? — Seating numbers

When you’re choosing a dining table for your home, you’ll want to think about how many people will be eating there on a regular basis, and how many people you may need to accommodate on special occasions. If you have a large family, you’ll naturally need a big table to match, whereas if there are only a few at every meal but you’re an occasional dinner party host, an extendable table may be a more effective pick. 

Rectangular tables are a reliable pick for any number of seats, and you can find them in a wide variety of sizes to suit your space. Because square tables are generally only designed to seat four people, they’re great for smaller families and homes, but if you need to seat more people, you’ll want to consider choosing a dining table that’s round or extending to seat everyone comfortably. Round tables are particularly ideal for smaller rooms as they have no sharp corners to bump into, and they often have a single pedestal base that offers more legroom. 

Measuring up — Dining table dimensions

So how do you determine the exact dimensions you need when you’re choosing a dining table? Measure the length and width of your room, then keep in mind that you’ll want a minimum of one metre space on each side of your table to accommodate seating and walkways. Of course, that’s before you consider any other furniture such as sideboards or cabinets. If you’re tight on space, you can always opt for dining benches rather than dining chairs — benches are more compact and they tuck all the way under the table when not in use, clearing the space around the table. 

For the length of the table, you’ll want about 60 cm per person for comfortable seating and place settings that aren’t crowded. Keep in mind that the width of a table usually often grows along with its length. You can also consider where you want to put food. If you have a sideboard, you can opt for a narrower table, whereas family-style serving requires choosing a dining table that is large enough to fit all the serving trays on the tabletop. 

Room to grow — Extendable tables

In most modern homes, adaptability is important, and that holds true when choosing a dining table as well. Extending dining tables often offer the best of both worlds: they are compact most of the time and don’t take up too much space, but on those special days when you have all your family and friends over for dinner, an extending dining table can accommodate. 

Of course, if you’re considering an extendable dining table, you’ll need to keep its largest potential dimensions in mind when determining how it will fit in your room. But it’s a great option if you want to create an efficient and multifunctional dining space.