Which Dining Room Table is Right for You?

There are several things you may want to consider regarding your dining room table, especially if you’re planning to buy a new one or build one yourself. Make sure to think about the size of your space, how many people you would like to seat, the style you want and more. Below are various tips to help you create the perfect dining table.

Organize Your Dining Room

Where do I start?

First, you’ll want to know how big your dining room is. Then, you’ll want to take into account any furniture, such as a china cabinet or buffet table, that will take up floor space and affect how much room you’ll have available for a table and chairs.

A general rule of thumb is that you want at least 32” between the table’s edge and the wall to allow for ideal seating clearance. If you need to make sure someone can comfortably pass behind a seated guest, then you’ll want to extend that gap to 42”-48”.

Remember that china cabinet and buffet table? If you have any furniture that will take up floor space, instead of measuring from the wall to the table, measure from your furniture piece to the table instead.

How much room does a person need?

At a minimum, you’ll want a space 23” long by 12” deep for each person. If you have room, space up to 30″ is recommended. If you’re using arm chairs, the 23” measurement should instead be the entire width of the arm chair, including the arms.

How big should my table be?

Table Size and Seating Capacity

For starters, what shape of table are you planning on building? A square table should be no less than 30” x 30” for two people, 36″ x 36″ for four, and 48” x 48” for six. Any more than that, and you’d be better off building a rectangular table due to the amount of space a square one would take up in your dining room.

As for a rectangular table, you have a little bit more to consider. The width should accommodate a 12” wide place setting on either side for your guests, as well as a minimum of 6” in the middle for glasses, dishes, decor, etc. As you have more guests and more place settings to accommodate, your middle area should expand, as well.

The length should accommodate a 12” wide place setting on each end of the table, as well as your preferred number of 23”-30” long place settings along the length.

Round tables have an additional consideration that square and rectangular tables don’t: your guest’s place setting will taper rather than square off. Round tables are ideal for smaller spaces for a couple reasons: 1) they curve away from your guest, so they’ll be able to get in and out of their chair easier and 2) they can generally fit more people. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want a round table to have no less than a 30” diameter for 2 people, 36” diameter for 3-4, and a 42” diameter for 4-5.

How tall should my table be?

Standard dining table height is 30”, which is why all of our dining table legs measure at 29” tall. That allows for a 1” thick tabletop. For a thicker tabletop, you can shorten your legs below the 29” standard height to keep that 30” height.

One thing to note about table height: sometimes, arm chairs are too tall to fit under a standard 30″ tall table. Our standard apron kits have 4″ tall boards, and when matched with standard 29″ tall dining table legs, that only offers 25″ of clearance under the table. If you plan on using arm chairs, be sure to measure the height of your chair from the floor to the top of the arm.

If 25″ isn’t enough clearance, don’t worry! We can create a custom full table kit, custom table apron kit, or table legs at a custom height to accommodate your chairs.

What about a table I can extend when I have guests?

Choose the Right Table Slide

This is where things can get a little confusing. If you want a table that you can keep collapsed during daily use, then extend when you have guests, you’ll need two major things: additional tabletop lengths (called leaves), and table slides.

Our table slides come in three different varieties: standard, equalizer, and standard equalizing.

Standard table slides - for use on four-legged tables where, when you open the tabletop, the legs move with the tabletop. These use a series of parallel boards that slide back and forth with a male and female butterfly notch, which then develops an internal camber that compensates for sagging in the middle of the table.

Equalizer slides - for use on pedestal tables where the base remains stationary when the tabletop is opened. These use a series of parallel boards that slide back and forth using a rack and pinion mechanism that ensures that the top opens and closes easily while staying in balance. These slides develop an internal camber that compensates for sagging at the two ends of the table.

Standard equalizing slides - a hybrid of the other two. Standard equalizing slides are built specifically for extra-large four-legged tables that require a fifth support leg in the middle to prevent sagging. These utilize elements of both the standard and equalizer slides to allow for a center support leg to remain stationary while the two ends of the table pull apart.

When it comes to how much additional room you need, you’ll want to consider the width of your place settings, which you should have determined earlier, and how many guests you want to add to your table. Standard table leaves are 12” wide, so you’ll need at least two leaves to have enough room to add an additional place setting on either side of your table. Need room for four additional guests? You’ll need at least four 12” wide leaves depending on how wide your place settings and chairs are.

For more information on table slides, how to choose them, and how to install them, check out our table slide information page on our website.

The images above are also available as a downloadable PDF for quick reference.

If you have any further questions, feel free to call our toll free number, 800.849.8876, where one of our representatives will be happy to help you.

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