A dining table is often the heart of the home. It plays an important part in family gatherings, romantic meals and celebrations with friends, so it’s important to choose the right size dining table to suit your needs. The size of your dining table depends on a variety factors: how many people usually eat together, how many guests you typically entertain and the size of your home. It’s always worth choosing a design that caters to all of your needs, so if you do occasionally host large dinner parties, go for a table that seats a large number of people, and you can use a smaller section of this for your day-to-day meals. Alternatively, if you are more accustomed to hosting intimate gatherings, a smaller table will do perfectly.
We’ve put together this guide on how to choose the right dining table to help you work out the most suitable dining table dimensions and the perfect design for your home.
To ensure that everyone has enough room to comfortably stand up and push their chair back from the table, you need a minimum of 90cm between the table edge and the wall. 100cm to 120cm is even better, so that nobody feels jammed in. To work out the largest-size dining table that will comfortably fit in your space, measure the length and width of the area you can dedicate, then subtract 180cm from these two measurements to get a maximum length and width for your table.
You may want a large dining table that seats 10, but if the size of your dining room only allows for an 8-seater, it’s better to go for a smaller, more snug option.
Rectangular tables are the most popular dining table shape and they’re also best for entertaining large groups of people. Round or oval tables give you more space to move around since the shape cuts off the corners, and they are also good for smaller dinner parties because there’s no head of the table and everyone can see and speak to each other. For more advice, read our in-depth guide to choosing the best dining table shape.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred shape, the next step is to choose the right size table. It’s important that when you and your guests are sat around the dining table, everybody has plenty of room to relax and eat comfortably, without banging elbows with their neighbours. For each person seated at the dining table, allow 60cm of table space, or 80cm for extra elbow room. Allow approximately 38cm of depth for a place setting, plus extra space in the middle for serving platters. For rectangular tables, add an extra 30cm at each end for people seated at either end of the table.
Bear in mind that larger dining chairs will require more room per person, so if you already have your dining chairs or have some in mind, measure how wide they are so you know how much space to allow per person.
Here are the ideal dining table dimensions you need for different amounts of people.
Square dining table - 80cmSq Rectangle dining table - 80x60cm Round dining table - 91cmDia
Square/round dining table - 120cm Rectangle/oval dining table - 120x80cm
Square/round dining table - 150cm Rectangle/oval dining table - 180cm
Square/round dining table - 180cm Rectangle/oval dining table - 250cm
Square/round dining table - 210cm Rectangle/oval dining table - 300cm
If you frequently have both intimate suppers and large dinner parties, choose an extendable dining table, such as the Petworth Extending Weathered Oak Dining Table, so that you can make your table bigger or smaller depending on the occasion. All table shapes can be designed to include leaves which expand the capacity of your table. You can keep and use any extra dining chairs in other rooms when you aren’t using them.
Table linen can transform the look of a dining table, adding warmth, colour and style and ensuring that every dinner party is one to remember. A tablecloth that hangs 15-25cm over the edge of your table is ideal for casual dining, whilst a tablecloth that hangs lower, brushing the floor, is ideal for more formal occasions.
For round tables, you can either choose a round tablecloth or a square one. If you opt for square, buy one that has a corner-to-corner diagonal length that is 30-35cm longer than the diameter of the table for optimum overhang.
As you have seen, there are certain guidelines to follow when it comes to choosing the right size dining table for your home. To help choose the best one for you, remember to think about the size of the room, the maximum number of people you’re likely to host and the amount of space you want to allow per person. Once you’ve decided on the perfect dining table, it’s time to choose your chairs. Take a look at our guide to choosing a dining chair for advice on style, material and upholstery.