Entertaining Guide: How To Determine What Size Dining Table You Need



As mothers with big families who love to entertain, we design our spaces for clients as if they were our own- that is, making sure that every room we design is beautiful AND functional both in space and flow.


One of our inside jokes is that we like to measure, then measure again. Oh, and then we will put it into CAD and measure it again. Then maybe one more site visit to measure one more time. I kid… but seriously, we take our measurements seriously.


One of the most important aspects of our job is space planning. One area in the home that is especially important is around your dining areas. Whether it be formal or informal dining, there are always rules for clearance and we are going to share them with you so you can also space plan like a pro.


No matter what the space, always allow room for at least 36” of clearance on each side of the table. This allows plenty of room for chairs to pull in and out and traffic to flow comfortably behind the table. Of course, if you have a buffet or another piece of furniture in the room, you should take that into account and allow 3’ of clearance around that as well. As far as space between chairs goes, a comfortable rule of thumb is at least 18” between chairs, although 2’ is best. This way your diners have plenty of legroom, elbow room, and breathing room.


Another often asked question is how to determine what shape table to use. A good rule of thumb is that round tables are best for conversation, so whenever possible round is nice. A small square dining room will lend itself nicely to a round table, whereas a large rectangular room definitely calls for a rectangular table. In oversized square rooms delineated by columns instead of walls, a large square table can be a lovely option.

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For smaller eat-in kitchens, we love incorporating a banquette as a way to maximize seating in an otherwise tight space. An upholstered banquette (in a performance fabric, of course!) is a family-friendly way to squeeze a few more little people up to the table.

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