Dining Table Guide

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Choosing Your New Dining Table -

The dining table is the most important element to consider when designing or renovating your dining area. The look, size and shape of your table will set the mood of your dining room. Before making the decision, different factors need to be considered, the most important ones being available space, intended use and finally, your personal preference.

There is an overwhelming variety of dining room tables out there, and without some homework you will find the decision a little tough. Before you do anything else, ask yourself the following questions: How much space do you have? What design will fit and look well in that space? Are you looking for something formal or casual? What materials or finish options should you choose? What about interior decor themes? It may seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but a little due diligence will pay off in the long run. Here are the key factors that you need to determine:

Available Space in Your Room -

This is one of the key factors that will affect your decision when buying a new dining table for your home. The first thing you need to do is to measure your dining room and calculate the size of the table that will fit in that space. You need to allow a clearance of 42”-48” between the dining table and the walls or other furniture in that area. This space is required for comfortably sitting at or getting up from the table and walking around it. Make sure you include the extended dimensions if you are considering a table with leaves. You could draw a scaled down version on a piece of paper to visualize the available space or mark the area on the dining room floor using a long string of wool or a bed sheet placed where the table will eventually be.

Dining Table Shape Options for Different Rooms -

The shape of your room is equally important and has a role to play when you are choosing a dining table. Is your room square or rectangular? Is it long and narrow? Is it generally too big or too small?

Try matching the shape of your room with that of the dining table. For instance, if your room is square, go for a square dining table. For a rectangular room, a similar shaped table will maintain visual harmony. Round tables work well with square rooms. An oval table allows you to seat a large number of people while visually looking smaller due to the rounded edges. Whichever shape you choose, make sure it works well with the shape and size of your dining room.

Intelligent Use of Dining Room Space -

Different types of dining tables work well in different situations. You can add or remove furniture pieces to create the perfect look for your dining room:

Fit a round table in limited space: If you have less space, opt for a round dining table. It will fit snugly into a tighter spot while accommodating more people. The absence of pointed edges makes it an even safer option as you won't bump into a corner.

Go for a pedestal base instead of legs: A great trick to seat more people in a limited space is to choose a table with a pedestal rather than legs. This allows for more chairs to be set around the table and also provides more legroom.

Consider a Lazy Susan: Note that if you choose a round table with a large top, reaching for food in the center becomes an issue, the same is true for a square table. You can add on a lazy susan to a round table to solve the problem.

Dining Table with Leaves: Consider choosing a square table with leaves or levels if you want to seat eight or more diners, but usually have only three to four members at meals or if the available space is limited. The extended leaves can come in handy when you entertain.

Maintaining the look of a large dining room: For a particularly large room, your best option would be a rectangular dining table. The width of the table increases in proportion to the length and a large, rectangular table offers ample table space for a lovely table decor and a visually appealing display for the diners. You can also add other pieces of furniture to the dining room if you think it looks too bare due to its size. You can consider a sideboard or a curio cabinet to fill the space.

Consider a Sideboard: The width of a rectangular table should be enough to allow two table settings and ample space in the center for food. If your room is particularly narrow and long, then you can solve the problem by opting for a narrower table top and adding a sideboard for serving.

Choose Appropriate Seating: For smaller sized rooms, you can opt for a bench instead of chairs. It seats more people and can be pushed under the table when not in use. Another option would be to go for transparent, acrylic seating, as it keeps the focus on your table while making the room look spacious.

Dining Table Height -

When you go out looking for a dining table, you'll come across different types of tables in terms of their height. The perfect height of the table will naturally depend on its intended use. You also need to consider whether the dining chairs will have arms or not, as the table should be high enough to allow the arms to slide beneath it.

Dining Table (28" to 30" high): Dining tables have the same height as a café table, but the top is larger. You'll need regular dining chairs or cafe dining chairs to go with this table. The top size depends on shape and can be 36" to

50" for a square or round table. For a rectangular or oval dining table, you can opt for a larger top ranging from 60" to 80".

Bar Table (39" to 42" high): Choose bar stools to go with this table. The barstools have a height of 29" to 31".

Bistro or Pub Table (34" to 36" high): You'll require counter stools for this table that are 25" to 26" in height.

Cafe Table (28" to 30" high): Cafe tables are small, with a diameter of 30”-36”. Use regular dining chairs or cafe dining chairs with this table.


Standard Table Dimensions Information Graphic


Shows the number of seats that fit at a table based on the tables size in an information graphic style Visual Seating Chart shows the number of chairs based on the tables size

Tables with Pedestals -

You can seat more people if your table has a pedestal rather than legs. Generally, a 36” table top with a pedestal base can seat 4 people while a 60” table with a pedestal base will accommodate 6 diners.

A Dining Table to Suit Your Lifestyle -

Personal Preference and Dining Table Shapes: The type or size of your dining table depends a lot on your personal choice as well as requirement. If you need a formal dining table for hosting family or formal dinners, a rectangular or oval dining table will serve the purpose well.

For a more cozy, intimate dining experience, choose a round or square table. These shapes allow diners to talk comfortably to each other as the distance from the center is equal for everyone. If you only have three or four people at mealtimes, a large rectangular dining table looks out of place and empty.

Formal Dining Tables -

If your dining table is strictly for formal use, choose a design that creates an elegant, formal atmosphere. Try a table with curved legs or intricate scroll-work on the base. In terms of the top, a glass top creates a delicately formal look while showing off the base. You could also go for a solid wood top in a finish that matches your dining room's theme to create a color coordinated look.

Casual Dining Tables -

If your dining table is the place where your family gathers not only for meals but for discussions, to work on projects and to do homework, your table should be sturdy, durable and yet beautiful to match your requirements. Rustic dining tables with wooden tops are a good option in this regard. An iron table will also serve the purpose well. Choose an appropriate size depending on the number of family members, the style can be contemporary, modern or classic, so long as it is durable and the top can be wiped clean without fear of damaging the finish.

Multipurpose Dining Tables -

Wrought iron dining tables are a great option whether you are looking for a formal or casual table or something in between. They blend well with most decor styles and can be as formal or casual as you want them to be. You can choose a base with ornate design and a glass top for a formal look. The same base will work well with a wood / copper top to offer durability and style.

Table Top Options -

Depending on your requirement and preference, you can choose different types of table tops. From worn wood for a rustic look to a traditional mahogany or cherry wood top for a classically formal look, the options are limitless. Pine wood tops are a popular choice for a casual setting. You can also go for natural materials like marble or slate for a sturdy yet beautiful dining table. This option should be reserved for small sized tables as stone tops naturally tend to get heavy with size. Glass offers a very modern yet practical option.

If you already have a table top that you want to use, you can order a wrought iron base to go with it and create your own unique look. This option is not only economical, but allows you the freedom to mix and match your favorite design elements.

Decor options -

When you are buying new furniture, you need to decide an overall decor theme or style. This creates visual harmony in the room and brings out the best of all your furniture pieces. You may choose to follow the existing decor theme that runs throughout your home, or design each room with its own theme.

For your dining room, make sure that the chairs and the table follow the same design or pattern. For instance, you can order a wrought iron dining table, dining chairs and a side board from a specific design line so that all the pieces have the same ironwork on them. The fabric or leather upholstery of the seats should ideally match or compliment the draperies in the dining room. Look carefully at the different finish options for the iron and choose the one that complements or accents your color theme. Again, the same finish should be chosen for all of the dining room furniture to ensure a beautifully color coordinated room. Another good idea is to buy serveware or lighting with complimentary ironwork to complete the look.

If you are buying a wrought iron dining table, you can choose from different design lines from well-known wrought iron manufacturers. All the pieces in a particular design line carry matching or complimentary ironwork, so that you have visual harmony in your decor. The same theme can be extended to the entire house, or restricted to your dining room.

You can find rustic, modern, classic or contemporary designs as per your taste. Whether you go for a delicately designed piece or a chunky, bold table, you will find a lot of variety in the market. Generally, large spaces show off chunky pieces well, while a simple, minimalist table will work well with small space.

A dining table is a very important part of your home. It is the place where families gather to enjoy each others company, to share joys and sorrows, to create memories that last a lifetime. When you choose your new dining table, make sure it reflects who you are, your personality, your lifestyle and your taste. A sturdy, yet stylish dining table will stand the test of time and stay with you for the years to come.

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Dining Table Guide for For Download

  • What is the right table shape for my dining room?
  • How much space do I need between chairs?
  • Can I fit a large dining room table or do I need a shorter one with leaf extensions?

Get all the answers here!

Our free Dining Table Guide has all the answers to help you find the perfect dining table. Find out what you need to know before you invest in your dining room centerpiece and walk away with the confidence you need to make the purchase.

What's inside?

We offer pages of detailed descriptions, charts, and ideas, including:

  • Valuable advice on choosing the right shape, size, style, materials, and finish
  • Tips on how to measure your dining room space
  • Excellent feature recommendations
  • Seating charts and dimension specifications

With our free Dining Table Guide, you can be confident about choosing a dining table that's ideal for you and your home!

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