With Thanksgiving under our now one extra-notched belts, the peak of the holiday season is fully upon us. The holidays always provide a chance to sit down and break bread with those we hold nearest and dearest. However much we might adore one another, like many things in life, providing a proper distance is usually the key to a happy and comfortable setting. When you and yours find yourselves around the dining room table to celebrate the joys of life and love together this holiday season, these seven tips may help you choose the perfect dining table.
Seven Tips on Choosing Dining Tables
1) For the width of your table, you want to try and allow for 24” per person with a 6” “buffer” on each end of the table. So if you want 3 people on each side of the table the length should be 7 feet.
2) My boys love and excuse to crawl under the table on all fours or to avoid helping clear plates after dinner. Maintaining a 36” circulation distance around your table should be a safe measure for everyone’s mobility and room to untuck your chairs (and keep those excuses at bay). You can probably get by with a 31–32” but if you have a narrow space in your home be sure to try and select a table that will allow for these space guidelines.
3) Don’t forget the chairs! Think about the space the chairs will need below the table when tucked in, not just how much of area is needed around the perimeter. Too, if you want seating at the ends of the table it needs to either be at least 42” wide or you need to allow 13-16” on the ends (instead of the 6” in other seating).
4) Circular tables are especially important to factor in “tucking in space” when figuring out how many you can comfortably seat. The ideal spacing is generally about 4–6” on either side of each chair. A 36″-48” table can seat 4 people and a 60” table is much better, especially if you want to add chairs and seat 6 people. A 72” table is best for seating groups ranging from 6-8 people, but that gets kind of big. I’d opt for a table that expands to become an oval.
5) All dining room chairs are not the same. A common size for a dining chair is about 20” wide which works great with the 24” per-person allowance guideline. But if you’re chairs have widths of 24” you’ll need to allow for more space per person. Try and make those selections collectively, not independently of each other.
6) Trestle Tables Rule! Maximizing seating and flexibility, trestle tables allow for a clean and modern look while still giving the fully functional advantages of adding more seats during the Holidays. Oval tables also fit this bill with a more casual and softer look. In some cases an oval table may be just right.
7) For you leg crossers out there, be wary of aprons. (Those are the pieces of wood, or other material, that sit below the table and provide support or hide hardware. With seat heights a standard 18” and dining surfaces falling around the 30” mark (factoring in also the thickness of the table, typically between 1-1 ½ “) you are left with little more than 10” for your legs. If you are liking a table that has an apron, you’ll want to be extra sure there is enough space under there to cross those stems of yours, if you are so inclined.
Wanting inspiration? Next week I’ll post a slideshow of tables that I love.