Most will agree that the kitchen and dining room are the heart of any home. This is where you share meals, play games, work on homework and share countless hours of great conversation with family and friends. If we spend so much time at our tables, shouldn’t we make sure that we choose a table that fits both our space and lifestyle?
Whether this integral piece of furniture doubles as a home office desk or solely used for meals, it’s important that you consider a few key points when determining what size table you should purchase.
As one of Canada’s leaders in salvaged wood furniture, we have been creating custom one of a kind tables for almost two decades and have some tips we would like to share with you.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your table size.
Determining room size
How to measure your room
What size Dining Table do I need?
What size table do I need? is our most commonly asked question and where we like to start is with your room size. Determining the size of the room is crucial to make sure that your table is not too small or too large for the space. If it’s too small, the proportions won’t look right but if it’s too big, it might affect traffic flow.
Here are some guide lines that we use to help determine the proper size table for your space.
For the width, tables that range between 36”-40” tend to fit best in your average home. If you like to entertain and have extra space for food platters down the centre, then a 40-44” wide table is recommended.
Next, add 24” to each side of the table to account for the space your chairs will take up when in use. We then recommend adding another 12” to allow for space to walk around other seated guests. If you’re in a condo or have a narrow room, adding 36”+ extra on each side may not be an option so you will need to be flexible on how much extra room you give yourself or choose a narrower table.
You also want to account for traffic flow. You want to make sure that your table doesn’t impede on the natural walking path from room to room or block doorways. Don’t forget to think about how the surrounding doors open and close. The last thing you want is a door opening into the room and damaging your chairs because your table is too large for the space.
Don’t forget about your other furniture and fixtures! If you have other pieces in the space such as a credenza, hutch or buffet, you will also have to take this into account when measuring the room. Lastly, don’t forget to look up! You also want to take into consideration where the light fixture is situated so that your table is properly centered.
How do I measure my room?
We often suggest to our customers to quickly sketch out TO SCALE on graph paper your dining room and your estimated table size along with any other furniture pieces that will be in there.
If your table will be placed in an open concept room where you don’t have 4 walls to base your room size off of, sketch some imaginary lines in where the missing walls are to help you determine the space you are working with.
Some customers like to tape out the area in the room to have a more lifelike visual of the space.
Both options will help you visualize your room better to ensure you are selecting the right size table for your space and seating requirements.
What shape of table should I choose?
There are four standard shapes of tables on the market; rectangular, square, round and oval. The shape you choose can be determined based on aesthetics alone but there are other factors to consider such as your preferred edge type, room size/ shape and if you prefer a more formal or casual dining experience. Here are some tips on the four table shapes.
Rectangular tables are the most common shape as they are the best for hosting larger groups of people and have a more formal feel. This shape is the best option if you prefer to have a live edge table top.
Square tables work great in square rooms or where space is limited. It provides a more intimate dining experience and has a more casual feel. This shape also allows for a natural edge down two sides.
Round tables look great in any shape of room and work well in small spaces like condos or apartments as they have less surface space. Like square tables, they provide an intimate dining experience as everyone can see each other easily. Unfortunately round tables do not give you the option of a live edge as the shape is machine cut.
Oval tables combine the best of rectangular and round in one. They allow for more seating but their rounded corners work great in tighter spaces and also give the illusion of being smaller. If you would like to have a natural edge table but are concerned about size, oval tables give you this option as the live edge can remain down the sides with only the ends rounded. If you prefer a more oblong shape, then the edges will need to be machined to your desired shape.
Seating Capacity: How many people can I seat at my table?
Now that you have determined your room size, table shape and the approximate sized table that your space will allow, let’s determine how many people you will actually be able to seat.
First you should determine if you prefer to have a formal seating arrangement with chairs down the sides and on each end or if you prefer a casual communal style seating with chairs only down the sides. Now that you have narrowed down your seating arrangement, you can figure out how many chairs will properly fit around your table. The rule of thumb for formal dining accounts for 24” per person.
For a rectangular table, if you would like to seat 6 with 2 down the sides and one per end, we suggest going with a 60” long table.
If you would like to seat 8 with 3 down the sides and one per end, we suggest going with an 84” long table.
We like to add up the total space the chairs will take and then add another 12”. This gives some extra space between the chairs and on the ends so your guests are not sitting elbow to elbow. Here are some guidelines for the 4 table shapes.
- A 60” long rectangular table seats 6 comfortably.
- A 72” long rectangular table seats 6-8.
- An 84” long rectangular table seats 8 comfortably.
- A 108” long rectangular table seats 8-10.
- A 132” long rectangular table seats 10 comfortably.
- A 48” square table seats 4 comfortably.
- A 60” square table seats 6 comfortably.
- A 72” square table seats 8 comfortably.
- An 84” square table seats 10 comfortably.
- A 48” round table seats 6 comfortably.
- A 60” round table seats 8 comfortably.
- A 72” round table seats 10 comfortably.
- A 72” oval table seats 6 comfortably.
- A 96” oval table seats 8 comfortably.
- A 120” oval table seats 10 comfortably.
Although there are many factors to consider when purchasing a table, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here’s a quote from one of our many happy customers.
For more tips on how to choose the right table for your space, please visit our Custom page, where we walk you through the entire selection process. We excel in custom tables and hope we have the chance to work with you designing your forever table.
We are Sean and Melissa, a husband and wife team from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who took our passion for the environment along with our vision to reduce our urban forestry waste, and started Canada’s original log salvaging company.
Since 2004, we have taken discarded city trees doomed for mulch and firewood and have salvaged these logs into handcrafted tables and other solid wood furniture products. We are one of a few companies handling all areas of reclamation from log selection, milling, drying, woodworking and metal fabrication.
We have been featured in numerous design magazines, newspaper articles, blogs and television shows across North America sharing our designs and insights. With almost two decades of experience in the salvaging and furniture manufacturing industry, we have learned a few tips and tricks along the way.
We hope you enjoy our future blogs and find answers to some of your wood and design questions.