While dining tables can vary, the most common sizes are fairly standard for optimal comfort while eating. Choosing a table that's too narrow may mean crowded conditions at dinnertime, while a table that's too large for the space makes moving chairs a bit difficult. Consider the size and shape of the room and the number of people usually eating at mealtime to determine whether a typical dining table is right for the space.
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Rectangular and Square Tables
Rectangular tables designed for four people average 36 to 40 inches wide and 48 inches long. A 60-inch table seats two more guests, while a 78-inch table has room for eight. Square tables for four generally range from 36 to 44 inches on any side. Either shape of table is usually 28 to 30 inches tall, as are round tables.
A round table, 36 to 44 inches wide, offers room for four guests, comfortably. For two more guests, choose a table that's 44 to 54 inches across. A table of at least 54 inches across is best for up to eight seated guests.
Oval-shaped dining tables are usually designed to seat six or more. The average oval dining tables for six are 36 to 42 inches wide, if measuring the narrowest dimension across the middle, and 60 to 72 inches long. For eight people, an oval table measures 36 to 44 inches wide and 72 to 84 inches long. A table 48 inches wide and 96 inches long can host a large holiday feast, seating 12 to 14 guests.
When deciding which size or shape of table best suits your home's dining area, keep in mind that chairs need space, too. Whenever possible, leave at least 36 inches all the way around the table for guests to pull chairs out to seat themselves. This also allows ample room to walk around the table, even with seated guests. Armchairs or other chairs that don't push all the way under the table use up some of that space, so keep this in mind if choosing a table that barely fits the room.
A dining table with an extra leaf or drop-leaf sides is a great option for families with occasional guests. The ideal table should comfortably fit the room without the leaf in place, or with leaves folded down, for everyday use. Before purchasing, measure the table with the leaf in place as well, to make sure it still fits the room and allows guests enough space to move their chairs.
A table with an added leaf or drop-down leaves adds space for at least two more guests when the table is at its largest. Round, square and rectangular expandable tables exist, so you can choose a shape and style that work with the space. Any of these should have typical dining table dimensions without the leaf in place for an add-in style or with leaves up for a drop-down style table.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.