The clearance needed to house a pool table and the space necessary to use the cue to tap the billiard balls depend on two factors: the table size and the cue length. Cues come in 48-, 52- and 58-inch lengths, requiring a border around the pool table large enough to accommodate them. Larger tables need even more space around the table to shoot pool successfully without hitting the walls. Use the longest pool cues in your set to determine the clearance needed around the pool table. A good rule of thumb is to add the pool cue's length, minus the rail cushion width to all sides of the pool table for clearance.
The 7-Foot Table
A 7 foot long, 3 1/2 foot wide table needs roughly a 4-foot clearance around it when you use a 48-inch cue. If your rail cushions are 6 inches wide, for example add 42 inches to the table on all four sides to use 48-inch cues. To use 52-inch cues on this table, add 4 feet to the dimensions on all four sides after subtracting 6 inches from 52. For 58-inch cues, add 52 inches to both ends and the sides of the table.
The 8-Foot Table
A standard 8-foot pool table is 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. It requires an area that is roughly 12 feet wide and 15 feet, 6 inches long to accommodate 4-foot cues. For 52-inch cues, ensure that dimensions of the area are 12 feet, 6 inches wide and 16 feet long. For the larger cues, center the pool table in an area that is 13 feet, 6 inches wide and 17 feet long.
The Oversized 8-Foot Table
An oversized 8-foot table has a 2 inch wider and 4 inch longer playing area compared to the standard 8-foot table's. An oversized 4-by-8 table has a 46-inch-wide and 92-inch-long playing area. For 4-foot cues, center the table in a 12-by-16 foot area. For 52-inch cues, add 6 inches to each of the room's dimensions. For 58-inch cues, add 1 foot to the previous area's measurements for a total space of 13 feet, 6 inches wide by 17 feet, 6 inches long.
The 9-Foot Billiards Table
The 9-foot table requires an area that is 12 feet, 6 inches wide to 16 feet, 6 inches long to accommodate 48-inch cues. For 52-inch cues, add 6 inches to each of these measurements for a 13-by-17-foot dimension. For the longer cues, make the dimensions 14 by 18 feet.
If you plan a man cave or recreational room with a pool table in it, keep in mind that these dimensions represent the clear space needed around the table; they don't include furniture. If you plan to add furniture around the table, ensure that the clearance around the table has enough room to accommodate the furniture and the table with the cues extended to their full lengths.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.