Your dining table is one of the most important spots in your home. It's a place for socializing, gathering, hosting dinners, and nourishing loved ones. We may not always think that a dining table is part of home wellness, but it's a spot where you feed your body and your soul.
So, it's essential you choose a dining table that you love. To feel "right" in the room, you need the right dining table dimensions, height, shape, and style. A dining table is a significant investment and a central part of your home. Here’s some advice on choosing a dining table you’ll love for years.
Photography: Caroline Sharpnack
What Are the Best Dining Table Dimensions?
Choosing the right dining room table dimensions depends on your space, needs, and personal style. If you're building a new home or updating your décor, you'll want to think about the requirements of your household.
First of all, ask yourself how many people will typically use the dining table. If it’s a table for one or two (most days), then you may want a square or round table that is a bit smaller. For families of 4-6, you’ll want plenty of room, so a rectangular or oval table may better fit the bill.
What about those who love to entertain? Do you choose dining table dimensions to fit your dinner party guests? It all depends on your space. If you entertain once or twice a month, you don't want a table that's so large that it feels out of place in the room. At the same time, a diminutive table will feel out of place and odd if you have a spacious dining room.
For those living in smaller homes (or older homes with divided floor plans), you may want to choose a table with a leaf so it can be expanded to add extra place settings as needed. Some people love the look of a solid dining tabletop, while others don't mind the modular aspect of an expandable table. It's all about your personal preference and your space. There are attractive options on the market for both styles.
Of course, you'll want to choose a table that fits your design style too. For example, a rough-hewn industrial-style table will look out of place amongst sleek Danish-style furniture. Similarly, a farmhouse oval will feel inconsistent in a stately, formal dining room.
So, what dining table shape should you choose? What is the best shape for your dining area? Most dining tables are available in a standard shape: square, round, rectangle, or oval. Although the sizes can vary widely, there are some basic dining table dimensions that are relatively universal. Here's how the different dining table shapes break down.
Square Dining Tables
Square tables feel a bit retro and perfectly charming for 2-4 people. If you have an eat-in kitchen, a square café or bistro-style table is often appropriate for the space, too. As for a smaller dining room, square tables can be fitting and fun. If you don't entertain frequently or rarely eat in a small dining room, a square table might be ideal for your situation.
Standard square dining tables are between 36” to 44” wide. Being a square, the table will be the same dimensions on all sides. Most dining tables are standard dining table height (28" to 30" tall), although you may also find counter height tables that hit 34" to 36".
If you're in love with the square shape but need to seat more than four people, you'll need to look for a larger square (and make sure the table fits the room). For four to six diners, the table should measure at least 48” on each side. The rule is about two feet per diner up, though a roomier 60” table can give diners more elbow room.
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If you need to go even larger, square dining tables are available between 60" and 84" on all sides. Again, that allows you enough space to comfortably seat up to eight people (ten in a pinch). Remember, though, that large square tables can make conversation awkward and put a lot of distance across the table. It's also challenging to pass or reach food in the center of the table.
Generally speaking, a square table is ideal for an intimate, cozy dining space. It creates a sweet and welcoming spot for couples or small families. A large square table can work for entertaining, but if you frequently entertain more than four people (and have the room), you may want to explore other dining table options.
Round Dining Tables
Round dining tables are the counterpart to square tables, and many of the same rules and guidelines apply. Round tables can feel a bit less formal than square, although there are styles of round dining tables that fit almost any décor.
Like square tables, round tables create a comfortable sense of togetherness. Because of the round shape, conversation is a bit easier, and seating feels less vast than it can with a square. But of course, the larger the table, the more spacious and distant it can feel across the table.
When looking for small, comfortable circular tables to seat 2-4 people, you’ll want to look for dining table dimensions of 36” to 40” in diameter. For a little more room—something that can seat up to six, you can go up to 60”. There are 72” diameter tables, which can seat up to eight people, but these only work well in a large, square room (and passing dishes can be an issue).
One of the drawbacks of a large round table is that leaves don't work well, either. Unlike square, oval, and rectangular tables, the round table is hard to expand for a special occasion or large gatherings. Small round tables, however, can be really charming in cozy, small spaces like breakfast nooks, eat-in kitchens, and small dining rooms.
Most round tables are standard height, but you can also find bistro or taller round tables. These range up to 42” in height (slightly above the standard 36” counter height). Some of these tables are also height adjustable, making them great for entertaining.
Rectangular Dining Tables
The next common dining table shape is the rectangle. Many people favor the rectangle because it fits most spaces. The dining table dimensions are usually between 36" to 40" wide—comfortable for conversation. There's really no limit when it comes to length (although most are between 60" and 78").
If you're trying to decide on the right length, you'll want to look at your room and your needs (like the number of people to seat) to determine your target size. Most rectangular tables are sized to fit anywhere from 4 to 10 people. Generally, you'll need around two feet of space for each diner.
Rectangular tables are perfect for narrow, long rooms. They’re also ideal for breaking up open-concept floorplans because they create a nicely sectioned space. If you frequently host dinner parties, rectangular tables are the ideal choice. Of course, they’re also perfectly fine for small households and can offer a spot to work at one end and eat at the other.
Dining tables are available in most types of wood and finishes, and rectangular tables are no exception. You can find a style and finish for every décor, from marble and concrete tabletops to oak, teak, and more. I suggest going with a natural, minimally treated wood or another natural material to avoid some of the off-gassing that can occur with treated and synthetic wood products.
Standard Oval Dining Table Measurements
Finally, we come to oval dining tables. This is another dining table shape that many people love, myself included. Oval dining tables can be easier to navigate in smaller rooms because there are no hard corners to bump into and work around. They offer the flexibility of seating many people, like a rectangular table, but can feel softer and more casual too with the added curves.
Design + Image: Studio McGee
Standard measurements for oval dining tables are between 36" and 44" wide. Beyond 44", it becomes hard to pass dishes and talk across the table. As far as length, oval dining tables are usually between 48” and 96” long, fitting a similar pattern to rectangular tables. The same guidelines of two feet per diner apply to oval tables, so for 6-8 people, you'll want a table that's 80"- 96" long (keep in mind that someone usually sits at the head and the foot of the table).
Oval tables work with many classic-style homes. They often feel a bit more casual than rectangular tables, but most can be dressed up or dressed down to fit with the surrounding décor. Most oval tables are at standard table height, between 28” and 30” from the ground.
Photography: Caroline Sharpnack
What is Standard Dining Table Height?
If you’ve ever dined at a table that was too tall or too short, you know that it can ruin the entire eating experience. Therefore, it's crucial that the chairs allow diners to put their feet flat on the floor while easily eating at the table without hitting their elbows.
Most dining tables are between 28" and 30" off the ground. This allows people to comfortably fit underneath the table and feels the best for eating. As mentioned above, some dining tables also come in a countertop height of about 34" to 36," and some bar tables or bistro tables sit at 42" high. These types of tables are usually for less formal dining, entertaining, and situations where people have the option to sit, stand, or use a bar stool.
Design + Image: Lindye Galloway
What Size Dining Table Fits the Room?
Now, it's crucial that you select a dining table that also fits the size of the dining room. You don’t want a table that doesn’t leave a comfortable walkway or space to slide chairs in and out from the table. At the same time, a big room with a tiny table feels a little awkward and mismatched.
Most guidelines suggest that you need at least 30” to 36” of walkway around the entire perimeter of the table. The guideline should include the space around the chairs (so if your dining chairs are bulky or large, push them under the table to ensure you still have enough room to navigate).
If the table is too small for the space, you can add a sideboard or cabinet along the wall. Shelves, a sculptural art piece, or another eye-catching item can be a lovely addition to the dining room, adding interest and making the space feel more complete.
The dining room is a wonderful space for gathering, resting, and nourishing your body. Select the right dining table to keep the room in balance and harmony with the rest of the home. How does your dining table work with your space? Let me know in the comments!