Aug 6, 2014

Posted by in Dining Room, Dining Sets, Dining tables | 0 Comments

Don’t be caught out – Handy hints to make sure your new dining table fits!!

Whether you have just moved into a new home or are looking to refresh an existing interior, choosing a new dining table can be a tricky exercise.

Though shopping for contemporary furniture is very often about finding a style that will add the wow factor to your home, selecting a dining table is one instance where the pull of the heart and head should be given equal consideration.  There is, after all, very little point having a fabulous new dining table if you have to it cram against a wall or perhaps worst still if it leaves guests sitting in the corner of the room or even the living room!

If you are in the market for a new dining table or dining set costly mistakes can often be avoided by carrying out a little homework ahead of time and to help you along the way we have put together a short list of things to consider:

Table shape

One of the most important things you should consider is the shape and proportions of the room which will be the home for your new table.  It is convention that the shape of the table should match that of the room itself, so for example a rectangular table would make most sense for a rectangular room and likewise a square table for a square room.

However, for those of us looking to add a little flare to our dining areas then the addition of an oval table to a rectangular room or round table to a square room will help to create a distinctive aesthetic.  In rooms which have a limited floor area both oval and round tables also present the added advantage of not having space wasting corners, conversely square and rectangular tables best suit larger spaces as their corners help fill up a room.  

The Anni 60 oval dining table from Oliver B. Casa, ideal for rectangular rooms with limited floor area

The Anni 60 oval dining table from Oliver B. Casa, ideal for rectangular rooms with limited floor area

It should also be remembered that square or circular shaped tables introduce an element of intimacy into the dining room and will help the flow of conversation between family members and guest alike.

Depending on the primary function of your dining room an extending table will provide you with the flexibility to host larger dining parties through to smaller more cosy gatherings.  Don’t forget though to consider the shape (and size) of the table in both its unextended and extended forms!

Table Size and your room

So you have decided on the perfect shaped dining table, but will it fit both into the room and the purpose which you intended?

It perhaps goes without saying that another important consideration when selecting a table is its size.  The table should be large enough to provide seating space for its intended purpose but small enough to retain sufficient space in the room for people to sit and move about.  There are a number of widely held conventions in relation to the sizing of a table including:

  •          The table width should be at least 91cm to provide sufficient space to accommodate place settings, dishes and centrepieces.
  •          A gap of 81cm between the table edge and the wall (or nearest piece of furniture) is generally considered wide enough to allow table to sit and stand up.  This is often referred to as the ‘push-back’ area.
  •          If space is required behind the chairs to allow people to move behind them then this gap should be increased to 97cm.
  •          If you plan to serve guests from behind their chairs then this buffer zone should be increased to 107cm.
  •          The height of the table should provide enough clearance space above the knees of a diner without being too high.  For this reason most dining tables are in the region of 70 to 75cm high.

Although most tables are supplied semi-assembled for ease of delivery it is also important to check that the table of your dreams will actually fit into the room itself through the relevant access point. There can be nothing worse than excitedly receiving delivery of your new table only to find it doesn’t fit!

The Oliva round dining table from Tema Home - Perfect for creating an intimate setting in smaller rooms

The Oliva round dining table from Tema Home – Perfect for creating an intimate setting in smaller rooms

One handy hint we recommend to all customers who are looking to visualise how their new table will sit within their room of choice is to take a sheet or table cloth that matches the size of the table and place it on the floor.  Once laid out this will help you see first hand if the proposed table will fit the room and can be especially helpful when dining chairs are used with the sheet to check the suitability of the push back area.

Table Size and your guests

When you know the size and shape of the table that will best suit your dining room, the next consideration is how many people will be seated at the table both on a regular basis and on those special occasions.

More often than not there is a difference between the number of guests we would ideally like to accommodate and the size of table that will fit into a dining area.  In this commonly occurring situation the key is compromise, ensuring the chosen table will accommodate as many guests as it can without creating a cramped dining experience or making the room look too overcrowded.

A general rule of thumb is that each diner should have approximately 60cm of width to be able to eat comfortably without ‘bumping elbows’.  As a more specific guide the table below shows the recommended number of seats a table can accommodate according to its shape and size. 

The recommended table sizes for differing numbers of diners

The recommended table sizes for differing numbers of diners


This chart does not include square tables as it is very often better to use extension leaves or plates to expand this shape of table for larger numbers of guests.  Generally, however, a square table of between 90cm and 110cm in length will easily fit four diners.

Table ‘Form’

A further important consideration when selecting a dining table is its ‘form’.  Often overlooked the form of a dining table can affect its function and it is therefore helpful to consider how a table is constructed.  Factors to think about include:

  •          How thick is the table top?
  •          If extending, how does the table extend?  Where and how are the extension plates stored?
  •          Does the table top include a lip (or apron) that may impede seating or prevent the easy movement of chairs?
  •          How is the table supported?  For example, does it feature legs, a single pedestal or does it feature a trestle style design. This is a particularly important factor to consider as it will directly impact on the number of people a table can comfortably accommodate.  A table top supported by corner legs may not, for example, be suitable for the same number of diners as a similarly sized top which features a central pedestal.   

Finally, don’t forget the chairs!

Although it maybe obvious that selecting a complementary or matching style of chair will greatly improve the overall look of your dining room, you should also consider how the chairs themselves will interact with your new table.  Carver style chairs which feature arms, for example, will require more space (and a larger table) than chairs without arms and will also need greater ‘push-back’ area. 

Similarly chairs with angled legs require more space than those with simple straight legs if they are to avoid becoming tangled.

It is also important that the height of the chair seats provide a comfortable dining experience in relation to the table height. 

For those of us that are unsure about which chairs best suit a table (both in terms of style or more practical considerations) then there are many matching dining sets available in which these important considerations are already taken care of by expert designers!

Concerned about getting the right table and chair combination? Buy a dining set such as the Michelangelo dining table and chairs from Ciacci

Concerned about getting the right table and chair combination? Buy a dining set such as the Michelangelo dining table and chairs from Ciacci

Here at Icona we have worked with our leading suppliers to put together a fabulous collection of contemporary dining sets that we think are perfect both in terms of their form and function. We also offer a huge range of dining tables and dining chairs allowing our customers to create their own dream dining set.

To view our extensive collection of stylish modern dining room furniture then visit  Alternatively if you have any questions about which of our products will best suit your dining area then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0845 54 42 183 or

Why not join us on twitter @iconafurniture , facebook or Google+ for exclusive discounts and information on our modern dining furniture and other designer products.

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