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How to Measure Your Dining Space

To create a space that is comfortable and functional, you need to make sure you have enough room to relax and maneuver. Use these guidelines to design a modern, welcoming dining room.


The number of chairs you are able to place at the table is determined in multiple ways. In fact, two tables with the same size top might accommodate different numbers of people based on the leg placement and top overhang.

Trying to maximize seating? Consider a pedestal or trestle table and pair it with benches. You won't have table or chair legs to worry about.

Width of place setting

A general guideline is to allow for 24 inches for every person at your table. Using a tablecloth instead of individual placemats or bench seating instead of chairs allows for cozier seating. Place settings are also a factor: multiple utensils and extra glassware at each seat requires more space for each person.

Depth of table

The minimum depth for a dining table is 30 inches. If you rely on your table for serving space, a depth of 36 inches or larger provides more room for platters, bowls, pitchers and centerpieces.

Distance between the table and walls or furniture

If possible, leave at least 36 inches between the edge of your table and other furniture or the wall. This provides enough room for someone to walk behind the chairs while others are seated or to open a door on a nearby cabinet. If you have room, 48 inches of space is ideal.

Clearance under the table

If you have dining chairs with arms, the space between the table and the floor will determine if the arms can tuck all the way under the table. Also consider the clearance for crossing your legs underneath the table.


A dining room rug should accommodate all the legs of the chairs, even when they are pushed away from the table. At least 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug will give you plenty of room and prevent chair legs from catching on the edge of the rug.

Pendant lights

When lighting your dining room, start with the overhead fixture. Choose a pendant that creates a pool of light bright enough to ensure your guests are not sitting in shadows. Hang your pendant approximately 30 inches above the table to keep sight lines open.