Your dining table is going to be one of the biggest purchases you will make for your place. Physically, it will be one of the largest items within your house and consequently catch the attention of guests. Chances are that it will also be one of your most expensive investments. With such important items, you want to do a good share of research in order to make sure you’re happy with your purchase.
Besides deciding on important factors like color, material, and design, you need to decide on the shape and size of your dining table. These two factors go hand in hand, as you will need different size tables depending on which shape you choose. This is not a big concern if you live in a large home with a large dining room, but it’s very important if you live in a small apartment.
Choosing the best shape of dining room table will depend on the shape of your dining room and on how many seats you need. If you need 2 or 3 seats, square-shaped tables are best. For 4 to 5 seats, you should choose round tables. For 6 to 7 seats, oval tables. And for 8+ seats, rectangular tables with a bench are the best option.
So when you are trying to find the best shape of dining table for a small space, you need to consider both the number of seats you need and the shape of your dining room. A round table will look better in a round dining room, while a rectangular or oval table will fit better in an elongated dining room. In terms of the number of seats, if you have guests over frequently, an oval or rectangular table will be your best fit. If you have a very limited amount of space, square and round tables will work best. Below, we’ll cover additional questions more in-depth and show how to maximize the space for each table.
Recommended Dining Table Space per Person
When deciding on how many seats you need, you should first think about how many people live in your household. If it’s just you and your significant other, a table for 4 should be enough. If you have kids, you should probably aim for seating for 6. If you have parties frequently, you should go for tables with 8 or more.
Once that is decided, you should make sure that you get a dining table that is large enough so that all people can sit comfortably. A good rule of thumb is that, for tables that sit between 2 and 6, you should allow for 26 inches of elbow space per person. For more than that, 24 inches should be enough.
You should aim to keep each end of the table at least 3 feet away from the walls, in order to give enough space for each person to move comfortably.
Do Round or Rectangular Tables Take More Space?
Visually, round tables seem to take less space since they only have one thicker leg (compared to 4 legs in rectangular and square tables). However, if you start with the premise that each person in a 4-person table needs 26 inches of space in order to be comfortable, a round 4-person table will have a tabletop that occupies 860 square inches. A square table, on the other hand, will have a 676 square inch tabletop. Most tables are larger than that, ranging between 38 – 50 inches in width or length, but this just shows that rectangular tables CAN take less space.
A benefit of round tables though is that they obviously don’t have corners, so that can also save some space for you.
Dining Tables for Small Spaces that Expand
Another great option for small dining rooms or kitchens is to purchase a convertible and extendable dining table. These come either in square shapes that expand into rectangular tables, or round ones that expand into oval ones. They are a great idea for small spaces, as you can maximize space on a daily basis yet have enough seats when you have extra guests over.