Come Sit at My Table (or Counter)

Have you ever seen that great circus clown act, where 20 clowns emerge from a tiny Volkswagen Beetle? It’s a fun trick and a great image, but not while dining. I think we’ve all had meals where you need a shoehorn to get to the table. So, to help insure that you and your guests never have to utter those eight dreaded words, “Please get your elbow out of my ear,” here’s a basic guideline for viable, comfortable seating relative to table size.

David Van Scott Photography

What size table do I need?

For comfortable use, considering average-sized people, and using a standard dining chair, you should provide 24 inches of width per person in your table/seating calculations. If you are doing a wider upholstered chair in the dining room or even in your kitchen, work with your designer to increase this allowance relative to the chair width. You may decide to give up a seat or two in order to accommodate your wider chairs. An alternative here to achieve your design without sacrificing seating is to use the wider chairs only as the lead chairs at an oblong or rectangular table.

David Van Scott Photography

How many people fit at my kitchen island/counter/peninsula?

If you are redoing your kitchen and are considering how many seats will fit along your kitchen island or peninsula, this 24 inch rule works too. However, if you plan to do counter stools with arms, increase this allowance to 30-32 inches per chair. Please keep in mind the height of your counter – the higher the counter, the less knee room you need because the leg is straighter when sitting higher. Thus, your counter overhang can decrease. Remember when ordering your kitchen island stools to specify counter height (which is 36”) or bar height, (which is 42”). For tight spaces with minimal clearance behind them, skip the backs on the counter chairs altogether and go with a true stool that completely tucks underneath the counter overhang when not in use.

A Basic Guide to Table Measurements and Seating

Vanguard Furniture

Square tables:
52 inch x 52 inch (seats 6 – 8)

Oblong and rectangular tables (including calculations with leaves to express maximum seating):
52 inch x 70 inch (seats 6 – 8)
60 inch x 84 inch (seats 8 – 10)
60 inch x 102 inch (seats 10 – 12)
60 inch x 120 inch (seats 12 – 16)
60 inch x 142 inch (seats 12 – 16)
64 inch x 70 inch (seats 10 – 12)
70 inch x 72 inch (seats 10 – 12)
70 inch x 96 inch (seats 10 – 12)
70 inch x 114 inch (seats 12 – 16)
70 inch x 126 inch (seats 12 – 16)
70 inch x 144 inch (seats 12 – 16)

Round tables:
36 inch diameter (seats 4)
48 inch diameter (seats 4 – 6)
60 inch diameter (seats 6 – 8)