How Much Space Do You Need Around a Dining Table for Chairs?

Updated April 22, 2024

At James+James, we’ve been handcrafting and hand-finishing beautiful dining furniture for years! We are often asked, “How much space do I need for chairs around a table?” and “How do I know how many chairs I need?”. We’re here to help.

Maximizing Your Dining Space

When it comes to furnishing your home, understanding how much space around the dining table is needed is key to creating a comfortable and inviting dining area. Whether it's a cozy meal for two or a large gathering of friends and family, the right dining room table size and placement can transform your dining room into a welcoming hub.

The number of chairs you need around your table can be figured out in multiple ways. Two tables that are the exact same length and width may be able to accommodate different numbers of people based on the design of the table. For example, a table with four legs may be able to accommodate a different number of chairs than a table with a trestle or pedestal base.

Rule of Thumb

The general rule of thumb is to allow 24 inches of space for every person gathered around your table.

Choosing the Right Table Size and Shape for Your Dining Room

For Round Dining Tables: Round tables are perfect for promoting conversation and can fit in both small and large rooms.

The Versatility of Square Tables: Ideal for small spaces or square dining room setups, square tables offer a unique aesthetic that can complement any home.

The Elegance of Rectangular Dining Tables: A rectangular table is a classic choice that works well in most dining rooms. For these tables, consider both length and table width to ensure comfortable seating capacity.

The Charm of Oval Tables: An oval dining table combines the best features of round and rectangular tables, offering a unique shape that can provide more seating in a narrower space.

Ensuring Comfortable Seating

When selecting chairs, remember that the dining chair width can affect both aesthetic appeal and dining table dimension requirements. For comfortable seating, allow


Most side chairs range between 16” wide and 24” wide, with armchairs being as wide as 30”. If your chairs are 24” wide or wider, add an additional 6” to the total width of your chair for the comfort of your guest. If space is limited and you know you need to seat a certain number of people at your table, consider using side chairs all the way around your table or only use armchairs as host and hostess chairs at the heads of the table.

General Seating Guide

Rectangular or Oval Table Comfortably Seats:
6' L Table (72" Long) 6
8' L Table (96" Long) 8
10' L Table (120" Long) 10
Rectangular or Oval Table Comfortably Seats:
36" - 48" (Diameter) 4
54" (Diameter) 5-6
60" (Diameter) 6-8

Measure your dining chair at the widest point. For some chairs, this is the seat and for other chairs, the widest point is the back.

If you’re trying to maximize seating, consider using a dining bench in place of chairs on one or both sides of your table. You can usually seat more people on a bench than the number of chairs you can fit along one side of your table, and dining benches can be tucked under the table when not in use, freeing up valuable space in your dining area.

Most chairs have a seat height between 17” and 20”, and most standard dining tables are approx. 30” tall, so try and allow for between 10” and 12” of clearance between your chair seat and your tabletop. If your table has an apron, try to allow for approx. 7” of space between the seat of your chair and the apron. If you know a lot of tall people will be gathered around your table, consider a table without an apron so everyone has more legroom!

Our Heirloom Pedestal Table does not feature an apron. 

You want to have around 3’ of space on all four sides of your table so your chairs can be moved in and out easily and people can walk around the table and chairs comfortable when it is filled with friends! A tip that helps hundreds of James+James customers every year - use masking tape or butcher paper to “draw” out a table sized space on your floor. If you’re visual, this can be really helpful!

Additional Considerations

Room and Table Height: The dining table height should work harmoniously with the room dimensions and furniture to create a balanced look. Standard table height is around 30 inches, with chair seat heights typically ranging from 17 to 19 inches.

Adjustable and Extendable Options: For versatile dining room furniture, consider an expandable dining table. These tables can adapt to different seating capacities, making them perfect for those who love hosting.

Decor and Accessories: Enhance your dining space with accessories like table lamps or a ceiling fan above your dining table to improve lighting and air circulation. This can also add to the overall ambiance of your dining area.

Final Thoughts

Creating the perfect dining space is about more than just aesthetics; it's about functionality, comfort, and making the most of your available space. At James+James, we're committed to helping you find the perfect pieces to fit your lifestyle and home decor needs. Let's get started on transforming your home into a haven for memorable meals and gatherings.

Still have questions? Our team would love to help. Just shoot your questions to and one of our design consultants will get back to you quickly. Give us a call at 479-633-7557 or leave us a comment below!

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