• Elisha Rickward

How to select a new dining table

It’s not often we have the opportunity to change out big ticket items for our home – so it’s important to get it right. So if you happen to be in the market for a new dining table – keep reading as I explore the things to consider (and no its not all about aesthetics but hey that always helps!).

1) The Shape of the room

Often the room that houses our dining table – be it a dedicated dining room, a nook off the kitchen, a space within the living area or perhaps a table contained within the kitchen itself – will dictate the size and shape of our dining table.

As most rooms are rectangular in nature it’s not all that surprising that rectangular tables are the most popular dining table choice – largely because they fill the space most effectively.

A rectangular table is generally a good shape to accommodate larger groups of people (particularly if comes with an extra leaf for extending the length when unexpected friends drop by) – however bear in mind that a rectangular table for 6 or 8 is likely to result in several different conversations going on at once.

Image credit: Elle Decoration (Sweden) via Pinterest

Rectangular rooms also suit oval dining tables well. Oval dining tables often a similar length to rectangular tables (and thus suitability for large groups) but visually seem to occupy less space than their rectangular counterpart due their rounded corners. This is great if you want something that looks a bit lighter, or you have a slightly narrower room but remember it also means that it has less surface area if you like to serve up a feast with multiple plates and courses.

Image Credit: Richard Stanisch via Est Living

For square rooms (or dual duty rooms) consider investing in a round pedestal table as they are easier to walk around and take up less space. Also round tables have the advantage of making it easier to converse as a group (great if you happen to really like the people that are joining you at the dining table but not so ideal when your cousin’s opinionated husband comes to lunch).

Image Credit: via Pinterest

When space is at a premium – consider creating a dining nook in a corner with banquette seating running along 1 if not 2 sides – this enables you to have the table sort of ‘pushed’ to one side of the room. The banquette then gives you the chance to play with cushioned seating which brings colour and pattern to the room if you choose it or if a more muted scheme is your thing – a linen look fabric (though if your diners are messy – hello vegemite fingers – I would encourage you to look at wash n wear fabrics – I particularly love outdoor fabrics for this purpose – the feel and look of them has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years and they can be wiped down and laundered with relative ease).

On the remaining table sides you can then choose to style with regular chairs (or if the room is really narrow) a bench seat that gets pushed under the table.

Image credit: via Pinterest

2) Selecting the right size dining table for your space

Regardless of the shape of your dining table ideally you would like to have at least 1 meter clearance from all of the walls (or other pieces of furniture in the room – a sideboard or bar cart perhaps?). This clearance allows the dinner guests ample room to pull out their chairs and also for people to be able to walk around the guests on their way to and from the kitchen, the powder room or just for reluctant teens arriving late from their favourite Netflix show. If you don’t have a meter to spare you could push it to 90 cm (it will be a bit tight but doable) but any less you need to look for a narrower or shorter table.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Ideally rectangular tables should be between 90 and 110 cms wide – the size of the room comes into play here ideally – wider table for larger room and vice versa.

Any narrower than 90 cm and you might find it hard to accommodate all the necessary place sittings and food on the table. Any wider and it might become difficult to hear (and if your eyesight is sadly on the decline like mine seems to be) see the person opposite you – of course this can have distinct possibilities if you don’t actually enjoy the company (or look!) of the people you are dining with.

Allow approximately 60 to 62 cm per person at a rectangular table for comfortable elbow room (and just general feelings of spaciousness) but of course you can sequeeze in more chairs when you are entertaining.

The size of round tables will depend on the size of the room and how many diners, (or stay-at-home workers – hello 2021 we see you) are to be regularly accommodated.

A round table with a diameter of 107 – 122 seats 4 people. A table measuring 152 cm round seats 6 to 8. Beyond this size start thinking of a lazy susan or lots of plate passing!

Of course the fun in selecting a dining table is perhaps not the dining table but the chairs themselves..... there in lies another story.

In the meantime if you have any decorating dilemmas that you would like help with let me know.

Elisha x

This blog post forms part of our website services and is subject to our legal notices accessible at