How to Choose the Perfect Dining Room Table for Your Family

Image of a Barnwood dinner table.

Memories are made around the dining room table. The warmth of family holiday meals shines there, as lovingly crafted sustenance is passed between loved ones. While the dining table may not be the most frequently used piece of furniture in a home, it figures large in the family’s experience. If you’re looking to outfit your home with a beautiful, sturdy, long-lasting dining table, you can’t go wrong with Amish furniture. Here’s how to negotiate the dining room table selection process.

Selecting Amish Dining Room Tables: Steps to Take

1. Consider How You’ll Use the Table

Will this table be the primary dining area for your family? Or will it star only in special occasions? Will the table serve multiple purposes, such as a space to do bills and homework as well as serve meals? The more time you spend thinking about how you’ll use your dining room table, the better equipped you’ll be to select the right option for your needs. For example, if your main goal is to create a large dining space where visiting family and friends can join you for holiday dinners, a more formal table with insertable leaves will serve you well. Our rectangular Hartford table would be a good choice for flexible seating; it accepts up to nine 18-inch leaves as well as two additional center bases.

2. Measure your Dining Room

Fetch your measuring tape out and get down to the nitty-gritty details for your dining space. Create a sketch that you can take with you when shopping for handcrafted wood furniture. In your rough drawing, include the dimensions of the room, as well as any existing furniture and its measurements. The act of making the sketch is useful in its own right—it will help you envision how the space should look with the new table.

As you sketch and dream, think about which wood and stain options will flatter the surrounding décor. Many of our tables are available in various lumbers and stains. For instance, our early-Americana style Barnwood table is available in Oak, Quarter-Sawn White Oak, Rustic Cherry, and Brown Maple.

3. Compare Dining Space to Tabletop and Chair Measurements

Your sketch will come in handy for scoping out individual tables. In general, you should leave 36-48”of open space on all sides of the table. Consider 36” a hard minimum—leaving 42-48” of space is even better. This will create enough room for diners to push out their chairs and circulate. Measure the space with this in mind, accounting for walls and furniture. If your dining room is small, consider placing a banquette on one side of the table, against the wall. This will eliminate seating on that side, but it will maximize storage use while preserving open space in the room. A circular dining table can also work well in a smaller space.

As a minimum, dining tables should be 36” wide to allow enough space for food and place settings. Table width tends to increase along with length; longer tables also tend to be wider. For comfortable dining, it is recommended to preserve two feet of dining space per person, so no one is forced to touch elbows. Here’s a general estimate of how many people may sit around round tables of various sizes:

Seating Availability for Round Tables

Table DiameterSupport StyleNumber of Diners
3’Pedestal Base4 people
4’Legs4 people
5’Pedestal Base6 people
5’Legs4 people
6’Pedestal Base/Legs8-10 people
7’Pedestal Base/Legs10-12 people

In general, rectangular tables work best for large groups of diners, as large round tables can make it difficult to reach serving dishes. If you must have a large round table, add a lazy susan in the middle to facilitate easy food access. Our 7’ diameter round Birmingham table features a built-in lazy susan to serve the ten to twelve people seated around its rich cherry surface.   Rectangular tables are also well suited to long, narrow spaces. If you’re really pinched for room, choose a rectangular table with a bench on one side—you can tuck the bench under the table when not in use. Here’s a reference chart for how many people can sit at rectangular tables of different sizes:

Table LengthNumber of Diners
4’4 people
5-6’6 people
7’8 people
8-9’10 people
10-11’12 people

To envision how a table would fit in the room, try this designer’s tip: Get a spare bed sheet and fold it into the size of the table. This will allow you to walk around and measure the space while seeing how the table would fit.

When shopping for tables, consider how table features will restrict space availability. Mission style Amish dining room tables may feature trestle legs that will limit how many people can sit on each side. For example, Gish’s Buckeye table has a thick base that may limit legroom if too many people are seated around it. Pedestal dining tables generally leave the most room for chairs and legs; however, they may not accept leaves. Our Chateau pedestal dining table is just under five feet wide, so it can comfortably accommodate six diners. Guests will admire this table’s distinctive sun-bleached cherry dining surface. For a rectangular pedestal option, check out our Madison double pedestal table. It is available in various woods and sizes.

4. Select a Table Shape

Your dining room sketch probably brought up preferences for table shape. Would a circular table fit better in your space? Or would a rectangular table better compliment the room? Typically, the shape of the table should mirror the shape of the room—a square table in a square room, a circular table in a circular room, and so forth. Circular tables are wonderful for seating flexibility. Square and circular tables both create an intimacy, as the diners are all equidistant from the center. Our Santa Rosa square table fits well in a smaller space; or, to accept visitors, leaves can be added to make the table up to 48” wide and 72” long. Rectangular dining room tables have a more classic feel, and they can easily fit more diners with the insertion of leaves. Oval tables offer a middle-ground; many accept leaves, and yet they also boast the corner-free softness of circular tables.

Finally, we encourage you to shop around. Visit our Amish furniture stores. Have a seat at our dining room tables. Feel their tabletops. Take some pictures. Seeing your options in person can help you find the perfect table for your family.

by amishlegacies

4 thoughts on “How to Choose the Perfect Dining Room Table for Your Family

  1. John Carston says:

    I like the simplicity and functionality of Amish dining room tables. I’ll have to take your advice into account when selecting the right table by measuring the available space, comparing tabletop and dining space, and selecting the right table shape, like you recommend. Thanks for the helpful furniture advice.

  2. Nathan Johnson says:

    Thanks for going over these different considerations when buying a dining table. My current table is old and starting to fall apart, so I think it might be time to just replace it. It is good to know how many people and sit at different sized tables. That will make shopping for a table a lot easier. Thanks for sharing!

  3. judy wilson says:

    My dining room is pretty small, so I’ve been having trouble finding a table that will fit. Your tip for finding the right size by using a spare bed sheet will be useful to know. Folding the sheet into the size of the table and measuring the space in my dining room would be a great way to give me an idea of what will fit. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Annie Frances says:

    I like your tip to compare the dining space to tabletop measurements. I actually want to buy new table legs for my dining table. I think it would fit more people around the table because the legs would be thinner. Thanks for the help!

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