It’s no question that the dining room of a home is a gathering place. An extension of the heart, a dining room is filled with love, family ties, and good eats. Whether it be a formal space used only for parties and holidays or a casual breakfast nook with daily use, follow these simple tips for the most perfect, welcoming space. After all, shouldn’t the dining room be as comfortable and relaxing as the rest of home?
Table Size and Chairs
There is nothing worse than sitting at a table trying to eat dinner when you have no room to move, let alone reach for your water. Imagine the situation for the left handed people in your presence – even more awkward. Thus, correct table size and spacing between chairs is critical to the entire feel of the room. The table should be large enough that each guest has at least 24” of individual space. Thus, a 36” round table should be accompanied by four chairs at most. An 8’ rectangular table should have four on each side and one on each end for a maximum of 10 seats.
A standard dining room table height is about 30” and a standard dining room chair height is about 18” from the floor to the seat. Should you have a table that is of different dimensions, ensure you chairs follow the same rule of thumb. Best case is that there is 12” space between the top of the seat and the table top bottom giving your guests enough room to move their legs and place their napkins.
Dining room tables shouldn’t overcrowd the space; rather, fit perfectly in it. Aim to place the table in the center of the room ideally 36” inches from all the walls and/or other furniture pieces. If the recommended 36” just won’t work, plan for a minimum of 24” inches completely around the table. This will allow enough room for people to pull chairs out with ease as well as to walk around the tabletop to get in and out of the room.
Add some warmth into your space with a dining room rug for under the table. Not only will it make the room feel more comfortable, it will help buffer sound for quieter dinner conversation. Ideally, a rug should measure to be 36” wider then all sides of the table so that when chairs are pulled out, they are still on the rug. In a large room, choose an area rug that spans to 6-8” shy of all the walls. This placement will fill a space and make it more appealing to the eye.
The best lighting in a dining room is one that comes naturally. Take advantage of windows close to the space for a more comfortable and natural look. For the evenings, chandeliers and other pendant lighting options will make the room feel more intimate for your dinner conversation. Center the fixture(s) 24” to 36” above the table. To modernize the room, place the fixture(s) closer to the table top (closer to the 24” mark). For a more traditional look, hang the piece(s) 36” from the table top. Whatever distance from the table you choose, ensure that when sitting, the lighting fixture(s) does not block the view across the table to the other side. We particularly love when the lighting fixtures are closer to the 36” mark as they help draw the eye up – especially in rooms with expansive ceilings.