If you’re heading out to shop for a new dining set, a little homework ahead of time will keep you from making a costly mistake.  Though finding a style you like is important, making sure it will fit and function comfortably in your space is even more important.  While there are several factors to consider when selecting a dining table, there is one in particular that you absolutely need to consider, and I’ve found it can often be overlooked by the sales people in your local showrooms.

The showroom can help you determine the size of dining table you would like, based on the number of people you’d like to seat (though there are charts with this information readily available on the internet).  That said, what we’d really like to have vs. what will actually function well in the space, might be too different things.

  • Clearance & Push-Back ~ It goes without saying that you’ll need to measure the space where your dining set will be used, but once the set is in place, it’s important to have a comfortable clearance around the table for walking.  When laying out furniture arrangements for any room, I always allow 36″ of clearance for a comfortable traffic pattern.  So, consider how wide your table will be (with chairs), and how much room you’ll have between other pieces of furniture and the walls.  “Push-back” is the area beyond the edge of the table, which allows a person to move their seat for entering and exiting.  The standard push-back allowance is about 24-30″, and while you can steal a bit from your 36″ clearance area, consider that people may need to pass behind those that are seated, and how tight of a squeeze you want that to be.
  • Area Rugs ~ When placing an area rug under a dining table, there are two important considerations.  One:  The rug needs to be a minimum of 2′ wider and longer than your table.  This will allow for your push-back while keeping the back legs of the chair on the rug.  If you’ve ever tried to scoot your chair up to a table and have the rear legs get caught on the edge of the rug, you know what I’m talking about!  Two:  Once you have the rug size determined, make sure the edges won’t be positioned directly in the center of your clearance area so that when people pass by the table, they’re walking completely off of the rug.  Having the edge of a rug running straight down the aisle can be a tripping hazard, so when using area rugs in any room layout, make sure the edges and corners are properly fitted to your space and traffic patterns.  The photo* here is a perfect example of a properly fitted area rug, both for the size of the dining set as well as the room.

I hope you’ve found these dining room tips helpful!  Planning the layout of your rooms can be challenging, especially with today’s over-sized furniture.  If you’re in need of a little help, my Designer Download® is a great way to get you the ideas, information and resources you need to complete your projects.  I come armed with a tape measure and sketch pad, and will leave you knowing exactly what to shop for!

Design should be fun, not stressful!

~ Kathy

*Photo attribution to Casey Dunn Photography