The dining room is a central gathering point where friends and family come together to share meals and conversations. It also helps set the scene for memories you’ll make over the years, like holidays and special occasions.
For most families, a large dining room table is perfect for entertaining. Large dining tables are also practical for everyday use. In this guide, we’ll walk you through finding the perfect dining table for your home — along with tips on updating your dining space for the holidays — to ensure you love your purchase for years to come.
4 steps for choosing a large dining room table
From informal family meals to entertaining friends and family, the dining room sets the tone for your home. Even if it’s a part of your living room or kitchen, it’s important to find a nice dining table that fits your space.
At the center of your dining room is the dining table. To make sure you get the perfect table, follow these guidelines for selecting the right size, shape, and style.
1. Measure your space
When shopping for dining room furniture, you’ll need to account for the size of the dining table and dining chairs, plus room around them to allow comfortable movement.
First, grab your measuring tape and take accurate measurements of your dining room. If it’s part of a larger living room or kitchen, measure the available space where the table and chairs will be.
Write down the measurements on a notepad or save them to your phone. You’ll want to have them handy when picking the right table and table seats.
Leave 3-4 feet between the table and walls to account for people moving in and out of the chairs. If you have other dining room furniture in the area, measure between the table and the edge of the furniture instead of the wall.
Calculating maximum measurements
With your measurements, you can map out your maximum table dimensions.
To leave 3 feet (36”) between the edges of your table and the walls, subtract 6 feet (72”) from both the length and width of your room. The remaining dimensions are the maximum length and width of a dining table to allow for comfortable movement.
For example, consider a 12’x14’ (144”x168”) dining room. If you subtract 6 feet (72”) from both dimensions, you get 6’x8’ (72”x96”). You won’t find many 6’x8’ dining tables, but these dimensions will help you eliminate tables that are too big or small.
Remember to consider the size of your table seats before buying and always factor in any other dining room furniture you may have.
2. Choosing the best shape
The shape of your table will help you create the most beautiful and comfortable space. Here are some tips for picking the best table shape.
Since most dining rooms are rectangular, the rectangular dining table is the most common shape. Rectangular tables are excellent for seating arrangements for more than four people, and they often come with a leaf to extend the length.
Square rooms work well with square dining tables and parties of up to eight guests, depending on the table size. A square table with butterfly leaves can become a rectangular table to accommodate more seats if necessary.
Round dining tables are another great option, especially for square rooms and smaller spaces. Round tables can make gatherings feel more intimate and can seat up to eight guests, depending on the table size. For seating additional guests, you might want a round table with an extension leaf to make an oval-shaped large dining room table.
Oval dining tables are similar to rectangular ones, and they’re nearly as popular. The rounded corners take up less space, so oval tables are also great for small or narrow spaces. Many oval tables also come with leaves to extend their capacity.
3. Finding the best size
Keep in mind that you can still get a large dining room table for a smaller space as long as it’s adjustable. Choose one with an extension, like a drop leaf, to accommodate more guests.
Think about how many guests you’d like to host. Each guest needs about 24 inches of room to the sides and 12 inches of room in front of them.
Note that these estimations are for standard-sized chairs and smaller options like bar stools. Guests will need more room with larger table seats.
Below, you’ll find a list outlining how many people you can seat at standard-sized tables:
Round or Square Dining Table Sizes:
- 4 Guests: 4 feet
- 4 Guests: 5 feet
- 8 Guests: 6 feet
- 10-12 Guests: Not common
Rectangle or Oval Dining Table Sizes:
- 4 Guests: 4 feet
- 6 Guests: 6 feet
- 8 Guests: 8 feet
- 10 Guests: 10 feet
- 12 Guests: 12 feet
Using the previous example of 6’x8’ available space in the sample dining room, you could accommodate up to:
- 6’ round dining table
- 8’x3’6” rectangular dining table
- 6’ square dining table
Each of these options allows for eight guests. If you need to entertain more guests, you could try a round or square dining table with an extension leaf in the center.
4. Selecting the right style
Table supports, material, and color also play a role in choosing the ideal dining room table. For example, if your home is decorated in a French Country theme, you might look for a modern farmhouse dining table. If your decor is more mid-century modern, a sleek dining table would be perfect. If your home has a more relaxed aesthetic, you might like a pub table.
Table supports are the base of your table and will impact how much legroom your guests will have. For example, a pedestal base for a square or round table allows for more room than a table with legs. The same is true for a trestle base or double pedestal base for a rectangular or oval table.
Legs on larger dining room tables usually aren’t an issue, but if you’re pressed for space, opt for a trestle base or a pedestal base.
Table materials and color
The material and color of your table should match the color palette and theme of the dining area. Common options include:
Solid wood grains
A solid wood dining table is classic. Wood tables are durable and easy to repair, and you’ll find them in a variety of types and finishes. Solid pine, mango, sheesham, teak, and acacia wood are usually the most affordable choices, although the latter two are more common for outdoor spaces. Mahogany, oak wood, live edge, and other natural wood options tend to be more expensive.
Wood veneer is an affordable alternative to solid wood. A thin layer of wood adheres to plywood or another affordable core, which cuts the cost considerably. Many veneer tables have a wood top with metal legs or wood legs.
Stone and faux stone
Stone tables include quartz composite, marble, granite, or cast stone, among others. Stone can be easy to chip, crack, or stain, and is quite heavy. Faux stone offers a more durable, lighter option with a similar look and lower price point.
A glass top table may come with metal legs or a metal base. They can be tinted, clear, or frosted, and they’re relatively affordable. Glass tables create a sense of openness. They can also chip, scratch, or crack due to accidents, so you may have to replace the top at some point.
Metal tables are durable and commonly made from stainless steel, zinc, or brass. They are often shiny, smooth, but they can require special cleaning tools.
Man-made materials like laminate can be molded into a shape or fixed to a plywood core like veneer. In most situations, they’re durable, easy to care for, and affordable.
With most of the above options, you’ll have a choice in color finishes. Popular options might include:
- White finish
- Espresso or brown finish
- Black finish
- Cherry finish
- Naturally stained wood
- Unstained wood
Consider an extendable dining table
If you host large formal dining get-togethers, an extendable dining table could be perfect. These tables feature extensions — usually drop leaf, extension leaf, or butterfly leaf — that allow you to make them longer.
The length of the table fully extended will need to fit in the dining room, so double-check your measurements for this option.
Updating your dining room table for the holidays
Your dining table will likely get more use during the holidays than at any other time of the year. A few simple updates can make your space feel cozy, festive, and inviting for holiday guests. We’ve highlighted some great ways to update your dining room table for the holidays below.
Tablecloths and runners
Themed tablecloths and runners make it easy (and affordable) to change your dining table for each holiday. You can use one or the other, or both, depending on your preferences.
Seasonal or colorful rugs are excellent for holiday decorating. Pick a rug that is big enough to fit underneath the table with all of the chairs occupied. If the rug is too small, your dining room furniture may tilt off the edge or get caught under a chair when guests scoot back.
Holiday accents and centerpieces
Place a few festive accents throughout your dining space and consider a holiday centerpiece to complete the look. Accent ideas might include a rustic chandelier, holiday decorations, or scented candles. Homemade options are fun, too.
Most centerpieces should be large enough to command attention, but small enough so they aren’t a distraction.
5 dining room tables you’ll love
Now that you’ve considered what goes into picking the perfect table for your next dinner party, you’re ready to buy. Consider a table set that comes with chairs for a complete overhaul. Below are some of our bestsellers for your convenience.
1. Calandra 7-Piece Dining Set With Extension Leaf
This bestselling wood dining table offers plenty of rustic charm with its sturdy mahogany wood frame and notch-like accents. Perfect for seating six guests, this table features two 18” extension leaves to enlarge the dining surface for larger gatherings.
2. Greenwich Round Dining Table Natural Walnut and Espresso
This round dining table features a beautiful dark brown finish and a stunning geometric base. Crafted from Asian hardwood and wood veneer, this durable piece can accommodate up to six guests.
3. Bellance Dining Table With Metal Legs Walnut and Black
This mid-century modern table features sleek metal legs and a deep walnut finish. Perfect for doubling as both a dining table and a kitchen table, the spacious surface can easily accommodate six dining chairs.
4. Lavon Dining Table With Storage Espresso
This Lavon Collection table offers a modern oval shape with clean lines, an 18″ extension lead, and a warm espresso finish. The table base has a closed storage unit to keep the tabletop free of clutter.
5. Beaufort Rectangle Glass Top Dining Table Chrome
This elegant dining room table is topped with tempered 12mm thick glass, providing strength and durability that will make any room a bit more upscale for the holidays. The stainless steel base adds a sleek, angular design that provides ample space for entertaining guests.
Get ready to gather at the table
Your large dining room table is where your family will share holiday memories and special occasions, so it’s important to select the right shape, style, color, and size. But what’s most important is choosing a table that you’ll love for years to come. Enjoy the process of picking the perfect fit as you browse Coaster Furniture’s wide selection of dining tables.
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