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Check my math please

1464 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MrRon
I am wanting to make a table that will seat 8. My wife's family congregates at our house most holidays and our table is too small.

From my reading need 24 inches per person. With this in mind I should be able to pull this off with an 8 foot table length right? But I am confused about figuring head and foot seating. I want seating at the head and foot of the table with seating for 3 people on each side. Do each of these sitters on the end need 2 feet added? So my 8 foot measurement is now changed to a 10 foot measurement?

From my reading I should be looking at a width of 30-36 inches. Is this right?
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Math is constant and perfect. Therefore, your math should be perfect. In perfect world.
Look at furniture stores, or furniture sites on-line.
See what length most companies call an 8 person table.
Hint: It's not 10 ft.
OK, some general table size observations which you may wish to observe:

- assume 1 person at each end in every case - they will be sitting comfortably
- below guide is for non-obese adult humans from Earth
- 8'+ table = 8 people sitting generously evenly spaced along the lengths
- 7.5' table = 8 people sitting comfortably evenly spaced along the lengths
- 7' table = 8 people sitting cozily evenly spaced along the lengths
- 6.5' table = 8 people sitting tightly evenly spaced along the lengths

The idea of 24" for each person sitting at each head/foot of the table is irrelevant. If you do not make your table more than 32"-33" wide, you will not have appropriate room to place food platters/pots, flowers, a candelabra, centerpiece or what-have-you in the middle of the table between plate settings. At 36" wide, 2 people sitting at an end of a table will be cozy-tight.

Hope that helps.
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So if I want to have room for the serving dishes etc., then I should be looking at like 40 inches wide?

I have looked at web sites and the the only furniture store in town does not have rectangular tables. I guess oval and square are in.

As for internet searching I have seen lengths from 88 inches to 98 inches, and widths from 36 inches to 45 inches. I realize there is no set rule but a good rule of thumb is a dandy place to start.
If you can get a copy from your local library, FWW did a book with a compilation of articles from their mag. I think it was "somethin somethin something Tables & Chairs." It had a good chapter on table dimensions complete with diagrams showing height, knee-room, width, ovals, rectangles, etc. If you can't find that, I binged it (me and google aren't talking at the moment) and it looks like issue 177 regurgitated some of the info so you might be able to find that article.
40 inches width, would be below the recommended minimum of 44" for 6-8 seats. I have a 40" (but its not 8 feet long, its designed for 4-6 people) and space is tight for serving dishes. 48" width would be better. 54", ideal in my opinion. That is , for a formal dining table to accommodate holiday company and meals. (with a server,ha)

Just keep in mind, at 54" width, guests may not be able to pass dishes across without getting up from their
chairs ! So 48" is the recommended maximum width.

dining table standards
24" per chair is a good rule of thumb. If you want to seat two people per side, for instance with the leaves removed, you would set the inside edge of the table legs 48" apart at minimum.

I also look at what style of table it is. A basic table with 4 legs at the corners is easy to seat one at each end. A table with a solid end assembly needs an overhang to accommodate end seating. I like to have a minimum of 12" overhang in that case.

This one has 48" between the legs. It seats 6 without the leaves, and seats 10 with the two 12" leaves installed. It uses equalizer slides and extends to 102".
Table Furniture Property Wood Rectangle

Table Furniture Property Chair Wood

This is a fixed table that will seat 6. 6'-8" x 42"
Table Furniture Desk Outdoor furniture Wood

Both of these tables have solid end assemblies, so the overhand needs to be considered.


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Hope this helps… my table has comfortable seating for six, 4 along the sides and one on either end. There is 51 inches BETWEEN THE LEGS. How else are you going to start sizing your table? Likewise, at either end there is 27 inches BETWEEN THE LEGS. The width is 40 on the top, but you must have legroom. If you are doing a trestle table, the "legs" won't be in the way as much ( I would think). In other words, your original thinking is on track, 24 inches per person BTL, and add 3 inches per side BTL. The top can be larger or smaller, depending on the location of the legs.
Realistic table widths to accommodate serving dishes in between plate settings:

- 32"-36" wide table - good for small home/condo size
- wider than 36" - better, and good for more spacious dining/rooms
- go even wider for big, obese people or flamboyant vampires

And yes, trestles and leg positions are key considerations also as nailbanger2 and pintodeluxe have noted admirably.

Also consider if a future wheelchair person might sit at the table - ensure width and table apron height are reasonable.
8' x 36" would appear to be the ideal size. The 36" width would accomodate 2 extra people in a pinch. As far as wheel chair access, I would not bother with that unless it would be in daily use by someone ambulatory. If only for a few times, like at Thanksgiving and Christmas, you would have to live the rest of the year with a table that is not entirely suitable for your use. If ambulatory use would be required, access can be built into one end of the table, while retaining a normal seating arrangement. You should also provide adequate space between the table and walls or other furniture. 36" would be adequate.
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