How much space is needed around a dining table?

Written by kate moore
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How much space is needed around a dining table?
Plan ahead when designing your dining room if your family will expand in the future. (Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Dining rooms bring family and friends together to share meals and happy memories. No matter what size your room is, the table and chairs need to fit comfortably in the space. You should plan ahead when designing a room or purchasing furniture to provide adequate room to share and celebrate.

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Room for Movement

Adequate clearances should be provided around the dining table to allow for efficient and comfortable use of the room. When a pathway is needed behind someone seated at the table, there should be 36 to 54 inches between the table edge and furniture or wall behind. If no path is needed and a person only needs to pull out a chair far enough to sit down, plan for 24 inches.

Other Furniture

Display and storage cabinets are often needed in dining rooms to protect dishes and keep table linens. When these pieces are included in the room, confirm that all doors and drawers can easily open and that pieces are completely accessible. To allow access while someone is seated at the table, allow 48 inches between the cabinet or sideboard and the table edge.


An easy way to make sure the table and chairs you have or plan to purchase will fit in the room is to measure the table and lay tape down on the floor to mark the size. Walk around the "table" and check the distances between the edge and the wall or any furniture to confirm there will be adequate space for circulation.

Special Considerations

If you entertain large groups only once or twice a year, consider a table with a leaf or an extension that folds inside. If your home has an open floor plan, your dining room can overflow into the next room, such as the living room, for extra space when needed. To accommodate someone in a wheelchair, 54 inches is needed between the table edge and wall or other furniture for clearance behind someone seated at the table.

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