Working for Bellacor made me realize how much there is to consider when buying furnishings for your dining room. Not only do you have to worry about budget, color, and personal taste, you also have to consider size.
Figuring out the best size table and the perfectly proportioned fixture for your needs can be confusing. Here are the tips I use to direct people to their best pieces.
Sizing Your Dining Table
The table is the heart of the dining room. Whether you use your dining room for every meal, or only special occasions, the following tips will help you choose the most functional table for any space.
1. Make sure you have a clearance of 42”- 48” around your table. This will allow enough room for seating as well as traffic flow.
• If you have a small dining room, consider using a round table. Not only does this
maximize your small space, but it also allows for a more intimate dining experience.
• Consider choosing a square table if you have a square room. This will give more
symmetry to your space and create a more put-together look.
2. Determine how many place settings you need. Each person will need about 24” of space.
• A rectangular table has as many place settings as it does feet. A 6’ table will sit 6 people, an 8’ table will sit 8 people, and so on.
• A round table’s place settings depend on what kind of base it has. A round table with a pedestal base has 1 more place setting than feet, and a table with legs has 1 less place setting than feet. For example, a 5’ pedestal table seats 6 while a 5’ table with legs seats 4.
3. Don’t forget about seat height! Look for chairs with a 16” seat height for a table that is 27” high. For tables between 28” and 30” high, use chairs with an 18” seat height.
• Don’t worry if you and your family are very tall or on the shorter side, these are just general tips. Play around with seat height until you find the one most comfortable for you!
Photo credit: Holiday Home Times
Sizing Your Light Fixture
Now that you’ve picked out your table, let’s move on to finding the perfect overhead lighting for you. While sizing your fixture might seem overwhelming at first, here are some tips you will find illuminating.
1. The width of your chandelier should be three-quarters to one-half as wide as your dining table. Ideally, your fixture should be about twelve inches narrower than your table to prevent your more accident-prone guests from bumping their heads.
• If you have a long, rectangular table, consider using an island pendant instead of a traditional chandelier. A longer fixture will draw your eye down the length of the table.
• Try using pendants installed on an adjustable track if you have a dining table with a leaf. This lets your lighting expand as your table does.
• For those of you choosing lighting before your furniture, just add the length and width of your room together to determine the best width for your chandelier. A 10’x10’ room would have a chandelier 20” in width.
2. Your lighting should hang between 30”- 32” above your table. If you have a ceiling more than 8’ high, add three inches for every additional foot. For example, if you have 12’ ceilings, hang your fixture between 42”- 44” from the table.
• Low hanging lighting over a table creates intimacy while high hanging lighting creates formality. Feel free to play around with your hanging height to best fit your style, but make sure to allow enough room to comfortably enjoy your food.
• Adding tall chandelier shades can help put your chandelier in proportion with high ceilings. Try using 12” chandelier shades for high ceilings.
3. Remember to consider the visual weight of your fixture. The shape and design of your chandelier has a big effect on your vertical space.
• Sleek, light fixtures look bigger and will help fill up dining rooms with high ceilings.
• Remember that traditional style chandeliers may look smaller in spaces because of their detailed design.
Now that you know how to size up when it comes to the dryer side of design, you can focus on the fun things like color and style!
About Jessica Olson
Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.