Space Planning Basics for Dining Rooms

Space planning basics for dining rooms

Ever been to someone’s house and tried to pull out your dining chair, only to have the back legs come off the rug (and maybe go slightly off balance too)? Or worse – ever backed up straight into the wall? I get asked all the time about how to properly configure a dining room, and today I’m answering the top three most frequently asked questions for you. I’m all about spaces that are livable, functional, and stylish, so let’s dig into some space planning basics for dining rooms that everyone should know.

How Much Space do you Need Between Your Table and the Wall?

The first space planning element to consider for dining rooms is the space you need from the edge of your dining table to the nearest wall. You need a safe distance that offers enough clearance for guests to comfortably get in and out of their chairs as well as space for someone to easily pass behind a seated guest.

So what’s the magic number? Drumroll, please – you need at least 36 inches. A minimum of three feet allows sufficient space for both your seated guests and passers-by to relax and enjoy themselves without feeling cramped. So, if you don’t have at least three feet of clearance in your own dining room, I recommend reconfiguring your layout or perhaps downsizing your table (a few of my favorites can be found here).

How Much Space do you Need Between the Edge of Your Table and the Edge of Your Rug?

This next space planning tip is quick and easy. You want at least 24 inches between the edge of your dining table and the outer edge of your rug. Why? You don’t want the back legs of a chair hitting the bare floor when someone gets up from the table. It can throw the chair off balance and no one wants that.

Two things you can do to remedy this – buy a bigger rug, or downsize your table. Either way, you want to size things appropriately, so that you can maximize the design aesthetic as well as the comfort for you and your guests.

Well planned dining space

How High do I Hang my Chandelier?

Just like completing an outfit with the right necklace that complements your neckline, your chandelier completes your dining room but must hang at the right height. So often, I see chandeliers hung way too high and they just look out of place.

So what is the sweet spot? For a standard 8-foot ceiling, you want the bottom of your chandelier to hang 30 to 36 inches above the top of your table. Now, if you have high ceilings – raise the chandelier three inches for every additional foot of ceiling height above eight feet. It’s not an exact science, but you want the chandelier to hang low enough that it still engages with the table and conversation space of the room without obstructing anyone’s view.

And that’s it – three quick and dirty answers to three questions I get asked all the time. So if you’re planning an overhaul or new design, here are the space planning basics for dining rooms. Give yourself three feet from the edge of your table and the nearest wall, two feet from the edge of your table and the edge of your rug, and three feet from the top of your table to the bottom of your chandelier. These measurements are going to be incredibly helpful as you design your space in preparation for the coming holidays.

As always, if I can help you with designing a dining room, please reach out. I would love to help you get your dining space in tip-top shape for the entertaining season.

Space planning basics for dining rooms