It’s no secret - the dining room is one of the central places of any home.

Not only is it a common area to gather while eating, but dining rooms also play a role in the style and feel of a home.

In properly laying out your dining room, there are a lot of questions to be answered:

  • What style table should I get?
  • How big should the table be?
  • Which shape is the best?
  • What about dining room decor?

These and many more questions might feel overwhelming, but don’t worry, we are here to help!

In this article, we tackle some of the most common dining room furniture questions we regularly receive, as well as a handful of other tips to help you create your ideal dining room.

Are you ready to learn a few tips in designing your dining room and choosing the right dining room furniture?

Alright, let’s get started!

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Dining Room Table Top Shapes & Bases

Which Dining Room Table Shape Is Best?

While there are several main shapes available for dining room tables, choosing the right shape depends on your goals.  

A quick note on square/rectangular tables:  If your table comes with additional leaves and can be extended, then you can turn a square table into a rectangular table by adding the leaves.

Here are some of the biggest advantages for the different table top shapes.  

Square or Rectangular Tables:

  • The most popular shape
  • Best for functions other than eating such as homework, playing games, puzzles, etc.
  • Usually the best fit for a room

Round Tables:

  • Best for conversations 
  • Typically seats more people when using a pedestal base
  • Best for square rooms or tight spaces
best applications

What Style Base Should I Get - Pedestal, Leg, or Trestle?

Similar to the table top shape, each table base brings its unique style and strengths.


  • The most classic style
  • Provides plenty of legroom 


  • Provides the most legroom 
  • Ideal for round tables


  • Legroom can become an issue because of the design
  • Brings a sense of dignity and grandeur to a dining room
  • Makes the dining room table a statement piece
Dining Room Dimensions

How Much Room Do I Need Per Chair?

The ideal space needed for each chair is about 2’.  

On rectangular or square tables, a quick rule-of-thumb is that the length of the table is the number of people it comfortably seats.  For example, a 6’ table seats six people, an 8’ table seats eight people, etc.

How Do I Properly Space the Chairs Around My Table?

A general rule of thumb for chair height is having the chair at least 3” above the table’s top. We recommend at least 5” in most situations.

Most chair seats are between 17-18” high. Most tables are between 29 ½ and 30 1/2“ high. Be mindful of table aprons if you want to use arm chairs. If you want to cross your legs at the table be sure there is enough clearance.

As far as spacing around the table, a good chair spacing is 24” between the center points of two adjacent chairs.

How Wide Should My Dining Room Table Be?

The recommended minimum size for a dining room table is 40”.  If your table is narrower than this, it makes proper place setting difficult.

On the flip side, if you have a dining room with plenty of space, you don’t want your table to be wider than 54-60”.  If you go wider than this, it becomes difficult to talk and hear others around the table.


What If I Have A Dining Room Rug?

Dining room rugs bring a lot of style and color to a dining room, but if not sized properly, they distract from your dining room instead of complementing it.

When buying a rug, make sure it extends a minimum of 36” on all sides of the table.  This allows chairs to rest on the rug - even when they are pulled out.

Where Should Lighting Fixtures Be Placed?

Choosing the proper overhead lighting fixture and placing it properly adds a lot of beauty to a dining room.

Generally, you want to keep the light 60-66” inches from the top of the table.  

While some hanging light fixtures are adjustable in height, you should measure your ceiling height to make sure the light fits your available space.

Dining Room Layout Tips & Tricks

How Do I Keep My Dining Room from Feeling Like a Conference Room?

No one wants a dining room that feels more like a business conference room than a home!

To help prevent this, bring in other decorations to your dining room besides your table and chairs.  Look for ways to include hutches, sideboards, wine cabinets, and even bookcases.


What Type of Dining Room Lighting Fixtures Are Ideal?

The typical dining room lighting is often a recessed light or something similar, but complementing this standard lighting with other lighting fixtures adds style and aesthetics to your dining room.

Popular lighting fixtures include pendant lights, chandeliers, and sconces.  

Each of these comes in a wide range of colors, styles, and other decorative elements.

What Are Ideas for Centerpiece and Wall Decorations?

You don’t want your dining room to be too cluttered or busy with home decor, but adding thoughtful pieces adds to your dining room’s beauty.

To decorate walls add artwork, photographs, or decorative shelving.  

For centerpiece ideas, having candles or a tasteful bouquet adds simple beauty.

For more ideas on decorating the walls or centerpieces, an online search provides many tasteful and beautiful ideas!


How Do I Design a Dining Room That Is Used For More Than Just Eating?

While the dining room is a central eating place, it can become neglected and underused for other purposes.

Dining room tables are great places to play games, do artwork, work on puzzles, and many other family activities.

If your dining room is large enough, add smaller elements and pieces of furniture to encourage more use.  For example, adding a small bookcase and stuffed chair to a corner of the dining room encourages a cozy reading nook.


No matter the size of your dining room or your goals, you have a lot of freedom in choosing your dining room furniture and creating your perfect layout!

One of the keys to setting up your dining room is having quality furniture that lasts a lifetime.  At The Amish Craftsman, we provide handmade Amish built furniture to Houston, TX, and the surrounding areas.

If you want to see what is possible when you choose quality handcrafted furniture for your dining room, then contact us today or visit our store!

Want To Learn More About Style & Furniture?
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