What Height Should Your Dining Table Be? Everything You Need to Know

What Height Should Your Dining Table Be? Everything You Need to Know
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The dining room isn’t one that has a lot of everyday usage. Chances are, your dining set is only used around the holidays or special occasions. Maybe you don’t eat in there anymore at all, and you’ve converted it to a second home office instead.

Even if your dining room is only getting action every few months (or you’ve ditched the 'dining' part entirely), it’s still important to have a room that’s comfortable and functional. And, of course, the centerpiece of the entire dining room experience revolves around the table.

Dining table height can make or break the room and the experience of your guests. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the right dining table so that you can create an inviting and comfortable dining space in your home.

Meet the experts

To create this guide we consulted with furniture and interior design experts:

What height is a dining room table?

The standard height of a dining room table is 28-32 inches or 71-81 centimeters.

There’s a key reason that there is such a defined average for dining table height, and that’s comfort. These standard measurements enable people to sit the most ergonomically. And while not every person sitting at your dining table will be looking for maximum working efficiency, this still allows for the most comfortable sitting positions (with the right size chairs, of course). This height range can also work wonderfully for a kitchen table and is known as the standard size dining table.

Carlisle Dining Table
The Carlisle Dining Table has a 30" height

At a standard dining table height, dining chairs come in a height range of 18-23 inches. "Keep in mind that if you are purchasing chairs with arms that you have enough clearance so the arms tuck nicely under the table," advises Katie Simpson, senior interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors.

This seat height optimizes legroom so there should be a few inches of space between someone seated and the top of the table and makes the dining experience a lot more comfortable. Think of it this way: the last thing you want is your guests’ feet dangling above the floor or the tabletop hitting their chins. These table and chair heights ensure that feet can rest naturally on the floor.

When you’re looking at dining tables, make sure you also look for things that might affect the height. Certain decorative elements can impact the space under the table, which can throw off how chairs fit underneath.

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Do dining tables come in different heights?

While the standard dining table height is 28-32 inches, there are options outside of that range. Two choices to consider are counter height and bar height. As a rule of thumb, this style of table is best suited for hybrid kitchen-dining spaces and breakfast nooks rather than formal dining rooms.

What is a counter height dining table?

A counter-height dining table is slightly taller than the standard dining table. Counter height measures 34-36 inches (it's designed to be the same height as a countertop) and is typically paired with 24-26 inches height stools.

There are a few reasons counter height might be the best choice for you. They’re a great fit for more casual environments, for starters. They can accommodate guests sitting or standing - they’re tall enough that guests can rest their drinks on them and comfortably stand around to socialize. Counter height tables are a great fluid alternative to a more rigid and formal dining room table setting.

Counter height tables are also a great choice for smaller, cramped spaces. Since they’re taller, the open space beneath them can help open up a room and make it feel larger. The height is also versatile enough that it can double as a food prep station as you get ready to entertain. If you’re in need of a space saver, this table might be for you.

What is a bar height dining table?

Bar height dining tables are even taller, measuring around 40-42 inches. Chairs or barstools for these tables should be 28-30 inches.

Bar height tables are the tallest choice, and they’re even better for standing entertaining than counter height tables. They’re very optimal for casual, large gatherings and are perfect for more of a breakfast bar feel.

What do you need to consider when deciding on the right dining table height?

There are a few key things to consider when figuring out the right dining table height, like space and who will be sitting at it.

“Essentially, you must decide who will use the space, how they will use it, and when they will use it, and then allow those decisions to guide your furniture selection, color scheme, and layout," says Mark Osborne, Director at Country Hardwood.

A good place to start is measuring your space. If you have a formal dining room for family meals with a good amount of space, the standard dining table height will likely be the best fit for you. But if you’re looking to fit a gathering space in your kitchen, it’s probably better to opt for counter or bar height. Regardless, it’s super important to measure accordingly, and make sure you account for chairs in your measuring, since how they fit around the table can affect the overall space.

"Ideally, two feet of space between chairs and away from the table is recommended,” says Stacy Lewis, interior designer at Eternity Modern. “You want to leave room between guests and from the table itself for when chairs need to be pulled out.”

At the end of the day, you want a dining table that will create the best place for gathering. A dining table is only as good as the conversation around it. You’ll want to make sure you’re creating the best environment for you and your guests to relax, socialize, and feel right at home.

Written by
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
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