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Our Guide to table shapes, sizes and seating

A question we are frequently asked is “How many can I fit around that table” or “What size table do I need for four people?” We are going to talk about some helpful tips that can assist with selecting your table top size and shape.

The right table size depends on how many people that are required on each table and what the table is used for. This is something sometimes overlooked however it is one of the most important questions to ask yourself before selecting the table size. For example, drinking requires less space than a light meal, and fine dining requires the most space, to allow enough room for side plates and additional crockery & cutlery.

Table Shapes

Square tables are the more popular tabletop shape due to the fact that you can utilise the space more efficiently with plates and cutlery and you can join them together for larger groups when required. Round tables are an attractive option particularly for cafes as they offer flexibility when chairs or stools can neatly placed under or around the table. Many restaurants will order a combination of both shapes and sizes, often including a larger communal or feature table.

Table How Many Can I Seat?

A usual restaurant chair in use extends around 450mm from a table and another 450mm between the backs of the adjacent diner’s chair. This allows enough space so that the diner should avoid getting bumped while the waiting staff or other diners are passing. Also keep in mind the back legs of the chairs do not protrude too much to avoid tripping for staff and other diners.

The Metric Handbook suggests each diner requires an area between 1 and 2 square metres and a minimum width of 580mm.

Stacking chairs

Stacking chairs are regularly moved and unfortunately damaged however they are necessary for function and even smaller venues that a tight with space.

Chairs with a metal leg or frame are preferable as an option to timber when it comes to a stackable chair as to reduce the risk of damage or breaking. If you do choose a timber leg be mindful that chips etc on dark-stained timbers are more noticeable than on lighter finishes.

Chairs that stack directly on top of each other (rather than stack a little further forward than the chair below) will stack highest. A light weight option is always a bonus. Be cautious with upholstered seats as they may have wear-points on the seats. Timber framed stacking chairs should generally only be stacked around four high.

Table top sizes

We have provided a guide below as a tool to help estimate and determine the right table top sizes for your space.