Table Design Guidelines
1. In choosing between a round or rectangular (including square) table, keep in mind that round tables blend in easier with other furniture and also allow easy movement around them.
2. Most tables designed for writing or dining should be 28″ to 30″ high (29″ is common) with chair seats 11″ to 13″ lower. The higher the tabletop, the more uncomfortable and formal the table feels. Provide about 24″ of leg room below the table (height from floor to bottom of table rail) and at least 12″ for knee clearance (projection of table top beyond table leg). In figuring seating capacity, allow at least 24″ of elbow room width per person and 12″ to 15″ depth from the edge of the table.
3. Bedside tables should not be more than six inches above the height of the bed.
4. Coffee tables are generally 1/2 to 2/3 the length of the sofa and about the same height as the sofa seat.
5. End tables should be the same height or a few inches shorter than the armrest of the sofa. Also, if a lamp is to be placed on the end table, the bottom of the lampshade should be at eye level when seated.
6. Sofa tables are designed to conceal the back side of a sofa that is not against a wall. They are usually 2/3 the length of the sofa and about the same height as the back of the sofa.
7. Additional guidelines exist for desks and tables designed for use as computer workstations.
Standard Dimensions of Tables
Type of Table | Height | Length | Width/Depth |
Card | 26″-30″ | 30″-36″ | 30″-36″ |
Coffee, round | 15″-17″ | 36″-42″ diam | 36″-42″ diam |
Coffee, rectangular | 15″-17″ | 36″-60″ | 18″-24″ |
Console | 28″ | 48″-54″ | 16″-18″ |
Dining, rectangular | 28″-30″ | 60″-80″ | 36″-42″ |
Dining, round | 28″-30″ | 40″ min diam | 40″ min diam |
Drafting | 32″-44″ | 31″-72″ | 23″-44″ |
Drum | 30″ | 36″ dia | 36″ dia |
End | 18″-24″ | 24″-28″ | 18″-20″ |
Hallway/entry | 34″-36″ | 36″-72″ | 16″-20″ |
Library | 28″-30″ | 60″-84″ | 24″-36″ |
Night | 16″-25″ | 18″-28″ | 16″-22″ |
Sewing | 26″ | any | 17″ min |
Sofa | 26″-27″ | 60″ | 14″-17″ |
Workbench | 32″ | any | 26″ |
Writing | 28″-30″ | 36″-40″ | 20″-24″ |
Standard Heights of Tables and Seats for Children
Child’s Age (Years) |
Table Height |
Seat Height |
1 to 4 | 20″-22″ | 10″-12″ |
5 to 7 | 22″-25″ | 12″-14″ |
8 to 10 | 24″-29″ | 13″-17″ |
11 to 13 | 26″-30″ | 15″-18″ |
Table Seating Specifications
Here are the minimum dimensions for rectangular, square, and round tables needed to accommodate the number of people listed in the first column.
No. of (Rectangular) (Square) (Round)
People Width Length Width Diameter
No. of | (Rectangular) | (Square) | (Round) | |
People | Width | Length | Width | Diameter |
2 | 22″-28″ | 28″-32″ | 24″-30″ | 22″-28″ |
4 | 28″-36″ | 44″-52″ | 32″-42″ | 32″-42″ |
6 | 34″-42″ | 60″-72″ | 44″-52″ | 46″-54″ |
8 | 34″-42″ | 72″-90″ | 48″-54″ | 56″-72″ |
10 | 42″-48″ | 96″-108″ | 56″-62″ | 72″-84″ |
Determining Table Size
For square or rectangular dining tables, allow 24″ of elbow room width per person. For round tables, allow 26″ width per person for a table seating 3 to 6 people and 24″ for a table seating 6 or more people. Add 2″ to all of the above figures if armchairs will be used. Subtract 2″ for snug seating.
The circumference of a round table equals the width per person times the total number of seating spaces and the diameter equals the circumference divided by 3.14. For example, in designing a table to comfortably seat 8 people using chairs without arm supports, the circumference equals 8 times 24 inches width per person (192 inches) and the diameter equals 192/3.14 or 61 inches. If 22″ of width was allocated per person, the resultant table diameter would be about 56″ (see table above).