If the shelter and style magazines have their way, this holiday season’s well-dressed dining table will feature nothing less than oversized chargers (the large decorative platters that go under a dinner plate), multiple pieces of stemware (for switching between your merlot, shiraz and cabernet) and coordinating placemats and centerpieces. With so much “stuff” at each place, it’s crucial that you leave enough space between each setting for every dinner guest to feel unrestricted and move with ease. Follow my guidelines and you’ll have happy, comfortable company at your next formal soiree!
Each dinner guest at the table needs a minimum of two feet of space on the table for their place setting and dining comfort. If you do indeed use multiple stemware or oversized chargers in your place setting, then you need to add more space per diner. Each dining space at the end of your table should have a minimum of 6 inches of free space on each side edge of the table. So, measure out each two-foot dining space after coming in six inches on either side edge of the table. Use these guidelines when determining how many guests to invite to a dinner- they tell you how many adults can fit with comfort at your table. Of course, throw all the rules about dining space out the window if we’re talking about close family members at the dining table. In that case, squeeze everyone in- the more the merrier.
How big can you go? A dining table should be sized so that no less than 36 inches of clearance room is left between the table’s edge and your wall, sideboard or other piece of furniture. Leaving adequate space around your table gives a more open, elegant, star-like quality to your dining experience. Now, what’s for dinner?