Though the kitchen is commonly dubbed “the heart of the home,” many would argue that the dining room is more deserving of the title. As the shared space for family gatherings and holiday festivities, the dining room is integral to the home — and the dining table is at its center. When shopping for a new dining table to entertain friends or catch up with the kids, you might be curious about the ideal dining room table height.
How tall is a dining room table anyway? Is there a standard dining room table height? What is counter height vs bar height? Depending on your preferences, the answer might surprise you.
The average dining room table height is between 28 and 32 inches. Also referred to as standard height or regular height tables, these tables are most compatible with 18 to 23-inch chairs, stools, and benches. When shopping for a new dining room table set, you should strive for your guests to have approximately 10 inches of space between the seat cushion and the top of the table.
For example, if you opt for a 28-inch table, it’s best to select 18 to 19-inch chairs. This way, you and your guests will have adequate leg room to sit and enjoy the meal. On the other hand, if you have your eye on a 32-inch table, pick out a set of 21 to 23-inch chairs instead. Any shorter, and the chairs can feel too low for the 32-inch tabletop.
Likewise, if you have small children, be sure to select a table and chair pairing that allows the kiddos to easily lift their elbows above the tabletop. Otherwise, they’ll end up with the tabletop at chest height… and an awfully big mess for mom or dad to clean up. With a 10-inch space between the seat cushion and the top of the table, parents can also easily add a booster seat for children when necessary.
Three Dining Room Table Height Options
Although the average kitchen table height is anywhere from 28 to 32 inches, there are several styles of dining room tables to choose from. Depending on your design style, the size of your space, and how often you use your dining room table, you might prefer something a bit taller. Fortunately, counter height and bar height tables offer a taller height without sacrificing any style.
Take a look at the three dining room table height options available on the market today, and how to choose the right height and style for your unique space.
Standard Dining Room Table Height
The standard dining room table height is 28 to 32 inches tall. This height generally feels a bit more formal, so it’s perfect for spaces you’re trying to give that sophisticated, grown up feel. For instance, if you have a formal dining room but typically eat dinner at the breakfast nook in your kitchen, a standard height table can act as a statement piece for holiday meals in the dining room.
Not to mention, standard dining room tables often come equipped with leaves to extend their size. This feature is especially important if you tend to entertain a large number of guests or can anticipate filling your tabletop with bulky serving ware. A table with one or two leaves can help better utilize your dining room space, plus the leaves can easily be stored away when not in use.
Similarly, the universal height of standard dining room tables works well for families that include a wide range of ages and mobility. Standard height tables are easily accessible, and can even be compatible with typical wheelchairs. In other words, standard dining room tables are best for those looking for a reliable, formal dining option.
Counter Height Dining Tables
If you’re looking for a slightly taller dining room table height, take a look at counter height tables. Counter height tables are approximately 34 to 36 inches tall. They’re best paired with chairs or stools that range from 24 to 26 inches, however, those on the shorter side can be paired with standard dining chairs. Compared to standard height tables, counter height tables offer a more informal feel.
If you tend to have large get-togethers that feature platters of food as opposed to formal sit-down dinners, counter height tables provide guests with the versatility to gather by the table as a group rather than settle into a seat. Plus, counter height tables are excellent for small spaces, as their height creates a more open look. If your style leans more contemporary, a counter height table might be best for you.
Bar Height Dining Tables
The tallest of kitchen table heights, bar height dining tables stand at 41 to 43 inches tall. They’re meant to be paired with bar stools or high-top chairs that are 28 to 33 inches high. Bar height tables can bring the nostalgia of an old-time pub straight to your dining room, however, they’re best suited for an informal space because of their taller height.
When styled with rich wood tones and deep hues, bar height tables can immediately create a mature gathering space for family or friends. If paired with bright whites and metallic accents, they can quickly become a modern centerpiece. The one downside to bar height tables is that they absolutely cannot accommodate standard height chairs, so you will need to purchase a new set of bar stools.
Can’t Decide on a Dining Room Table Height?
If all this talk about dining room table height has you stressed to pick between standard, counter, and bar height tables, rest assured you still have options. Extendable dining room tables provide the flexibility to transition from a formal arrangement to a party set-up in just moments. Regardless of if you opt for a table that extends to bar height, or stick with a standard table, you can be sure the dining room will remain the heart of your home.