Did you ever eat a meal in a friend’s dining room where everything just felt right? Sure, the food was delicious but that wasn’t all. The chairs slid out easily from under the table, the light was cozy and flattering, and you could hear all the details of the conversation. Did you feel comfortable and relaxed? If so, it probably had a lot to do with spacing, arrangement, and furniture placement. Following a few simple layout guidelines makes a big difference in how well your dining room works as a space for eating, socialising, and relaxing. Here’s how to properly arrange your oak dining room furniture in six easy steps.
1. Focus On The Star Performer
What’s a dining room without a dining table? It may sound like a bad joke but it’s surprising how many people overlook the fact that they have to fit their largest piece of furniture, save the bed, into the centre of their dining room. Therefore, the best way to arrange the Oak Dining Room Furniture is to start with the dining table. If you don’t already have the perfect table, how big do you need it to be? Keep in mind how often you have dinner parties for all your friends or whether you want to invite the whole family for Sunday dinners – in these cases, bigger is better. But take care that the width isn’t more than 1.2 metres to allow food to be passed, and no narrower than 90 cm. For more ideas on getting the best table for your room, read How to Select the Perfect Oak Dining Table.
2. Give The Table Some Room
Once you’ve worked out how big your oak table needs to be, decide where you can fit the star of your dining room. Like all divas, this star needs its space. How much space? You typically need to leave 61 cm between the table and the wall – 97 cm if you need to walk behind the chairs. Leave 1 metre between the table and the entrance to the kitchen or the living room so you and your family have an easy time getting in and out.
If you like a bit of graph paper, draw yourself a plan of the room to scale, and work out where the table will fit. Or get out a bed sheet, cut or fold it to the size of the table, and fling it into the middle of the room. Then adjust. Or not. Decide exactly where your table will stay before you move onto the next steps – fitting your other dining room furniture around your table.
3. Choose The Right Supporting Cast (AKA…Chairs)
The position of your table and the size affects your choice of oak dining chairs. For example, if your dining room table has corner legs, consider how many chairs you can fit along each side before you run into the corners. Believe us, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than eating a three-course meal straddling an ornate table leg (no matter how attractively carved it is.) Ideally, you should leave about 70 cm between each chair so that everyone has enough elbow room – each diner needs around two feet of personal space. Make sure that a chair with arms fits beneath the table or your guests are going to end up with gravy in their laps. Leave 18 cm between the chair arm and the table apron. If you have a rug beneath the table, make it stretch 90 cm wider than the table on all sides so the chairs pull in and out without snagging.
4. Set The Stage With Your Other Furniture
A table and some chairs by themselves is more like a meeting room than a welcoming place to eat, drink, and be merry. Unless you have the smallest of dining rooms, you will probably have some space for other oak furniture pieces. It’s all about perspective and balance when you are arranging these oak favourites around the table and chairs. Measure the dimensions of your oak sideboard, the oak cupboard, or the occasional display cabinet. Cut out rectangles and squares of paper to match the area they occupy and place these on the floor, or use masking tape. Spend some time playing around with positions. Consider how the drawers open and how wide the doors swing. And keep things tight to the walls. Furniture positioning shouldn’t turn delivering the food onto the table into some extreme version of The Crystal Maze.
5. Shed Some Light On The Issue
The best place for a dining room table is underneath the light fixture. If your light is not where it should be, consider moving the fixture rather than trying to squeeze the table into a corner to catch the best light. Use candles on oak dining furniture around the edges of the room and place mirrors to scatter the light effectively. A hanging light fixture should be between 90 cm and 1.5 metres above the dining table to properly light the table and give the room an integrated feel while minimising glare.
6. Cut the Glare
On the subject of glare… No one wants to wear sunglasses to Sunday dinner. If you have big windows in your dining room then think about installing blinds if the afternoon sun makes an appearance every day. If curtains are too extreme, blinds can be pulled down as much as is needed to prevent granny complaining that she can’t see her turkey.
Some additional tips: A To avoid back strain and stress, do not attempt to move furniture into place until you are sure it’s going to fit – plan beforehand with paper layouts or sketches. Make sure that you have the means to achieve your dining room ambitions – don’t leave a huge space for a display cabinet if you don’t have plans to buy one in the relatively near future. Steer clear of any candles, centrepieces or floral arrangements that are over 30 cm high otherwise your diners will be invisible to each other – as the perfect dinner host, you don’t want that.
A little time spent measuring your space and planning your layout results in a more attractive, functional and inviting dining room. Then show off your new room with an amazing dinner party for friends or family!