Conference Table Shape and Size Seating Guide
The conference room is an essential aspect of an office layout. It is a universal space you can use for employee meetings, training sessions, interviews and client meetings. The conference room table is as crucial as the room itself. Because this surface is the room’s centerpiece, you need a conference table that looks stunning while meeting your practical needs.
Size is a factor you must consider choosing a conference table. To determine the best conference table size for you, you must consider the conference room dimensions, the table shape you prefer and the number of seats at your table. This conference room table seating guide will walk you through each of these factors so you can choose the best option for your company’s boardroom.
A good place to start is with your conference room size. The size of your conference room may limit how large your conference table can be. Here are some tips for determining how much space is available in your conference room:
- Create a list of equipment: Decide what equipment you want to include in the conference room. You might want items such as a podium, credenza or AV equipment. Note the measurements for the equipment you plan to add to the room.
- Measure the room: As you measure your meeting room, keep in mind that the room dimensions may not reflect the available space. If you have or plan to place objects along the perimeter of the room, measure the empty areas in the room without counting the space these items already or will occupy.
- Determine clearance: You must determine how much clearance you need around your table. For large rooms, it’s ideal to have about 6′ of clearance around the perimeter of the conference table. In smaller rooms, you should make sure you have at least 3.5′ of space around your table. Having this much clearance allows people to move freely around the table and pull out chairs without feeling cramped.
- Subtract clearance from room dimensions: Be sure to double the amount of clearance to account for all sides of the table. After you’ve done this measuring and math, the dimensions you have left represent the maximum table size your conference room can accommodate.
Let’s work through a quick example. Pretend your conference room is 24′ x 14′. You have a credenza against the wall with a depth of 1.5′. This existing furniture takes the available space in the room down to 22.5′ x 14′. Imagine that you would like 5′ of clearance around the table, an appropriate amount of space for a room of this size. The available space now comes down to 12.5′ x 4′. Now you know your conference table dimensions must be 12.5′ x 4′ or smaller to fit perfectly into the space.
Many people base the shape of their table on the room’s purpose. For instance, a rectangular table might be best if the room is for meetings and conferences. If you want the option for your employees to separate into small discussion groups, a modular conference table will meet this need.
The example above left us with rectangular dimensions, which translate most easily to square or rectangular tables, but there are many shapes boardroom tables can come in. Some of the most popular shapes include:
- Rectangle: Rectangular tables are a classic choice that offers the most seating for the size. A rectangular table can be wide enough to include multiple seats at each end, or it can be more narrow with one seat at each end. The flat tabletop is suitable for meetings and training rooms.
- Boat: Boat-shaped conference tables have an interesting and elegant look. The table has convex sides with tapered ends and rounded corners. Contrary to common belief, they don’t offer more seating than a similarly sized rectangular table. Some people prefer the sightlines they get with a boat-shaped conference table.
- Square: Square conference tables tend to offer a fair amount of seating for the size. However, if you are designing a large conference table, a square table will mean people across the table from one another may feel too far apart.
- Round: Round tables tend to work best for smaller seating arrangements. If you’re looking to seat a large number of people, a circular table will take up an excessive amount of space compared to other shapes.
- Live edge: Live edge tables are a beautiful and unique choice. Because they include a gap in the middle of the table, unless you choose a river table where glass fills this gap, you should not plan to seat people on the ends. Live edge slab tabletops have an irregular shape, so you should check with the furniture maker to see how many seats they recommend.
Number of Seats
In some cases, you might start by considering the number of seats you want at your conference table. Consider how many people your business employs and how you plan to use your conference room. Design your table so it can accommodate the maximum number of people who will be in the room at one time. If your business is expanding, you may also want to choose a larger table you won’t quickly outgrow.
Download this chart to see how many chairs specific table sizes and shapes can fit. When you start with the number of seats you need, you can see what table sizes and shapes would fit your needs. For example, if you need your conference table to fit 20 people, you could choose a 60 “x 264” rectangular table, a 72” x 264” boat-shaped table, a 160” x 160” square table, a 240” diameter round table or a 60” x 300” live edge table.
In general, the basis for these estimates is providing at least 30″ for each person seated at the table, which tends to be sufficient for meetings. However, if each person will need workspace for a laptop or other items, you should plan for more space. In these situations, you’ll want closer to 42″ of space per person. The size and style of the chairs you choose can also influence how much space each seat needs.
If you’re not sure what size table you need to meet your seating requirements, we can discuss your needs to ensure you end up with an ideal fit for your conference room.
In addition to understanding the size of your conference room and the number of seats you need, you may want to think about the specific dimensions of your new conference table. One of the most important considerations is the table’s height.
Most manufacturers of solid wood or veneer-covered conference room tables base their table heights around a specific standard. Generally, most conference tables are around 30″ high, which equals 2.5′.
The 30″-high standard can vary slightly depending upon your final conference table choice. Many factors can contribute to the table seeming taller or shorter. These factors include:
- The conference room flooring: If your conference table sits on a firm flooring surface, such as concrete or luxury vinyl, you can expect the height to remain true. On the other hand, if your conference room floor has a plush or thick carpet, the conference table could “sink” into the fibers. This can make the table feel lower, depending upon if your chairs “sink” as well.
- Adjustable conference table legs: Some conference tables allow you to adjust the table legs slightly. This feature corrects the legs if the floors are uneven, as happens in older buildings with floors that have “settled” or may not have been level to begin with. If you can adjust your conference table’s legs, the standard 30″ height from the ground may differ.
If you’re not sure what a 30″ conference table height feels like, try measuring the height of your current table or office desk. Doing this will give you a better understanding.
Other Conference Table FAQs
When determining how to choose a conference table for your business needs, you may have specific questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked conference table questions.
What Are the Different Style Options?
Sometimes, the type of conference table you use influences its dimensions and shape. There are many different types of conference table styles available. These include:
- Bayonne: The Bayonne table offers a sleek, contemporary look and can separate into several smaller pieces for easy transportation. It is solid wood with a metal laminate base.
- Flying V: This conference table has a powerful and professional vibe. You can modernize it with integrated power and data options.
- Live edge: Perfect for rustic or modern themes, manufacturers use a large slab of wood from a tree to craft it. Since no two trees are alike, no two live edge tables are alike. You can customize the wood species, finish and size.
- Quartz: Quartz creates a luxurious, professional atmosphere. It features a steel base and optional power and data integration. The table comes in various shapes and sizes.
- River: These unique tables are breathtakingly beautiful and create a sense of serenity. Similar to live edge tables, manufacturers craft them from a wood slab, but they also feature a piece of blue river glass that gives the appearance of a river flowing through a forest.
- Solid wood: Wood conference tables last for many years. You can choose the wood species, dimensions and finish for the table so it complements the atmosphere of your conference room.
- Veneer waterfall: This beautiful modern table gives a sense of calm. Like a waterfall, the veneer’s wood grain cascades over the table top and down the base.
- Wishbone: These tables feature a live edge tabletop with a natural edge and steel legs in wishbone shapes.
How Long Is a 10-Person Conference Table?
The length of a 10-person conference table isn’t set in stone. Nevertheless, you can get a general idea of how long a 10-person table will be if it’s rectangular or oval. Many 10-person conference tables are around 144″, which is 12′ long. Some may be longer, particularly if they’ve been designed to give more room per person. Of course, if you’re looking for a circular, square or irregularly shaped conference table, the longest part of the table will vary from that 144″ figure.
How Big of a Conference Table Do I Need?
This is an interesting question because it forces you to think about your current and anticipated needs. Think about the meetings you typically hold and how many attendees you expect on average. If you’re usually limited to no more than eight people at any meeting and your room is at least 11′ by 19′, you’ll probably only want an 8-person conference table — or one that’s about 96″ long and 48″ wide.
Still, you’ll want to keep your scaling goals in mind. If you’re planning to grow your business and you have a large enough room, you may want to bump up your conference table to a 10-, 12-or even 14-person size range.
How Can I Fit a Conference Table in a Uniquely Shaped Room?
Not all rooms are squares or rectangles. Some are L-shaped or circular or have otherwise unusually constructed layouts. When you’re adding a conference table to an irregularly sized room, contact conference table experts like the team at Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers for a quote. We have the background and experience to help you choose a conference table that will fit in with your needs and aesthetics.
Contact Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers for Pricing
For a completely unique, customized conference room table, Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers can help. Our exceptional craftsmanship and use of high-quality materials combine to result in functional, attractive conference tables that suit your needs.
Contact us to discuss pricing for your table design specifications or learn more about your options.