Conference Table Shape and Size Seating Guide

When it comes to office furniture, a conference table is the centerpiece. You need a conference table that looks stunning and meets your practical needs. To determine the best size for conference tables,  you need to consider the conference room dimensions, your preferred shape and the number of seats you need your table to accommodate. 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. 

Room Size

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. As you measure your meeting room, keep in mind that the dimensions of the room may not necessarily reflect the actual space available in the room. If you have objects, such as a podium, credenza or AV equipment, along the perimeter of the room, you should measure the empty areas in the room, not counting the space these items already occupy.

Once you know how much space you have available, you need to determine how much clearance you need around your table. For large rooms, it’s ideal to have about six feet of clearance around the perimeter of the conference table. In smaller rooms, you should make sure you have at least three and a half feet of space around your table. This room allows people to move freely around the table and pull out chairs without feeling cramped.

Once you have determined how much clearance you would like to have around your table, subtract this from the dimensions of the room’s empty areas. 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. For example, your conference room is 24′ x 14′. You have a credenza against the wall with a depth of one and a half feet. This existing furniture takes the available space in the room down to 22.5′ x 14′. Now, let’s say you would like five feet 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 a 12.5′ x 4′ table or smaller would fit perfectly into the space.

Table Shape

The exercise we went through above left us with rectangular dimensions, which translate most easily to square or rectangular tables. Of course, there are many shapes boardroom tables can come in. Some of the most popular shapes include the following.

  • Rectangle: Rectangular tables are a classic choice and are one of the options that will offer the most seating for the size. A rectangular table can be wide enough to include multiple seats at each end, or they can be more narrow with one seat at each end.
  • Boat: Boat-shaped conference tables have an interesting and elegant look. Contrary to common belief, though, they don’t tend to 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 are another option to consider. They 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.

Our downloadable conference table size guide makes it easy to see various dimensions and the seats they can accommodate for each shape we just looked at.


Number of Seats

In some cases, you may want to start by considering the number of seats you want at your conference table. Consider how many people your business employs, and how you use or plan to use your conference room. Even if you mainly use your conference room to conduct small meetings, you need to design your table to accommodate the largest group you ever have together at once. If your business is expanding, you may also want to choose a larger table you won’t quickly outgrow.

Our downloadable chart shows you how many chairs you can comfortably fit around a table of a specific size and shape. When you start with the number of seats you need, you can see what table sizes and shapes are options to consider. 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 inches for each person seated at the table, which tends to be sufficient for meetings. However, you may want to allow more space per person, and therefore plan on fewer seats, if each person will need workspace for a laptop, documents and such. In these situations, you’ll want closer to 42 inches of space per person. The style and size of the chairs you choose can also influence how much space you should allow for each seat.

If you’re not sure what size table you need to meet your seating requirements, we can discuss your needs and make sure you end up with an ideal fit for your conference room.

Table Height

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. The most important consideration, alongside how long the top of the conference table is, is the table’s height.

Most manufacturers of solid wood or veneer-covered conference room tables base their table heights around a specific standard. But how tall should a conference table be to accommodate all the different users? Generally, most conference tables are around 30″ high, which corresponds with 2.5′.

The 30″-high standard can vary slightly depending upon your final conference table choice. Plus, remember that other factors can contribute to the table seeming taller or shorter. These factors include:

  • The conference room flooring choice: If your conference table sits on a firm flooring surface, such as a concrete or luxury vinyl floor, you can expect the height to remain true. On the other hand, if your conference room floor is covered in a plush or thick carpet, the conference table could “sink” into the fibers. This can make the table feel like it’s lower, depending upon if your chairs “sink” as well.
  • Adjustments to the conference table legs: Some conference tables allow you to adjust the table legs slightly. This feature corrects for floors that might be 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 subtly.

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 best to choose a conference table for your business needs, you may have specific questions. Some of the most frequently asked conference table questions that go beyond the above-mentioned basic subjects are listed below, along with their answers.

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. How many attendees do 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 faced with 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.


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Contact Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers for Pricing

At Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers, we combine quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship to create beautiful custom conference room tables. To learn more about your options for conference table dimensions, shapes and seating arrangements, reach out to us. We can create custom tables to perfectly meet your needs, so your conference room is both functional and attractive. If you know your conference table design specifications, contact us for information on pricing.

Download Conference Table Size Guide