How Big is Too Big & To Extend or Not to Extend

October 25, 2022 3 min read

How Big is Too Big & To Extend or Not to Extend – Gingko addresses the burning questions of our time!

Help! The holidays are almost here and I’m hosting Diwali/Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving/ Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa /insert Holiday of your Choice, and I need to get a new dining table so that everyone can sit down at once!

Ok, hold your horses, I’m happy that you’re on good terms with your family and that you have several good friends and will be having them all over for a meal, but you really need to think through this dining table thing. Do you want to get one long table? Do you want an extension table? How much space do you have for a “formal” dining table? How often do you have the whole crew at your place? Is your family growing????

So many questions—and it’s almost Halloween, got to make some decisions!

The Quick Take: Get the biggest table that will fit COMFORTABLY in your space. Comfortably…. what does that mean? It’s easy, just follow the rules:

  1. Shape:
    Rectangular rooms need rectangular tables.
    Square rooms can have either square or round tables.
  1. Space Required:
    Table dimensions + 36inches in each direction = Minimum Footprint. (Clearance required to pull out your chair and move around the table)

So, if your table is going to be 30” wide (on the narrow side) x 80” long (very common), you will need a space of 102 x 156inches or 8.5 feet x 13 feet AT A MINIMUM to accommodate this table. OR you work backwards from room size, if your dining room is 15 feet long, you can accommodate a 90inch table MAX – and that means no sideboard, no buffet included. If you are going for a round table, you need to add 72” to the diameter of the table to figure out the minimum footprint.

OK, got it. Ready to go shopping for a dining table! Not yet.

Do you really want to LIVE WITH that huge table on a daily basis, or would you actually prefer to have some breathing space in the room (aka beer pong not a huge priority in your house). Even if you have the space, a very long table will require at least six if not 8-10 chairs around the table to look balanced. You will find that the cost of all those chairs that no one is regularly sitting in will add up very quickly. Also, do you want your space to look like a conference room on a regular basis?

Ok, Maybe I get an extension table—best of both worlds, works like a dining table ninja—folds down to a right-sized 60inch table but click my heels together and it easily converts to a 96inch table fit for Buckingham Palace. I don’t love the style of the table, but all that length…. appealing!

Are you really willing to comprise on the look (and often the stability) of the table that you live with for 364 days per year just so you can be the hostess with the mostess on that one day? This is a deeply personal question, and I will leave it between you and your bank account and your significant other. My snarky but sincere preference would be to see you get the table that you LOVED to live with 99% of the time and then “make do” with the old folding table extension with a nice cloth over it for those 1-2 days per year you need the size.

Your guests will be so happy to spend time with you and if you pour generously and make dessert, everyone will remember what a wonderful time they had and have absolutely no recollection of the table they sat around.

But, if you have the square footage, GO FOR THE BIG TABLE!

And, if you are absolutely an extension table fan, please consider our Copenhagen Extension Table.