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Need-to-Know Numbers: the Dining Room

With family and friends gathered round the table, you'll want to make sure your space measures up

Dining Room By Numbers

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Chances are your dining room sees more action this season than any other time of the year. Take note of these important numbers from Richmond, Virginia–based interior designer Susan Jamieson. Just don't call us if you need to loosen your belt.

Choose the Right-Size Light Fixture

Illustration by Arthur Mount

An out-of-proportion fixture can throw off an entire room. As a rule, add the length and width of the room in feet for the ideal diameter of the fixture, in inches. So a 20-by-25-foot room calls for a 45-inch fixture. Next, the fixture should be proportionate to the dining table. Make sure your table is at least 1 foot wider than the light on all sides.

30 inches

Ideal amount of space between the dining table and the bottom of a chandelier

24 Inches

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Ideal amount of space per guest around the table to allow for elbow room

36 Inches

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Ideal clearance needed behind chairs from the pushed-in position. (Make sure rugs also extend at least 36 inches, to avoid catching on the chair legs.)

How to Measure for a Medallion

Illustration by Arthur Mount

To calculate the ideal diameter of a medallion in inches, divide the square footage of the room by 7. For a 10-by-10-foot room, say, divide 100 by 7. The resulting number, 14, is the appropriate medallion diameter, in inches.