Table Height Poll

Table Height Poll

The results are in! We took a very unscientific poll at last month’s Open Studio Tour. With three tables each at a different height, I asked visitors to sit at each one and choose which table felt most comfortable for dining. Twenty-eight people participated out of the forty or so who came to the studio over the weekend. Here are the results:

Table Height Votes:

28 ¼” …….12 votes
28 ¾” …….. 5 votes
29 ¾” …….11 votes

So the lowest table wins by a single vote! But with the disparity between the lowest and the next highest only ½”, the middle height got less than half the votes. The highest table was essentially tied with the lowest throughout the weekend.

In general, we are comfortable with what we are used to.  Several people commented that a certain table felt “like the one at home.”  Some visitors found that the lower tables were better for breakfast, while the taller was appropriate for dinner. One interesting hypothesis buster is that tall or short, the height of the person did not seem to correlate with table preference.  (Read our family’s recent, dramatic experience with different table heights here).

In general the lower the table, the less formal its feeling.  And generally in our culture, breakfast is less formal than dinner. Furniture standards imply this, with standard heights for dining tables between 28 and 30 inches. Desks and committee/board tables (bored tables?) are recommended to be 30” high.

How can we use this in thinking about our furnishings?  I usually design a piece for a specific purpose, with a patron who has a preference for a certain style, feeling, or degree of formality. As the poem above implies, tables are central to our lives and serve a host of different purposes, depending on their setting and the culture of the home in which they reside. Although I have used a standard 30” for my table heights for years, I will now consider where in the range a table should fall, based on the family it will reside with. Breakfast nook? Formal sit down meals? Young children’s snacks and art projects?  Power dinners with Wall Street executives or UN Representatives? Pot luck suppers with the neighbors?

What do you look for at your table?  Do you build community, lego creations, business deals, poems, connection with your family?  How does your table serve as the center of your life? Leave a comment on the blog and keep the conversation going.tea table 2, small


  1. Michael says:

    This is a really interesting topic! I agree that what we are used to is a big factor, and culture has a bearing on this. Outside of that, I think much depends on how long one’s torso is. Just as the comfortable height for a chair depends on the length of the sitter’s lower leg, I think that it is the length of the upper body that determines how high above the seat our heads end up, and at what height our arms rest comfortably. Thus, a person with short-ish upper body (like me!) might prefer a lower table than someone with a nice, long, willowy torso.

    I love your website!

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