How Close is Too Close? Table Spacing for the Modern Venue


Have you ever settled down at a reception only to be stuck between the table and the person seated behind you? Why does this happen again and again? No one likes to be treated like a sardine – we’re people after all! Through investigation, research, and observation we’ve collected a set of guidelines for making sure your seats and tables let you seat people with comfort and room to move!

Here are a few tips to help you determine the proper size and placement of tables and chairs for your next event.


Different sizes and shapes of tables can hold maximum amounts of people. Most spacing is based on the number of meal settings:

  • 6’ Banquet Table: 6 people along the long sides, optional one on each short end (+2)
  • 8’ Banquet Table: 8 people along the long sides, optional one on each short end (+2)
  • 36” Round Table: 4 people
  • 48” Round Table: 5 people
  • 60” Round Table: 8 to 10 people
  • 72” Round Table: 10 to 12 people
  • 96” Round Table: 12 to 14 people

Once you have the table shapes and sizes chosen, make sure you keep the following spacing:

  • Standard Seating: 42” between tables. This lets you seat two people back to back and leaves 6” between them.
  • Service Seating: 60” between tables. A 26” service aisle between seats lets servers come and go with ease, still allowing room for the people sitting at each table.
  • Diamond Seating: 24” between table corners. Diamond arrangements are when square tables are organized so that their corners are closest to the next table, as opposed to the flat sides being next to each other. This allows for movement, and doesn’t need to allow for seating.


With the tables laid out with room for flow, you can begin setting chairs to finish your arrangements:

  • Personal Space: 18” from the edge of the table to the back of the chair. This allows for one seated person facing the table.
  • Elbow Room: 16” from chair to chair. Don’t forget your neighbors! The room side-to-side is just as important, perhaps more, than front to back since your arms are what you’ll be moving most.
  • Wall Space: 30” from the back of the chair to the wall. If the person is seated at the table with their back to the wall, the only need should be for that one person to be able to sit and get up.

As always, planning ahead makes any event set up easier and faster – if you combine your guest list with the style and size of tables you’ve order or know are for use, you can be prepared for any layout! These measurements apply to all styles of chairs – folding and stacking – that can be ordered online at our website, We hope you found these table seating tips helpful!