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Dining ergonomics question

Elan

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We are in the process of redesigning our kitchen island. We'd like to make it large enough to seat 5 (bar stools) for casual dining. I figure TUG is a good cross section to poll, so my question is:

How wide of table/island area would you consider to be comfortable while dining next to family members? In other words, if I wanted to place diners next to each other, what's the minimum "pitch" that would be acceptable? I've found some guidelines online, but they're targeted more toward restaurant seating. I've been working with a particular number, but I want to see what TUGgers think.

Thoughts?
 

MichaelColey

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My gut feeling is that 2 feet per person is good. I'm sure you could get by with somewhat less, but I think 18" (for instance) might be a little too tight.

A few points of comparison that aren't quite apples to apples, but might help:

I know when we set up folding tables and chairs for entertaining, my wife likes to put the chairs right up next to each other, and this always feels too crowded to me. A folding chair is 18" across.

We have a section of one of our counters that has three barstools. It's a little over 5 foot wide, so about 21" pitch. It feels comfortable. Not spacious, but comfortable.

When we put new pews in our church, the guidelines they gave were 18" per person. We ordered 10 1/2 foot pews, which would be 7 people per pew. About the only pews that ever have 7 people are the ones with teens. It's more like 5 or 6 without being too packed.

So with all that said, I think about 20-22" per person would be about optimal.
 

wackymother

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Our table is seven feet long, and we can fit three people on a long side without squishing. That's 28" per person, very comfortable. Four people on the side is tight but doable, and that's 21" per person.
 

Elan

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Thanks for the replies.

I was working with 22" as a minimum, which is close to what you guys suggested.
 

dmharris

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Place mats are typically 18 inches wide, so allowing a few inches on each side I would think 22 to 24 inches should be very comfortable (unless you put your arms and elbows on the table and lean in; but then I'll be swattin' you to get your arms off the table!)
 

Fern Modena

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While you were considering the "pitch" of the table, were you also considering width? Since the table is to be used for casual use, I'd assume that meant "family style" service, entailing serving dishes on the table. Therefore the table needs to be long enough and wide enough to allow for the serving dishes as well.

Just a thought...

Fern

We are in the process of redesigning our kitchen island. We'd like to make it large enough to seat 5 (bar stools) for casual dining. I figure TUG is a good cross section to poll, so my question is:

How wide of table/island area would you consider to be comfortable while dining next to family members? In other words, if I wanted to place diners next to each other, what's the minimum "pitch" that would be acceptable? I've found some guidelines online, but they're targeted more toward restaurant seating. I've been working with a particular number, but I want to see what TUGgers think.

Thoughts?
 

Elan

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While you were considering the "pitch" of the table, were you also considering width? Since the table is to be used for casual use, I'd assume that meant "family style" service, entailing serving dishes on the table. Therefore the table needs to be long enough and wide enough to allow for the serving dishes as well.

Just a thought...

Fern

It's a kitchen island, so the serving dishes will, for the most part, remain in the interior of the kitchen. Depth won't be an issue, regardless, as the island will be semi-circular, with plenty of open area near the center.
 

jme

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Here's a Good Plan

Decide what you THINK you'd like as to dimensions, then go to Lowe's, Home Depot, etc, and get a piece of thin cheap ply wood cut to your specifications. Then you can lay that out on top to simulate the island top and "live with it" a few days and see for yourself what's comfortable. It works wonders just to stroll by at different times of the day for an impromptu "test", and you'll begin to see if it's too wide, long, etc.

AND........Get 5 people and sit around it, and in no time you'll know what's ideal (not just adequate) without making a mistake. Don't go by someone's arbitrary numbers for what's comfortable for them. You can test it cheaply yourself!!! We did, it worked, so glad........it's perfect.
 

pjrose

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I echo trying it with plywood first

That's exactly what we did with our peninsula. The kitchen designer said we didn't have enough space for the recommended size of peninsula, so we tinkered with a smaller one using plywood and sawhorses. We decided that it would work for our needs, and literally within minutes of the final peninsula's creation, our kids were playing a board game on it. Our "too small" peninsula is ALWAYS in use for breakfast, snacks, games, homework, bills.....I can't imagine the kitchen without it.
 

Elan

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Decide what you THINK you'd like as to dimensions, then go to Lowe's, Home Depot, etc, and get a piece of thin cheap ply wood cut to your specifications. Then you can lay that out on top to simulate the island top and "live with it" a few days and see for yourself what's comfortable. It works wonders just to stroll by at different times of the day for an impromptu "test", and you'll begin to see if it's too wide, long, etc.

AND........Get 5 people and sit around it, and in no time you'll know what's ideal (not just adequate) without making a mistake. Don't go by someone's arbitrary numbers for what's comfortable for them. You can test it cheaply yourself!!! We did, it worked, so glad........it's perfect.

I've got a piece of cardboard reserved for a template. Just trying to decide how big the template should be. :)
 

jme

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Grande Ocean x 6
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ChurchSt/Charleston x2
I've got a piece of cardboard reserved for a template. Just trying to decide how big the template should be. :)

one reason we liked plywood was because we could actually use it as a functional surface just like an island, and it was only then that we could make a decision. We tried cardboard for ONE day and it kept slumping, etc, and we got frustrated. You can't put stuff onto cardboard. Get the plywood and use it as normal, even eat around it, and you'll make a more sound decision. good luck.
 
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