Setting the Table – height?

July 20, 2015

rotmans_dining_canadel2 How Traditional Dining Room Sets, Counter Height/Gathering Tables, & Pub Height Tables Measure Up!

Lots to Choose From!

When it comes to choosing a dining room set or table you certainly won’t find yourself short on styles. Pick between city chic, traditional, country, contemporary or anywhere in between. There are also a multitude of makes to consider such as a natural wood, glass, or even a marble table top that can be paired with a metal, iron, or solid wood frame and legs with an endless list of finishes as well such as oak, mahogany, walnut, or dark cherry wood available. But,… the growing trend in dining room sets/tables these days are additional options in table height. Read below to see how counter height/gathering tables and pub height tables measure up to their traditional dining room set counterparts.


Tale of the Tape

First, let’s take a look at the measurements/height of each type of table:

  • Traditional Dining Room Tables typically measure between 28” to 30” High/Tall
  • Counter Height Tables (or Gathering Tables) normally stand between 34” to 36” High/Tall
  • A Pub (or Bar) Height Table is the highest/tallest at 40” to 42” High/Tall

Now,…The Case for Traditional Dining Room Sets

Ultimately it may come down to your personal preference and style when it comes to choosing between a Traditional Height Dining Room Table/Set and the taller Counter Height or Pub Height Tables/Sets, but we’re here to help break it all down and provide a roadmap of sorts to help you to consider all of the deciding factors.



In addition to your own personal style/taste it would be wise to consider the overall style and décor of your home or apartment. If your home/apartment is decorated in a more traditional style and you want your table or dining room set to fit into this overall design theme then a traditional height dining room table is likely best. Also to consider,… how do you like to eat, dine, or entertain? Do you tend to prefer a more formal/traditional approach? If so, you would likely be more comfortable with a traditional height dining table and chairs to meet this preference.


The specific room or area that the table/dining set is destined for is a key factor as well. If you are looking for a table to compliment a more formal dining room then again, a traditional height dining room table set would likely fill the space best. In terms of table top shape,… there will be square, round, and rectangular table tops to choose from; rectangular being technically the most traditional of the group. If the dining room itself is larger and rectangular in nature then a traditional height dining room table/set with rectangular table top may be the best match for the room. Rectangular table tops typically are the largest as well and can “fit” the most people at the table. Many can even be “expanded” or “extended” as well (with an optional leaf) to fit even more people or settings at the table. If the dining room is less formal, traditional, or smaller in size,… Or if you are searching for a table and chair set for a space other than a formal dining room – such as for the kitchen or a sunroom perhaps – then your choices become a bit more difficult as counter height, gathering tables, or pub/bar height tables/sets become interesting options as well.


Sometimes overlooked in deciding on table height choice (between traditional, counter height, and pub height) is the possible need for a certain type of table based on age or physical ability. A younger child or an elder may be more comfortable and confident seated at a traditional height table where their feet

could touch the floor while sitting in an appropriately paired traditional height chair. Conversely,… an elder or young child – or perhaps someone with chronic back or leg issues – may find it more intimidating and difficult to use a taller counter height or pub-style table. A traditional height dining table would be more ideal as well if/when used with a wheelchair.



Next,… When and Where Counter Height/Gathering Table Sets Work Best

If your home or apartment is less formal in style and your goal is a more modern or contemporary feel then a counter height dining set – also referred to as a gathering table – may be ideal for you. Counter height tables/dining sets – at a typical height of 34” to 36” tall – may be the perfect solution as they stand out from traditional tables in that they are normally 4 to 6” taller than traditional height tables, but are 4 to 6” shorter than pub/bar table sets.


Size up your space when making your decision. If you do have a dining room space but it is a bit less formal in nature, or if the dining room space is smaller, then a counter height set (or pub/bar set) may make the most sense. Not only will a smaller-sized counter height table take up less room, but the height of the table – in addition to being visually appealing – will make the room itself appear larger.


You also need to decide how you want use the table. If you like being more casual when you eat or entertain then the counter height table is a great option as it speaks more of casual dining than formal/traditional. It also promotes a more casual and intimate conversation area; keeping company closer together as counter height or gathering tables are more often found with round or square table tops than rectangular.


Keep your surroundings in mind as well when choosing your dining room set or table. If you are looking for a table to compliment an area other than a dining room, such as a kitchen area, movie, gaming, or entertainment room,… or even a den, sunroom, or bar area then a counter/gathering height table or pub table would look spectacular and fit better with the casual style and concept of the space. Counter height dining sets/tables are perhaps perfect and most appropriate for a kitchen area since they are the same height as a counter (or prep island) and can be used as an extra food prep station/area for preparing dinner, snacks, or the kids’ school lunches. They are also an ideal gathering space for a quick breakfast, lunch, or snack in addition to a full family dinner.


What About Pub/Bar Height Table and Chair Sets?

The tallest of the three options, while measuring in at 40” to 42” tall in most cases, pub table sets are also the most casual in the traditional/counter/pub table category. While they certainly can be used in a traditional or formal dining room, they are better served and more visually appealing when/if used in a smaller sized dining room where space may be an issue or concern. Again, as noted, a taller (pub) table can make a smaller dining room or space appear larger due to its height and contrast to the room.


If your home or apartment is space-challenged you certainly won’t need to compromise on style or selection with the enormous number and type of pub tables to choose from. Available in many smart and stylish offerings and with your choice of round, square, (and in some cases) rectangular table tops to fit and compliment your space and style. The taller height of the tables also inherently contributes to creating a comfortable conversation area with those standing by the table as those seated would essentially be at the same height and eye level of those that are standing close by.


A pub or bar table set would also be more at home in a more casual or modern style home/apartment rather than one with a more traditional or antique décor/style. Whatsmore, they tend to fit the personality and style of those that are more relaxed and who prefer to entertain, eat, and live in a more casual manner.


Perfectly positioned in a kitchen area, sunroom, or used as a breakfast nook,… pub and bar table sets are of course ideally utilized in the family movie or game room, and pairs extremely well with a home bar or entertainment area.

Why Limit Yourself?

As our lifestyles continue to change and our styles and tastes evolve with them, there is an increasing call and demand for more options in the casual dining room sets and tables category beyond traditional/formal dining choices. A counter height dining table or pub height table may be the perfect way to add a different look to your traditional dining room or dining space. Counter/Gathering Tables and Pub Sets are becoming an increasingly popular and requested option for anyone looking for a less formal and more casual dining, eating, living, and entertaining option that can be more visually impressive than a traditional table. In the end the choice is yours but you can certainly opt for the best of both worlds. Try placing a traditional height dining room table set in your dining room or kitchen and vary that by adding a counter height and/or pub table to your kitchen, sunroom, home bar space, or entertainment room. With so many options in traditional dining as well as counter and pub height models, why limit yourself?

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