Re: Dining room tables
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 09:40:27 -0800 (PST)
> On Nov 20, 2019, at 11:40 AM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
> Personally, I like small square tables because you can break them up into a 
> more café like setting for the common house dining room. Long large tables 
> tend to make the dining room look like cafeterias.  

As the person who has been responsible for straightening tables, my desire is 
to find a layout that will be moved around as little as possible. The tables 
are heavy enough to abrade the floor and after moved around they tend to look 
untidy. We have both 3x3’ square and 6x3’ tables. 

We have arranged them so most of the room is individual tables placed 
cattycorner, which looks nice, but people insist on having at least one long 
table closest to the kitchen. Long tables do look like a cafeteria but I think 
people like them for the same reason cafeterias do: they allow groups of 
various sizes to easily grow and shrink during the meal. When a seat is 
vacated, someone else can move into that spot without feeling that they are 
inserting themselves into a private conversation.

Individual tables often look like private dining. Am I welcome or not? Do they 
want to be alone? If I put my drink down to reserve a space, who will come and 
sit next to me? At a table for 4 it is more difficult to feel comfortable with 
whomever sits down. Sometimes 2 people sit down who really only want to talk to 
each other. At a long table one can just talk the other way, or move over to 
another seat without being so obvious as walking away to another table.

Individual tables take up more floor space because more clearance in all 
directions is needed to pull chairs out and make more passage ways clear of 
chair legs.

It’s not an easy or one size fits all issue. As long as the dining room is a 
multi-purpose room, there are limitations determined by one use or the other.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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