Three Steps To The Perfect Conference Table

Posted on: 19 December 2014

The conference room is the brain of your business, providing one of the few spaces where you can meet with clients and your all your employees in one area. Taking the time to pick the right conference table and professional office furniture will ensure the room lives up to its full potential.

Step #1: Make a Head Count

There's no need to get a giant table for a small business unless you frequently meet with large groups of clients or an outside sales force. An overly big table isn't impressive when it's sparsely populated, and it makes it difficult to talk and share paperwork.

Begin by estimating the maximum number of users you expect at the table at one time. You will need about 30 inches of space for each user. For example, if you expect to max out at around 10 people, the table perimeter needs to be 300 inches or 25 feet, so a 12-foot rectangular table is sufficient.

If large groups are rare, but you still need to be prepared for them for things like client meetings, consider getting two identical tables. You can use the smaller table for your normal meetings and push the second table against a wall to hold coffee, paperwork and other meeting needs. When you are meeting with a large group, simply put the two tables together.

Step #2: Measure Your Space

The size of the room is the biggest limitation when it comes to table size, so don't just depend on the head count when picking out a table. Plan for 3 to 4 feet of clearance on each side of the table. If you need a standing presentation area, provide 4 to 5 feet of space in this area. It's best to leave plenty of room to move out chairs and to allow people to move around to their place without disturbing other meeting attendees.

Step #3: Pick a Shape

Although the traditional conference table is rectangular, you aren't limited to that shape. There are three major shapes that are common in conference rooms:

  • Rectangular tables are good all-purpose conference tables. They provide ample room in a narrow footprint, while allowing everyone to see everyone else at the meeting. They also allow paperwork to easily be passed both along and back and forth across the table.

  • Circular tables are well-suited to team meeting-style conferences, where all the business takes place at the table and there isn't an outside presentation area. It's simple to see and hear everyone, but you may end up with unused space in the center of the table.

  • U-shaped tables are excellent if your meetings tend to be presentation-heavy. Everyone can see the presentation area and each other, but the shape isn't as conductive to passing paperwork.

Bonus Tip: Don't Skimp on the Chairs

The chairs are just as important as the table, so don't tack them on as an afterthought. Your employees and clients will be more alert in a comfortable chair. Make sure chairs have armrests and back support. Wheeled swivel chairs are the better choice because they will move smoothly and everyone can easily turn in the direction needed.