Q: My small house has an eating nook just off the kitchen, and the windows are arranged to make a room that is partially circular with a hanging light at the center. I think a round dining table would be perfect for this room. How do I choose what size of table to use?
A: Round dining tables save space and add a fresh look, even if your dining area is just a square corner. For any table, allow three feet from the edge of the table to a wall to provide space to scoot chairs out and walk around. If you regularly seat one to three people at your table, keep it closer to the wall most of the time and pull it out for parties.
How many do you want to seat? With a table 24 inches in diameter, two could eat a simple meal, and three could enjoy dessert or a glass of wine. Three or four would be comfortable for dinner (or five for coffee) at a 36-inch table. A table that is 42 or 48 inches in diameter will provide, literally, more elbow room for four people and coffee or cocktails for two more. Larger tables, like 60 inches in diameter, start to take up a lot of space but might be necessary for six people for dinner. For eight, go to 72 inches, and you'll have lots of room in the center for serving bowls.
Also consider the table legs. A round table of any size with three legs makes it awkward to seat four or six people because the chairs won't slide in all the way and someone will likely be kicking or straddling the table legs. Pedestals are the best option for versatility.
Finally, to get an idea of how the size will fit into your space, outline the shape on the floor. Have a tape measure handy, and get a long piece of string or rope. Anchor one end of string to the floor underneath your chandelier or wherever you want the middle to be, and mark it with painter's tape. Stretch out the string and make a mark that is half the diameter of the table you want. For example, mark 18 inches out for a 36-inch diameter table. Then move the string around in a circle, marking the floor every so often with small pieces of tape, until you get a full circle. Place some chairs around this circle, sit in them, scoot them out. What do you think? Adjust the size as necessary and start shopping.