How Much Room When Setting Up Folding Chairs?

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Folding chairs can accommodate unexpected guests.
Folding chairs can accommodate unexpected guests. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Setting up a room with folding chairs is not as simple as throwing chairs up where you find space. For the comfort of those seated, proper spacing of the chairs is crucial. Chairs set too close together make the room feel crowded, but if you do not have the chairs close enough, you waste space and people cannot comfortably interact from their seats. The amount of space for folded chairs is based on the setting and the chairs' overall arrangement.

Types

Rented folding chairs can be ballroom chairs or plain folding chairs. These two chair types both fold flat for easier moving and storage, and they have the same dimensions. Ballroom chairs are used for wedding receptions and other formal celebrations, but folding chairs are not as decorative and can be used for any informal gathering. Choose the seating option to best fit your occasion and budget.

General Guidelines

Folding chairs are 18 inches across. When placing the chairs in rows, leave 2 inches of space between chairs. Leave ample space between rows of chairs for people to move. Movie theaters use 36 inches of space from the back of a row of chairs to the backs of the chairs in the row behind. Apply a similar formula to space the rows with 18 inches of space from the front of the opened chair to the back of the chair in front. This, added to the 18-inch depth of folding chairs, equals 36 inches for each row.

Table Spacing

Folding chairs are narrower than the traditional 20-inch-wide dining chairs, but you still use the same number of folding chairs around a table as dining chairs. Setting up chairs around a dining table is based on the table space between the plates, if the chair width allows. Provide 24 inches from the center of one plate to the center of the dinner plate on both sides. This spacing gives the diner plenty of elbow room at the table. The center of the folding chair should align with the middle of the plate, so the spacing from the center of one chair to the next is 24 inches. Allow at least 2 feet behind each chair for the person to comfortably push the chair back to leave the table.

Folding Chair Height and Tables

When you use folding chairs as substitute dining chairs, the seats are lower to the ground compared to traditional dining seats. Most dining tables have a surface 30 inches above the floor. Dining chairs are built with a seat 17 inches off the ground, but the 15-inch-high seat of folding chairs will feel uncomfortably low at a regular dining table. Use a lower table or add thick cushions to the folding chairs to raise the seat height by 2 inches. The cushions also make the chairs more comfortable.

References

  • "Town & Country Elegant Entertaining"; Francine Maroukian
  • "Home Theater Design: Planning and Decorating Media-Savvy Interiors"; Krissy Rushing
  • "On-Premise Catering: Hotels, Convention Centers, Arenas, Clubs, and More"; Patti J. Shock, et al.
  • "Handbook for Hosts: A Practical Guide to Party Planning and Gracious Entertaining"; Adam Bluestein and Jose Luis Merino
  • "The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning"; Robert W. Lucas
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