Answer Three Questions to Size a Lazy Susan

About Sizing Wooden Lazy Susans

Used since the 1700’s (although known as the dumbwaiter back then), these rotating wooden trays are placed in the middle of a table to easily share dishes amongst everyone dining. While they are available in plastic or glass, for the most durability, optimal performance and a better overall look on your table, wooden tabletop lazy susans are the way to go.

But how do you know what size to get for your table? Too big and you won’t have enough space for your plates and glasses. Too small and your guests will still be reaching across the table or asking the person next to them to “pass the salad”. Finding the right size for your wooden lazy Susan is essential to maximizing its benefits but before you can do that you have to answer a few questions.

What is the shape of your table?

Is it square or round? Oval or rectangular? To get the best measurements, this is one of the most important factors to consider before choosing your tabletop lazy susan.

What kind of meals do you eat at your table?

What do you generally use your table for? Is it a standard sized dinner table? Does it serve as a breakfast table for smaller meals? Or is it a grand dining room table with multiple settings, where many dishes are served? Identifying these details will give you an understanding of what else will be on the table with your lazy susan (i.e. wine glasses, second plates, salad bowls, carafes, juice/milk containers and so on.) For it to work well, you need to make sure you have enough room. After all, the goal of the lazy susan is to make eating more convenient, not cramped and complicated.

 With that in mind, how much space do you need?

When it comes to how much room you need on your table, every family, every situation is different. Only you know how much is enough and how much is too close for comfort. You also need to know how big your plates are? An average dinner plate is around 12” in diameter, if you use bigger or smaller plates, it will most likely affect the size you choose for your lazy susan.

Now that you have gathered this important information, you need to decide how you want to measure for the right size. There are a few ways you can do this but they all revolve around the same kind of measurements.

The set up method:

One of the easiest ways to determine the right size of your lazy susan is to set up your table the way you would normally and then take some simple measurements. If math is not your thing, never fear, you just need to know how to use a standard ruler and how to find the radius or diameter of a circle, assuming the lazy susan is circular in shape as most commonly are.

Set up your plates and any other settings just as you would for a typical dinner or breakfast. Now locate the center of the table where your lazy susan is most likely going to reside and measure from the center to the edge of the table for each setting. If you’re using standard 12” plates, the minimum distance from the edge of the lazy suzan to the edge of the table should be at least 15” on all sides. If you use bigger plates that are say 14” in diameter, you might want to shoot for 17” but keep in mind you don’t want the lazy susan to be too far away or the contents on it will be too hard to reach. Once you have the total distance from the center to the edge of the table you can subtract the 15”. The number you’re left with is the radius you want for your lazy susan. Since it’s the diameter you want, and because the table is square and the measurements should be the same for all settings, simply multiply the radius by 2 to get the diameter.

For example, if you are left with a radius of 10” on each side, you probably want a lazy susan with a diameter of 20”. If you want to be really sure, you can measure out 10” from the center of the table to each setting and imagine a circle or use tape to determine if that will give you enough space (or too much) and then adjust as needed.

The bare table method:

Simulating a set table is a good visual way to take measurements but it’s definitely not a must. If you want to get an idea of what size you need without taking out the china, just measure from the center of the table to the edge of the table for each setting area. Then subtract the minimum distance recommended (15” for standard 12” plates) and multiply it by 2 to get the correct diameter of your lazy susan. Remember only you know how many things are on the table so you’ll want to account for those when thinking about the right size.

When trying to find the right size of a lazy susan for round or square tables, both of these methods are pretty straightforward. But what do you do for other shapes like oval or rectangular tables?

For oval tables:

Using the same method mentioned before, find where the center of the lazy susan will be and measure out to the edge of the table for each setting. Subtract the minimum distance (see above) and then multiply it by 2 to find the diameter. The only difference here is that the distances will not be equal so it’s important to measure all sides and adjust your measurements so that the head of the table is not reaching and the side of the table is not overcrowded. With an oval table you may have to compromise with a slightly smaller lazy susan in order for it to be most efficient. However before you make that decision, take the measurements, ask yourself the questions and then make the call.

For rectangular tables:

The size of your lazy susan on a rectangular table depends on whether it’s a normal sized table or a grand dining table that is typically longer. For the normal sized, you’ll want to take the same measurements as you would for a square table but like the oval table, these measurements are probably not be balanced. Make adjustments to your measurements keeping in mind how much room is typically needed.

For grand dining tables, you’ll want to take the same measurements above but depending on how wide the table is, you’re best bet is to decide where all the table settings will be first. This way you can determine the best place for the lazy susan and the best size. That way you won’t have someone at your table eating from a plate in their lap. One fun idea for longer tables is to put two smaller lazy susans at each end. This gives you the convenience you want, and if done right, a great look for your meal.

Reverse method:

If you know the size of your lazy susan and want to make sure it will work, simply reverse the steps like so: to find the radius of your lazy susan, simply divide the diameter by 2. That number is the radius and you can use it to find out where the edge of the lazy susan will be. Then measure from that edge to the end of the table leaving the appropriate amount of distance (15” for standard 12” plates). If the diameter is not available, simply measure from the center of the lazy susan to the edge for the radius. Then proceed to measure from that area on the table to the edge.

Wooden lazy susans are a fun, tasteful way to serve your guests and family. With a few uses, you’ll probably wonder how you ever ate without it. Once you take into account all these factors and determine the right size, you’re sure to get enjoyment out of them for years to come.


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