A big consideration in pool table dimensions is the endless question of how much space to leave around the table for free play. We have the answers for you at About.com.
Dimensions in pool tables require much aforethought at times. The hidden calculation for room owners is the pool table itself plus the free and clear space chosen to surround the table itself. You simply must avoid the walls and ceilings that can be struck by an errant cue stick!
Adding the table and "the clear and present space" about it is simple, especially if you plan to use typical cue lengths of 58 inches or so. You can get a few mini-cues, too, for work in tight spaces, but...
...Shooters at your tables ought to enjoy five feet clear on each side, or more, to allow for a cue to be placed and stroked comfortably. So add 10 feet to each pool table's dimension of width and length:
- A 4½ x 9 foot table needs 14½ x 19 feet of floor space or more
- A 4 x 8 or "bar" table = 14 x 18 feet of floor space for its rest
- A 3½ x 7 foot table = 13½ x 17 feet of floor space
That's five feet or times two = ten feet at a minimum. If the cue ball is along a cushion so that I have the cue stick's tip just on the rail, to take a backstroke I'll need to either elevate my stick so I don't break a wall or window, or else use a shortened stick, a shaft without a butt end, etc. and that's no fun.
One of the photos that accompanies this article is of me shooting pool aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas in the Gulf of Mexico. There, one needs not only room for swinging cues but for the seasick to roll about in high seas. What can I say? That's just one of those odd considerations that comes up when planning an unusual pool hall space.
One of the tradeoffs to consider in a tight space is a smaller table versus stronger opportunities for high level play. For example, should you buy a nine foot table and be cramped on certain shots or else have room to play on an eight foot table comfortably?
This is a tough choice as I'd recommend in most cases getting the biggest table you can afford. If you play in a league on eight foot tables, after working out at home on your nine footer for a while, you are going to be amazed at how well you play on the smaller table. If I didn't have room for a big table, I'd knock down a few walls in the den and/or ask the in-laws to move. I might ask them to move anyway...
Leave enough space in your pool table dimensions planning and you will be thrilled by your "shooting" results. And as always, I'm as near as your e-mail for all your many billiards, snooker and pool questions.