How Much Room Do You Need for a Ping Pong Table?

Table tennis is the kind of game that can be played by people of all ages, on indoor or outdoor tables. It is a very good way for you to stay active while still having fun in a social environment. A question that often comes up is, how big does a room need to be to play table tennis indoors?

This article will familiarize you with some basic table tennis table dimensions and ensure that you have enough space around the table to be able to play some serious ping pong. 

To see the best ping pong tables, check out “10 Best Ping Pong Tables Reviewed in 2021“.

group of young startup business people playing ping pong tennis at modern creative office

There many factors that need to be considered for an indoor ping pong table…

Indoor Recreation Options

A ping pong table provides indoor recreation options even when the weather outside is not that great. An indoor table does take up a large amount of space, however, and you will need ample room at each end of the table to volley the ball back and forth. For a full-size table that is 9 feet long and 5 feet wide, you will ideally need a clear area of space of at least 19 feet long and 11 feet wide to play the game without feeling too cramped. 

While it is pretty much possible to play with less than 5 feet of clearance at each end of the table and 3 feet on each side, this amount of space allows much less room for you to move freely for an unobstructed game. Especially if you are hosting players who are more experienced and aggressive, they may often want to stand much farther behind the table, which requires considerably more playing space. 

The position of the table within the room in relation to your furniture and lighting can also be important. Chairs and sofas might get in the way of the game, and a low-hanging light fixture above the table may be hit far too often by stray balls or even with ping pong paddles. So let’s get into a deeper understanding of a few of the other factors that might influence your decision to set up a table tennis table in your home.

The Height of the Ceiling

Your ceiling height should certainly be taken into consideration. Rooms with high ceilings are far more likely to work as ping pong game rooms, so we have found that many of our friends have set up their tables in their garages or basements. Low ceilings can make it difficult to lob the ping pong ball, which can seriously curtail the level of play.

Playing at home can be great fun, but it can sometimes be cramped. Before setting up your table in a specific room, make sure there are as few hanging chandeliers and lamps as possible. It can be quite frustrating if the flow of the game is obstructed regularly. So we highly recommend that you plan for a clear aerial space of at least 6 feet to reduce the number of in-game stoppages. 

The Playing Background 

The playing background is a very important factor that many people overlook. Fast swinging balls become almost impossible to judge and return if your vision is at all impaired. To avoid “blind spots”, make sure that the background behind each end of the table is a dark color such as black or green. Any dark color should be fine, but try to avoid white or orange since many of the latest ping pong balls and paddles are either of these colors. 

The color of the background can easily be changed by painting the walls behind each end of the table with the same color. But if you are playing at home and also care about the look of your walls, hanging curtains can also be an effective alternative. Sticking color wallpaper patterns on the walls can also be an economical and effective way to solve your vision problems. 

The Floor Type 

In international tournaments, the floors of table tennis arenas are usually made of fiberglass. You really do not want to play on tiles or mosaic floors which can cause you to trip at any moment. There are several companies that can arrange your flooring if you can afford to use them. If not, then laying down thin carpets or floor mats can at least prevent you from spraining your ankles or suffering from other injuries.

What Size Room Do I Need For a Table Tennis Table? 

As mentioned above, the exact ping pong table dimensions of a full-size table tennis table are 2.74 meters in length (9 feet). The width of the table is 1.525 meters (5 feet). This should give you a good idea of how much space you will be needing around the table itself.

Obviously, the more room you have overall, the better the space will be for moving around. Common commercial tables like those from Joola will usually list their dimensions on the box, and again, you can easily find out the dimensions when you are browsing tables on Amazon.

Regulation Table Tennis Table Size

ping pong table space chart

The competition play rules as laid out by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) state: 

  • 3.02.03.01: The playing space shall be rectangular and not less than 14m long, 7m wide and 5m high, but the 4 corners may be covered by surrounds of not more than 1.5m length. 

We realize that this seems like a huge amount of space because it is almost 50ft in length! The most important thing to understand is that these official measurements are for professional players who are playing most of the game far away from the table tennis table. Most amateur players will not need nearly this large amount of space. 

For more on table tennis sizes, check out “Ping Pong Table Dimensions (Official Sizes)“.

Standard Table Tennis Table Sizes

No matter how you look at it, table tennis tables are large pieces of game room equipment. The average standard full-size table tennis table dimensions are 9ft by 5ft. To get an accurate idea of how this type of table tennis table will actually fit in your specific playing area, we recommend first using a few pieces of masking tape to outline the size on your floor to truly grasp how large a full-size table tennis table actually is.

It is far bigger than most of the pool tables that you’d find in similar game rooms. Again, our advice would be that for amateurs and beginners, the ideal room size for any full-size table tennis table would need to be about 22 feet x 11 feet.

This still might seem like a fairly large amount of space, but keep in mind that you will always need ample room along the edges of the table if you try to play more challenging shots. It is also important to allow players to move around freely without bumping into other pieces of furniture while they are playing.

In terms of width, you will always need a room that is at least 11 feet wide to house a full-size table tennis table while still being able to walk around each side of the table. That measurement is almost unnegotiable for your game room. The length, however, is something you can be a little more flexible with. Again, it mostly depends on what type of player you are or plan to be, as well as the types of players you will be inviting to your game room.

Certainly, children and beginner players are extremely unlikely to play any of their shots far away from the table tennis table. When first starting out, most players tend to play up as close to the table tennis table as possible, because it is far easier to control the ball this way and develop as a player. For all these reasons, a length of 22 feet might not be entirely necessary at the outset.

Minimum Space Required to Play Table Tennis at Home 

So with all that in mind, we would recommend the minimum room size you should consider at home would be about 17 to 18 feet in length. Anything less than this would start to seriously affect the level of play and you would struggle with attempting new shots as you develop as a player. Of course, a room that is only 17 feet long is going to be quite tight and you still will not be able to take large backswings on certain shots.

Again, though, for children or amateur players, it would offer sufficient space to play the game without many skill shots. We would not recommend purchasing a table tennis table if your room is any smaller than 17 feet x 11 feet. The only time this size room might be feasible is if you are going to mostly be playing with your table tennis table in a playback position on your own. A full-size table tennis table is 9 feet long and so you will need at the very least 3.5 feet at each end of the table. The width of a table is 5 feet and you will need a bare minimum of 3 feet on either side of it. 

Recommended Room Size for Doubles Games 

If you plan to play a lot of doubles games on your table tennis table, the space would need to be even bigger. You might be looking at an ideal space of 24 feet x 14 feet as the room dimensions. The bare minimum for doubles play would be something like 19 feet x 11 feet but again, it would be a tight squeeze and it would only really be recommended for younger players. You really do not want people playing doubles games in a room that is too small. 

Doubles play is not something we would recommend for most beginners in general. Until you have developed your game and are able to have some control over the ball, doubles play can lead to serious paddle injuries and other problems. Lots of players end up hitting each other with their paddles when swinging for the ball. Many amateur doubles players are too wild and their swings are too long, which can easily cause damage to the table tennis table, the surrounding walls, or other parts of your table tennis room. 

In general, it is better to use a short backswing for the majority of your game. Both your backhand and forehand shots should use short, powerful swings to keep you in position to respond more quickly. A shorter backswing allows you to precisely and accurately hit the ping pong ball. We recommend using long swings only when you are trying to hit offensive topspin shots.

Horizontal outdoor blue ping pong table with metallic net in a park covered in autumn leaves

Make sure you get a good quality cover to protect your outdoor table from the elements.

Outdoor Table Tennis Tables 

If you really don’t have that much space inside but you do have plenty of space outdoors, there is an incredible great range of outdoor table tennis tables. In our neighborhood, so many of the houses are very small but they are built on big plots of land. If you live in an area like this, then an outdoor table is the way to go. They are durable and mostly weather-resistant and they can be used all year round if you live in a place with a mild climate. 

Best of all, when planning an outdoor ping pong table, you really don’t have to worry about the amount of available space at all. Some other considerations that come up with outdoor ping pong tables are how to prevent the table from getting damaged (often with a hard table tennis cover) and what to do with the table when the weather gets too nasty.

To enjoy your outdoor space and learn a few tips that can improve your progress as a player, try watching some of the very best table tennis players at ping pong tournaments. There are plenty of tutorials available on Youtube, and you can also attend some table tennis matches in person. Watching some of the professional players in action in international tournaments or even in the Olympic Games can really inspire you to improve many of your own skills and use your table tennis table as much as possible.

Making a Final Decision

As you can see, there is no perfect answer regarding the room size you need for a full-size table tennis table simply because there are so many variables you will need to consider, but hopefully, this basic information will give you a lot of things to think about as you go about planning your table tennis room. Take a look at our very helpful chart to give you an idea of how to go about designing your very own game room.

One major advantage of setting up your table tennis table like this is to constantly give your brain a good workout. Simply spend a few hours behind your end of the table, keep an eye on the ping pong ball, and keep in mind all of the amazing mental benefits you are getting from the game. One of the most important benefits is what the game is doing for your mental health.

Buying Your Table

You’ll be able to find full-size table tennis tables at most big department stores or on Amazon. Browse through some of your options and select a table with a playing surface that you think will be best for you and your family. Always remember that table tennis has a long list of amazing health benefits that very few people are really aware of. For all of these reasons, the sport continues to grow every year and it remains one of the few sports that anyone from any age can learn to play. 

So whether you decide to play ping pong at the local recreational center, a table tennis club, or if you have enough room, at your house with some friends, always remember that it is a fun game that offers a perfect way to bond with a wide range of other people. Because people of all ages can play the game at similar levels, it can really help improve communication and build better relationships.

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Riley Draper

Riley Draper

Avid table tennis player, world traveler, and content creator. Follow on Twitter. Connect on LinkedIn.