How to Maximize Your Seating Capacity Based on Your Existing Room

September 27, 2019

Let’s say you are faced with the following situation: you want a space that is both visually pleasing and comfortable, but you need to make sure you maximize seating capacity in your existing room. After doing some research, you find that loose chairs will not deliver the results that you are looking for, so fixed seating will need to be explored.

The main goal may be to maximize your existing room, but you also want to make sure the space provides comfort and a nice, visual aesthetic.

As manufacturers of lecture hall and auditorium seating, we understand the importance of choosing chairs that not only maximize capacity but look and feel great. In this article, we will discuss what types of fixed seating yield the highest seat count and then discuss two main things to look for when choosing a chair that will maximize your seating capacity in an existing room.

Types of Chairs That Will Yield the Highest Seat Count

Auditorium chairs typically yield the highest seat count, followed by beam/pedestal seating, then fixed tables with swing away chairs throughout.

Maximizing seating capacity can be a compromise between trying to achieve your seat count and comfort of your audience. There will be two areas to look at: the shoulder spacing or seat-to-seat spacing and the row-to-row spacing.

Things to Consider with Each Type of Chair

Each type of product has a required minimum seat-to-seat spacing and/or recommendation

Auditorium Seating

  • Can go as small as 19” center of seat to center of seat. While this is achievable, will this be realistic for all types of individuals?
  • Another thing to consider is that certain auditorium chairs that include tablets, with 20” on center seat spacing, could further constrain movement. Will this be realistically comfortable for all body types?

Beam Seating

  • Seat-to-seat spacing for beam seating is dependent on the chair shell, with the smallest shell requiring a minimum of 21.5” on center. However, a manufacturer might be able to customize chair shells that are less than 20” on center. This will need to be a discussion you have with that manufacturer.

Fixed Tables with Swing Away Seating

  • Fixed tables with swing away chairs can be specified with 24” on center spacing for some shells, but typically, recommended spacing is 27” and with larger chairs, 30” spacing.

What to Consider for Row-to-Row Spacing

  • There are minimum row-to-row spacing requirements by code that need to be adhered to, with rules slightly different for different products. A project engineer will layout the rooms to adhere to code.
  • Tablet arms on auditorium chairs may require the row-to-row spacing to be wider in order to be code compliant.
  • Fixed tables with loose chairs require more row-to-row spacing to be compliant. To reach maximum capacity, a better solution is to use swing away arms with fixed tables, as this option has less row-to-row spacing requirements for egress.

With the right product selection, seat-to-seat spacing and row-to-row spacing, you can maximize capacity to a certain seat count. Don’t let any of this information overwhelm you. A reputable manufacturer will be able to walk you through all your options step-by-step and present you with the best possible choice to maximize capacity while offering comfortable seating.

Sedia Systems is the leading global manufacturer of lecture hall and auditorium furniture. We offer the widest range of fixed seating for the education, corporate, healthcare, government, and public assembly markets.

If you are looking for a manufacturer for your next fixed seating project or have questions regarding maximizing seating capacity, contact us directly or leave a comment below.

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