I'm looking to install a pool table but I'm not sure if it is possible in the space I have.
The area is 8.5' by 17' (2.6m x 5.2m).
Would this be enough room to play any sized table without play being hindered?
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TL;DR: Your room is too small to allow you to easily play pool.
The minimum for the short side of the room is around 13".
The basic rule is that you need 4.5" all around the table to allow a player to "enter" the cue.
A standard pool table is 5 feet by 10 feet, leaving 1.5 feet at each side of it, if installed in your room.
The average person would struggle to walk around your table, let alone play on it.
There are smaller sizes of table, but given the standard cue of 4 to 5 feet and the need for at least half that distance in making a stroke from the cushion, you would barely get 1 foot of playing surface across. Suffice it to say, you do not have enough space for playing pool.
Use this to visualize it. You need more space to make shots against the rail, even for a 7-foot (bar size) pool table. If it's just for fun or if you have shorter pool cues, you might be able to get by. Ideally, you should have 40% extra room for a standard 4.9' pool cue for stroking, which would require an extra 6.9' offset on each side of the pool table, excluding obstacles in the room.