Always find your dining table too small for those dinner parties, family and holiday gatherings?
You need an extendable dining table!
Have you thought about buying a dining table with an extension before but, never got around to it. Instead, for your larger dinner gatherings, you bring out the folding tables from the basement and either try to faux-extend your current table or you create a second seating area…or maybe you don’t have an extra table and you simply squeeze everyone in to the small table – elbows and all.
Card table (as I am used to calling it) or folding table can be saved from the messy dinner plates and kept pristine for playing cards.
I say, save the card table for cards 🙂
The Flexibility of an Extendable Dining Table
Having a dining table with an extension leaf or leaves, you can easily transform your table into the size you need when you need it. Maintain the smaller table size for everyday use, and transform it into the larger dining table when you have multiple dinner guests.
Two Tables for the Price of One
I suggest that if you are in the market for a new dinner table, why not consider a dining table with extensions. You get dinner guest flexibility and versatility without much fuss, or added cost.
There are basically 3 types of extensions available for dining tables. There are the traditional – and newer versions of this classic – folding drop leaf extension tables, the classic leaf extensions typically inserted into the middle of the table, and the new and improved butterfly leaf extension system which folds into and under the table top.
1. Folding Drop Leaf Extensions
Classic folding leaf extensions were originally found on this iconic Duncan Phyfe dining table.
Duncan Phyfe Drop Leaf Table
The drop leaves on a Duncan Phyfe dining table are generally quite large. This makes the table much larger when extended and quite small when not extended. This allows one to maximize room space when the leaves are not extended – one of the great benefits of extendable dining tables.
Notice that with this older design of a drop leaf table, when the large leaves are folded down, it takes us much less space but, it is almost unusable as a dining table. I suppose you could sit 2 people at either side opposite of the drop leaves…not particularly useful.
While not readily available today except at antique and second hand stores, online selling forums, or estate sales, similarly styled drop leaf tables are available today but with much more versatility and usability.
Modern Version of a Duncan Phyfe Drop Leaf Table
Here is a modern – or at least new – version of the antique designed Duncan Phyfe drop leaf table. This modern take still maintains a classic styling with turned legs and routered table top edges.
The magic of this design is that it is super space saving taking up very little space when unexpanded. when unexpanded, it resembles a console or even a sofa table.
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A modern take on this practical folding leaf table is this wooden dining table. Instead of 2 large drop leaves on either end, this dining table has 4 drop folding leaves on each of the 4 sides.
The rounded folding sections are not nearly the size of the Duncan Phyfe table making it usable both as a smaller square table and a larger round table.
Size of Extendable Leaves
The design elements of the drop leaves are important to the functionality of this table. The drop leaves are small enough to fold and tuck completely under the table. This allows for complete usage of the table when in the smaller size. You do not have the leaves dropping down – literally – which would make it more difficult, or more uncomfortable, to seat oneself without potentially banging your knees on the leaf.
Essentially, this extendable dining table design with drop-leaves has the leaves but, has dropped the ‘drop’ part of it – making the table completely usable in both forms.
Sit 4 very comfortably at this round / square table with the fold-down leaves folded under the table.
Dining Table Tip: Generally, any square table, regardless of the length or width, suits numbers in multiple of 4. For example, a 48″ square table sits 4 very comfortably with lots of room for extra dishes (and elbows). While you could sit 8 guests, it will be quite tight – and you may end up with a fight of the elbows, and certainly NO extra space for extra food or drinks. To sit 8 at a square table, it would be better to have a table of at least 60″ wide.
Square and Round Extendable Dining Tables
With the 4 leaves fully extended, the table has now been transformed into a round table. With the rounded drop-leaves extended, you can easily add at least another 2 chairs or guests at your table.
Butcher Block Extendable Dining Tables
Want a different style of extendable dining table? Even this rustic butcher block table is extendable. Where, you say? The drop leaf ends extend to add another 2-3 feet of dining space – potentially adding another 6 guests – mind you, cozily – at your table.
Modern Glass Extendable Dining Tables
Looking for a more modern version of a drop-leaf dining table…look no further.
This glass leaf extension table is not exactly a folding leaf extension table but, it does fit into this category due to the leaf extensions. The leaf extensions do not fold over the end of the table but, rather are cleverly hidden or stored under the table top. Not only does this add to the functionality, the glass exposes the decorative and artistic chrome mechanisms.
Adding any glass dining table to your dining room will add a splash of modern or contemporary. With this glass extendable dining table, you get the desired look with the added benefit of great flexibility and style.
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Black Glass Top Extendable Dining Table
Looking for a sleek glass top look with a hint of natural wood. Consider this deluxe fully extendable dining table with frosted black glass top and wooden rectangular base.
With the addition of the wood base, this modern extendable dining table takes on an almost mid-century modern look. Whatever style file you think this table fits into, it looks ultra stylish and modern and also has the completely useful functionality of having built-in glass extensions.
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2. Center leaf extensions
The next generation of extendable dining tables is the center leaf extension design. Practical and flexible, a center leaf extension or multiple extensions has the capability to almost double the amount of seating. Most often, a center leaf extension table will have more room for expansion than the drop leaf version. So, if you need a lot of extra dining space, a center leaf extension will be preferable to the drop folding leaf table.
If space is an issue for you, look for a center leaf table which is able to store the extra leaf or leaves under the table. Otherwise, plan on making space in a closet or laundry room where the leaves won’t be damaged.
Rustic Extendable Dining Tables
For an even more rustic dining table look, you may want to consider this chunky wood version of extendable dining tables – with a center leaf extension.
This rustic, harvest styled dining table will work well for a more casual dining room setting. Again, I am amazed at what styles of extendable dining tables are available today. In the past, we would have thought that a harvest table would be the size that the carpenter made it…period. Today, you can have that wonderful hand-made, worn look and still get the added bonus of having a larger table when necessary.
I call that a ‘having your cake and eating it’ moment! Actually, I would say all of the tables featured here are just that. You get the style you desire with the functionality you need.
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Round and Oval Extendable Dining Tables
Round or oval dining tables are also available in extendable versions. Many round dining tables come with an extra leaf or two making the table longer for larger gatherings. Not that it is an issue – only if you do not like the look – but, most round extendable dining tables will have a center base foundation, as is typical of many round tables.
Pedestal Base Extendable Dining Tables
As you can see from the dining room above, the round or oval dining table has a center pedestal as its base.
While most dining tables with a pedestal base will be round, you can also find them in a rectangular shape. In order to have a rectangular shape, they must have 2 pedestal base feet. Any dining table which has 2 pedestal bases will most often be large and look very grand – as the one shown below.
This extendable dining table with hand carved pedestal bases is the epitome of GRAND!
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Shiny Modern Extendable Dining Tables
Traditionally, it was thought that only wood or wood-like tables could include extensions. This is no longer true. Extendable tables with extra leaves can be found in various types of materials. This very modern solid shiny black table is just one example.
Strikingly modern, this table will take you from sitting 6 to over 12 with its extendable leaves. So for you modern lovers, there is an extendable dining table for you too.
3. Butterfly Leaf Extensions
The newest version of the extendable dining table comes in the form of the table having butterfly extensions. This butterfly extension design is very clever. You get all of the benefits of having an extended table without having to store your table leaves in a closet, laundry room or basement. We all know that when something gets left in another room, there is always that chance that there could be damage – for whatever reason. Out of sight – out of mind.
This out of sight, out of mind saying can be applied to this style of extendable table. Because the leaf is actually stored underneath the table, it is completely safe and out of sight…and only out of mind until you are in need of extending your table.
Classic Styled Extendable Tables
For a more classical traditional country-feel dining room, you may want to opt for this butterfly leaf designed classic country styled dining table and chairs.
Aged Wood Extendable Dining Tables
For a more modern version of a butterfly leaf extendable table, you may like this aged-wood look table done in a very boxy geometric design – a definitely modern contemporary look – but with all of the extendable and leaf-hidable functionality.
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Mid-Century Modern Extendable Dining Tables
A nod to mid-century modern with the added bonus of extra table length can be found in this teak dining table. It, too has, a butterfly leaf in the middle.
Large Butterfly Leaf Dining Tables
If you have a large family or often have large dinner parties, you will be looking for a larger dining table, and definitely one which is extendable.
You can get dining tables with extensions which are extendable to seat well over 8 guests.
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Which Extendable Dining Table is Best for You?
Whatever style of extendable dining table you choose, whether folding drop-leaf, center leaf extension or butterfly hidden leaves, you are sure to have made the correct choice. After all, even if you only use the extensions only once or twice a year, when you do, it will be well worth it.
Enjoy your new extendable dining table tonight! But, be careful…with all of this extra room at your dining table, your guests may not want to leave!
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8 Replies to “3 Types of Extendable Dining Tables – Which One is Best for You?”
I have found this article very helpful. I have been looking for an extendable dining table for a while now and you gave me some great considerations. Glass tables are not my thing. I have chosen to go with a butterfly extension table..
Glad the article was helpful. It is amazing to see the various types of extendable tables there are available on the market today.
Hope you like your new table!
I myself bought an extendable dining table with center leaf extensions which are stored right under the table top – very convenient for easy access when you want to extend the table and takes up no storage space at all.
I love it for both reasons!
Wow! I did not realize that there were so many glass extendable table options available. I have always liked modern furniture and would love to buy a glass extendable dining table for its flexibility in sizing and seating.
It is amazing what designers have come up with in recent years. Thank-you for shedding light on that.
I now need to go shopping!
Yes, even I – as an Interior Decorator and Designer – find the selection of glass extendable dining room tables quite amazing. Makes it easy now to get the flexible dining room seating along with maintaining a modern decor style.
Happy shopping! Hope you find the right table for you and your home!
I didn’t see my extendable table. I’m trying to find out what kind it is. My table is square at its smallest. You lift up the top (top is not attached much like a removable leaf) that looks a bit like a card table, then the table pulls apart and you place the top right in the middle making the table rectangular. Any help identifying this is much appreciated.
I think I know the type of extendable table you are talking about. I would call it a hinged fold top extendable table. They are sometimes referred to as a convertible table perhaps because they are more limited in their expansion sizes. However, I believe they still fit into this extendable table category.
I have found a similar one which has – when unexpanded – a double layered top like yours. It also has hinges and folds from both sides.
I will be adding one of these extendable (or convertible) tables to my post – thanks to you!
ps. I tried to find a square table like yours but, it was difficult to find, so if you have a photo and would like to share, I would love to see it too!
Thanks again, Shelly!