Gather Around an Extendable Dining Table for the Whole Family

Whether it’s for the holidays or a casual get-together, there are plenty of occasions to have people gather around the dining table. That said, a regular table for four isn’t going to cut it in these situations. Rather than bring out folding card tables or let any surface become a drink holder, consider investing in an extendable dining table to get the best of both worlds: a dining table you can use everyday for your household, and one that can handle the extended family come your turn to host Thanksgiving.

An extendable dining table opens up a dining space by allowing more people to join in on the festivities (by Casabella Interiors)

An extendable dining table is a table that can be pulled apart and have one or more segments (or leaves) inserted in the middle that create more surface area and a generally larger table on the same foundations. The key point in having one is to ensure there’s space for everyone around the table, no matter how many people you’re hosting. The dining table is often the central hub of a party, where people go for drinks, snacks, and light conversation. Being able to extend that surface allows you to comfortably have more people in one place than your dining area would normally allow.

Dark Oak Wood Grain Melamine Extendable Console / Dining Table, TC-540B-DO by Casabianca

But not every day is a party, which is where an extendable dining table is better than a simply large one. If you don’t need a big table all the time, it’s nice to have one you can “put away” when you don’t have guests, but still use daily as a regular size dining table. Being able to remove segments of the table also opens up space in your dining room that you don’t have when the extended dining table is set up, which can keep it from feeling a little too-full year round.

Clear Glass Extendable Dining Table, CB-095 by Casabianca

On some models, the leaves are built in, making transitioning between a small and large table a snap. When not in use, the extra table segments can either be slid underneath the surface or tipped over to lay against the table legs. This makes all the pieces easily accessible for on-the-spot entertaining and for a quick takedown when the party is over.

When not in use, the table leaves and extra chairs need to be stored away so as not block off your dining area (by Charlie & Co. Design, Ltd.)

If you don’t have built-in leaves, though, storing all the pieces when not in use can be a downside; either they take up space in storage, or act as clutter in your dining area. Not to mention, a lot of dining spaces are simply too small to have an extended dining table and its accompanying seats all of the time. The leaves are flat boards and can be set up against a closet wall without much issue, but the chairs are where this problem is more noticeable as they typically can’t be stacked in a corner.

A custom bench means you can fit more people around your extendable table than regular chairs and they don’t have to be put away when not in use (by Rethink Design Studio)

One solution to this storage problem is to get creative with extra seating. Benches, whether store-bought or custom-made, help accommodate more people in the same space than typical chairs. These can wrap around hard corners that chairs don’t fit and use up empty space that would be wasted otherwise. Another idea is to supplement your dining chairs with folding or stacking chairs instead of more of your main dining chairs, as they take up significantly less room and are easy to setup and take down. Sure, they don’t look pretty, but when it’s actually party time people care more about being able to sit than what that furniture looks like.

An extendable dining table is great for anyone who entertains – whether it’s only sometimes or on the regular – because of its versatility in size. While it may not be the perfect fit for all households, this type of table is great for those who want more mileage out of their dining table than you can get with a traditional four-seat one.