11 Expandable Dining Tables To Help You Make Space AND Save Space

"Efficiently dining: expandable tables save space."
11 Expandable Dining Tables To Help You Make Space AND Save Space
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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Having a flexible space is somewhat of a necessity in many modern urban homes where room dimensions can be challenging. However, flexible space is perfect for creating an office combo dining room or a dining room that may double as a play area for the kids. An easy way to create flexibility is to have an expandable table.

Leaf tables have been around for decades and are a valuable asset for creating a dining room experience, folding away, and using the space for something else.

In this article, we will explore expandable tables, so you are informed when deciding if you should purchase or not.

Let's get into it.

What are the different types of extendable tables?

With dining tables taking up so much valuable space, there is an array of flexible tables available that are space-saving with innovative designs. Of course, we have the tried and tested designs such as:

  • Drop leaf table. It's called a leaf table due to its two-hinged leaves that fold up to create a larger table or even just a half table for intimate dining. The Scandinavians have taken the leaf table to new heights with some clever designs and superb wood choices.
  • The butterfly leaf is an ingenious way of stowing away the expandable table component parts, then, when extended, open out in the shape of butterfly wings. It is a popular design usually combined with a family dining table to increase tabletop space when you have guests or a celebration meal.
  • The leaf table, not to be confused with the drop leaf table, offers a little extra tabletop space, say for a family meal, and then a smaller table top for intimate or individual dining.
  • Stow away tables and chairs, perfect for alfresco dining or cocktails at sunset in the garden. It is what it says, and it's a table that folds flat. It's associated with garden furniture as an occasional table rather than a table that you would sit at for a boisterous evening of BBQ and drinks.

Let's get into the expandable table.

1. Drop leaf table

Something about simplicity makes a style statement of its own, and the region of the world that is master of making complex look simple is Scandinavia.  The sleekness of the design, the tones, and the wood quality was used to turn this minimalist table into a piece of art more than furniture.

Unmistakable in its origins, when this leaf table opens up fully, you are presented with a gorgeous dining table where that family can sit and enjoy every meal.

Alternatively, you could open one table leaf for the kid's breakfast before they leave for school. Leaving it erect for you to sit and enjoy a coffee while catching up on the day's news or reading the next chapter of your book.

However, if you use a drop leaf table, it could be an essential piece of furniture for every home; it's versatile and, when folded away, opens up the space for a different activity or the serenity of open space within your home.

2. Dining on a grand scale

For those once-in-a-blue-moon dining experiences where you have enough guests coming over to fill the town hall, you will need something more than a cute drop-leaf table to satisfy the dining needs of so many people.

Although you have many guests and need a bigger table than a drop-leaf table, you could have a table with the drop-leaf's initial dimensions.

You see, with advances in technology and engineering, it's possible to have a tiny table that transforms into something akin to a vast dining table by using an extendable arm.

You could easily seat ten people at this table when it's fully expanded.

The elegance of this table is manifold! It allows flexibility in your home's space and transforms into a dining table fit for a banquet when called for. Advances in material technology allow for such large expandable tables with flexing and distortion of the tabletop or legs. It is an engineering triumph in many ways.

3. Another variation on the drop leaf table

Drop leaf tables come in all shapes and sizes for the home, depending on the size of your family. Don't think that having a drop leaf table excludes you from having a dining room. On the contrary, many dining rooms are kept for the beautiful plates and plated cutlery for guests who occasionally arrive.

Whereas open dining spaces that could include a conservatory could make great use of a drop leaf table to keep the room flexible and multifunctional. 

The rectangular drop leaf table is a favorite with families, it can simply be pulled away from the wall, opened out, and you are ready for your family meal in just a few minutes.

It's acceptable to find a mishmash of seating with a drop-leaf table. The seating is typically stackable to create space and lightweight to be stored, say in the garage or utility room, out of sight, out of mind kind of mentality. There are always compromises to be made when you have a flexible living area.

4. Is it a storage unit? A desk or a dining table?

If you are going to compete in this space, you need to have innovative ideas to keep pace with the competition, and that's a good thing. Innovation in home furnishings can be lacking and even non-existent to a greater extent.

This superbly designed modular unit can transform from a storage unit to a desk with more than adequate working space. With its handsome oak wood finish, it will fit in with most home decor. The piece de resistance is the pivoting desk top which transforms into t a dining table for four people.

The incredible design creates a dining table that can sit perfectly in many dining rooms. Still, the dual functionality aspect makes this piece of furniture an innovative masterclass of furniture design and functionality.

5. Classic stowaway breakfast bar

If you have a farmhouse-style kitchen and are looking to add a new dimension to the kitchen, try adding this simple but effective and efficient stow-a-way breakfast bar. Its skeel lines are accentuated by the white color of the bar and chairs.  

The difference between this table and chairs is there are no hidden slides and levers and no legs to pull out to support an expanding table top. You simply slide the unit with chairs horizontally to the wall.

Instantly without drama, you can create extra space in your kitchen in just one action of sliding the table and chairs away.

It's perfect for a busy home kitchen with kids running in and out or for a couple who are downsizing down the brood has fled the roost.

6. More than just a kitchen island

Kitchen islands are great, and they add that extra work surface for preparing food like veggies. They make an excellent leaning point when you can sit with your head in your hand, figuring out what went wrong with the sponge recipe. 

But if you could have an island that doubled as a breakfast bar and dining table, would you be tempted to investigate further?

This kitchen island is hiding a cool trick. It doubles as a dining table or breakfast bar while remaining a functional piece of the kitchen.

The design has hidden away a table top that pulls out to reveal more than enough space for two to dine in comfort on a generously sized table.

Kitchen islands have been missing a beat for a long time, and finally, someone has created the ideal solution for eating in a small kitchen.

It's the perfect place to feed the kids while you carry on preparing food; it is always a benefit to be able to keep an eye on the kids while they eat.

7. Old school rustic style

So many times, we buy new furnishings for convenience and miss what's right before our eyes. The beauty and integrity of old-school dining furniture may never be recaptured if we let this authentic look despair from our lives.

What's so Different? Everything is different. The craftsmanship of a hand-built table is a testament to the skills of carpenters who used a hand saw, plane, hammer, and wood chisels. That's the difference.

How many tables do you see with dovetail joints today in the modern world? Not many unless you are paying tens of thousands of dollars for a table.

The robustness of the rustic table is aesthetically pleasing. With a bit of wear and tear, a table of this stature can make or break a dining area, Not to mention the perfectly functioning leaf system that has been used thousands of times during the life of the table.

Expandable tables have a lot of history!

8. The 70s revived

It was laminated with Formica and casters on the supporting legs for the leaf. It's a blast from the past that still brings joy and presence into a small space with limited dining options, such as on your lap!

But as we move into the age of technology, the leaf table also needs to catch up with the times and become multi-functional instead of sitting in the corner looking pretty.

The table is the perfect environment for a home office or just sitting with a coffee and catching up with social media likes. The additional storage space meant originally for plates and glasses makes for excellent storage space for stationary or a desktop computer.

When the occasion arises, the table can be shown in its full glory as it was intended back in the day when flower power was the rage.

9. The butterfly effect

The butterfly effect assumes a small action can have enormous repercussions in a chaotic world. Small changes, significant results. To some extent, you could use that theory with the butterfly table. It is a table that expands by using a clever mechanism of hinges that open and fold table tops, creating larger dining tables.

It is a great design, and the average table can be extended easily simply by opening each embed of the table to allow the butterfly to open out fully. Then every section is pushed home to create a seamless tabletop.

In terms of saving space, you will save some space, but if you are looking for huge gains, then this table may not be for you. It's well suited for family dining rooms that need occasional extra table tops for guests and special events.

10. Stow leaf table

To extend the storage table, the extenders are slid under the table top and then lifted into place using a soft sliding mechanism.

It's a beautiful design concept that allows you to set the table for a surprise guest, or unexpected, whichever way you prefer. You can release the table leaf and extend the table without interrupting other diners and place settings.

It's an ingenious design, but in terms of space-saving, it has limited capabilities.

11. Space saving at its best

You should say it is based on the murphy bed concept of creating additional space in a room when you have finished an activity such as eating or sleeping.

It's so simple and glorious in its execution. Why doesn't every tiny home have this setup? It's a functional storage device that transforms into a dining area for you or your partner.

Its origin is Korean, and if you know about Korean living, then you will appreciate that these people live in extremely small apartments in the city where innovations are a must. Necessity is the mother of all invention!

Final thoughts

There are incredible innovations through technology advancements for creating space in your home using expandable dining tables.

You can achieve a lot with simple ideas and limited budgets, don't think leaf tables are out of your price range; they are not.

Some tables create a lot of space, and others don't. It is your choice.