Jan 02, 2024
Best extendable dining table: Make the most of small spaces
The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Whether you prefer round or square designs, these will suit all of your
The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.
Whether you prefer round or square designs, these will suit all of your dinner party needs
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Measure up properly to ensure your furniture piece sits well in both configurations
There’s everyday dining, and then there are big family occasions that require some extra elbow room. The best extendable dining tables have the ability to accommodate both in equal measure – without compromising on style.
When choosing a table that transforms, the most important factor to consider is space. Measure up properly to ensure your furniture piece sits well in both configurations, allowing for a pair of dining chairs at either end of your table at its fullest extension.
As a general rule, extending dining tables fall into two camps: those with concealed extra pieces – or leaves – that sit within the structure of the table itself; and those with leaves that have to be stored separately. If you’re going for the latter, it’s worth thinking about the storage space you have available and keeping these extra bits easily accessible.
Think too about functionality and how often you intend to lengthen your dining table. Some of the furniture pieces we tested were wonderfully robust and weighty, but the flip side of this is they tended to be so heavy that extending them was a two-person job. That said, we found some tables with seriously shrewd modern mechanisms that enabled us to go from a four to an eight-seater in one fell swoop.
We put our top tables to the test, looking for quality of craftsmanship, great design, affordability and a user-friendly means to extend.
With a material as beautiful and solid as mango wood, you wouldn’t want to interrupt its natural swirling grain and rich variations in tone, which is why we loved this design-led dining table from Made. The extendable parts come in the form of two separate leaves, which simply slot in at either side of the piece.
With a hint at mid-century modern, the table boasts strong angled and sculptural Y-shaped legs, drawing the eye as much to the engineering underneath as it does the tabletop. Add to that functional brass accents and you have a heady mix of rich materials and utilitarian design. A stunning statement piece.
Best: For sustainability
Crafted from solid and sustainable sheesham, this is a functional furniture piece that really celebrates the natural material. The wood boasts a dynamic and vibrant grain with shades going from pale beige through to rich dark brown, with golden tones in between.
The dining table transforms from a six-seater to a generous eight-seater via an integrated extension panel that sits inconspicuously in the centre. We loved the little brass latches on the outside that keep the panel firmly in place. Pleasingly fuss-free in form, this one is all about the visual texture.
Best: For style on a budget
With its hard-edged industrial surface and strong sculptural stand, this is one stylish extendable dining table that successfully mimics a much more expensive furniture piece. In white and grey, the tabletop and base resemble concrete with its irregular natural patina but the table is, in fact, made from a mix of manufactured wood and laminated board.
This is another table that easily morphs from a six-seater to an eight-seater – this time via a removable central leaf. Its centred V-shaped stand is a clear aesthetic feature but beyond that, it allows dinner guests to sit comfortably without knocking knees on table legs. A chic (and affordable) contemporary statement.
Best: For homely warmth
Crafted from solid oak and with oak veneers, this is a wonderfully homely dining table full of country kitchen charm. Sitting six to eight diners, the compact piece extends generously thanks to a central leaf that’s cleverly hidden underneath the tabletop.
With its warm blond wood, the sonoma brings an immediate sense of calm to any dining space or eat-in kitchen. This extending tabletop doesn’t pretend to be one continuous piece, rather it makes a feature out of its three sections with lines that run in the opposite direction of the main wood grain. This one’s beautifully crafted and boasts simple design with great functionality.
Best: For versatility
Getting top marks for versatility, this handsome furniture piece can transform from a cosy four-seater right up to an impressive 10-person table – ideal for large family gatherings. The clever design allows for three configurations; add one or two extension leaves in the centre to suit your dining needs.
It boasts smooth, warm walnut veneers with an attractive grain, giving it a sleek, contemporary finish, while its fuss-free boxy shaping is one for minimalists who appreciate a clean line. The drio table is a solid and sturdy one that, we found, takes two to extend.
Best: Round/oval table
We loved this round-to-oval dining table with its classic butterfly-style extension mechanism in the centre – ideal if you don’t have the space (or inclination) to store any extra pieces. It’s made from solid wood with a homely, honey-blond finish, making it as much a smart kitchen table as it is one for the dining room.
The banbury is on the smaller side and will comfortably seat four adults – but in reality, six is rather cosy. What it lacks in size, however, it makes up for in affordability. Simple and stylish with smooth, user-friendly functionality.
Best: For a speedy extension
With a knowing nod to Eero Saarinen’s classic mid-century tulip table, Dwell’s offering combines playful retro-futurism with a nifty, hi-tech extending mechanism: you’ll want to wait until your guests arrive before you pull it out, spin it around, and lock it into place – this proves quite the party piece.
Crafted from ceramic, glass, fibreglass and metal, the table is reliably weighty, yet it has an elegant silhouette with a delicate marble effect on its top. This is also highly durable, boasting heat, stain and fade-resistant properties. Once extended, the table can sit up to six diners, and thanks to its central stem, there’s room for legs to stretch out too.
Best: For a country kitchen look
This is another extendable dining table that’s full of country kitchen charm – albeit on the other end of the price scale. Here, a pale oak top is juxtaposed with a chalky mid-blue base. We loved the contrast between the solid colour and the natural wood with its arresting patina.
This is a highly functional table, which is sleek, contemporary and pleasingly chunky: the legs are very slightly tapered giving some shape to the otherwise boxy design. It comes with a pair of extending leaves for either side, which slide into the main frame and are bolted on for extra security. Given the table’s overall heft, this is an important and reliable feature. Once extended, the pantry table will happily seat eight.
Best: For extra legroom
This may look like a humble furniture piece, but true to form from Ikea, it boasts an ingenious design that maximises legroom, putting guests’ comfort at the fore. Where most extendable tables comprise a fixed base and add-on leaves, these legs come with you when you pull the table out to its full extension. With one simple pull, the side leaf is then revealed and placed on top, leaving you with a larger dining table that – like magic – still has a leg in each corner.
Further to the clever design, the white-painted wooden table offers an understated elegance with its clean-lined top. This is a stylish space-saver with seriously shrewd functionality.
We loved Made’s yates extending dining table for its stylish design that celebrates the piece’s functionality as much as it does the beautiful mango wood. The separate leaves need to be stored away but this does mean that the smooth tabletop isn’t interrupted. We were also impressed with Ikea’s cleverly designed ingatorp extendable table that prioritises legroom.
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To create a beautiful dinner setting read our expert guide to tablescaping
Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.Read more:9 best chests of drawers to organise your clothes in style10 best ergonomic office chairs 8 best shoe racks to keep your hallway neat and tidy9 best TV stands that are perfect for box set bingingBest overall Best for sustainabilityBest for style on a budgetBest for homely warmth Best for versatilityBest round/oval table Best for a speedy extensionBest for a country kitchen lookBest for extra legroomBest:Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best: Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best: Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best: Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best:Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best: Rating:Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions: Best: Rating: Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions:Best: Rating: Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions: Best: Rating: Regular dimensions: Extended dimensions: To create a beautiful dinner setting read our expert guide to tablescaping