If you’ve accomplished your dream of living in the “big city” and found home in New York, LA, or any desirable city across the US, your living space is probably smaller than you’d like. Apartments in desirable cities across the country tend to be more compact than the average home in the suburbs, which means we’ve all got to be smart and efficient in how we use the square footage we’ve been allotted. Decorating an apartment in your youth is a tug of war between your taste, how much space you have, what you can afford and how much furniture you want to lug between this apartment and the inevitable next one. A potential solution is renting furniture, a new service targeted at trendy millennials whose aesthetic visions tend to span farther than their bank accounts. Another great life hack is furniture that’s multi-purpose — like ottomans that double as living room storage and mirrors that hook your keys as soon as you walk in the door. Another great interior design hack for anyone, regardless of space? Expanding dining tables.
Expandable dining tables solve a few of the problems above — they’re uniquely flexible when it comes to space, come in a wide range of prices for different budgets and don’t sacrifice design for convenience. Very few other pieces of furniture can literally change size and still serve the same purpose, which is why if you’re a young person decorating your first apartment or a family looking for options when it comes to entertaining — your dining room table should include the option of expanding.
Expandable dining room tables create the option to expand the capacity of the dining area from four to six to sometimes 12 or 14 people depending on the size you get. After your gathering you can return your home to equilibrium, and your table to a size that suits your family. You won’t scrunch guests all together in an uncomfy fashion, and you won’t be sitting six feet from your spouse during your regular weeknight suppers (unless you want to). You can also adjust most of them between a few different sizes with the addition or removal of multiple leaves (more on this below), so you can tailor the size to the exact size of your dinner, lunch or gathering.
How Do Expandable Dining Tables Work?
Expandable dining tables use a “leaf” system, wherein sleets of the wood can be physically removed via four different mechanisms. The four leaf mechanisms are:
- Drop Leaf
- Removable Leaf
- Butterfly Leaf
- Self-Storing Leaf
There are drop leaf tables, where the sides of the surface literally drop off, creating a smaller table and smaller top surface to work with. There are removable leaves, the most common type, where you physically remove the leaf from the table and push the remaining sides together to form a smaller surface. There’s butterfly leaf tables where the leaf splits in half, folds upwards and tucks underneath the table, and there are self-storing leaf tables where the leaf tucks itself under the table.
Any of the four options above will work for those looking to maximize their space. I’d recommend drop leaf tables for those with very limited space, and removable leaf tables for those who have extra storage space for the removed components. Another thing to keep in mind is expandable dining tables tend to be more expensive than the average dining room table due to the options it comes with. However, the extra cash pays off in versatility, adaptability and ease. Here are the best expandable dining tables for entertaining in 2021.
1. Transformer Table
This company popped onto the furniture scene relatively recently with the promise of a 6-in-1 dining room table that suits all of your needs. They certainly deliver — the table can transform from an 18″ desk to a table large enough to fit 12 people, and it’s made of high-quality wood that comes in a few different finishes. All of their tables are made of 100% hardwood and are coated in a ceramic lacquer that’s heat-resistant. The table comes with five removable hardwood panels that you can easily clip in and out of the table. The table is also easy to pull apart or push together for adjusting the size. They sell the table on its own or as a set with a bench included. the four wood finishes range from a light Australian Acacia to an American mahogany and a Canadian dark oak. If you’re interested in an expandable dining area and want options — this is the table I recommend investing in. Their current deal also throws in a free coffee table with your purchase!
One note — since this table is new the current shipping wave won’t arrive until April. Sometimes the best, most worthwhile things take time, right?
2. Rebecca Extendable Dining Table
This expandable dining table has a solid, simple design that’ll look elegant in most spaces. It’s medium-sized, and allows you to expand the capacity from four to six people via a butterfly leaf in the middle. The table is 30″ tall which suits most dining room chairs and the dark wood won’t display stains or wear and tear easily. You can also purchase this table as part of a full set with chairs for a few extra hundred bucks. That being said, I love the idea of pairing this table with some unique vintage chairs or a bench or two to make seating easy.
3. Gray Rutledge Drop Leaf Dining Table
This is the “drop leaf” style of dining room table we described above. Both sides can drop down to narrow the table’s surface and make it a more compact table overall. It seats two people comfortably and can be expanded to four people, making it perfect for first apartments or studios where the space for a large dining room table is limited. It can extend from 30″ to 46″ in length with the leaves out, and at less than $300 it’s a very affordable option.
4. Espresso Spruill Drop Leaf Dining Table
A round table makes a great dining room table. Everyone can see each other and no one will feel left out of the conversation! They’re perfect for breakfast nooks as well if you’ve already got an official dining room and want something closer to the kitchen. This cottage style table has a cute, quaint design and drop leaves on either side that narrow the table top if necessary. This table is made from Asian solid wood with a rich color finish and can comfortably seat four people with the leaves raised.
5. Extendable Pine Solid Wood Dining Table
BEST FOR LARGE GROUPS
Now THIS is a freaking dining room table if I’ve ever seen one. It’s from Kelly Clarkson’s home goods collection and is highly rated. It’s made of solid wood and has a trestle design underneath with carved columns supporting the base and tabletop. The table starts out 88″ long and can extend to 112″ max and comfortably seat 12 people. The wood has a distressed look for character and it’s a removable leaf design so the adjusting takes a bit more work but is worth it. This table will look great surrounded by wooden or neutral chairs and is the perfect addition to a French country motif.
6. Signature Design by Ashley Hammis Dining Room Table
This is the perfect dining room table for a young person furnishing a small apartment because it’s small, adjustable and budget-friendly. It has a contemporary design and a round shape which is great for group gatherings. It’s 36″ wide and deep and 30″ tall, so it fits most dining room chairs easily. There’s some assembly required but users say it’s easy, and it can seat up to four people comfortably. The extension leaves on either side can bend down to make the table more narrow if need be, and there’s no need for extra storage since they’re not removable.
7. Signature Design by Ashley Realyn Dining Room Table
This French country-inspired table has a subtly decorative and sophisticated design that’s perfect for homes looking for a large, expandable dining table. It’s made of veneer, wood and engineered wood with some resin components for design flair. The two-tone finish adds a unique antique quality to it and it includes an extension leaf for seating up to eight people comfortably. The table can extend in length from 78″ to 96″ with the leaf and comes with easy assembly instructions.
8. Danley Extendable Solid Wood Dining Table
The rarest type of expandable dining table is the self-storing leaf kind which folds the leaf underneath the table in the center of the table, so it’s less work for you and not obvious to your guests. This table has three self-storing leaves which can expand the table to fit up to 12 people at max capacity. It’s made of rubberwood with a distressed finish in am amber hue. It’ll look great in a traditional house or farmhouse-designed home. Note: this table does not come with chairs, so make sure you order a set or buy those separately.
9. Kruger Extendable Dining Table
If you’re not going traditional, you should go rustic for your dining table’s design. This solid wood dining table from Wayfair looks like it came fresh from the carpenter’s shop with the inverted v design underneath and multi-color beams that compliment one another perfectly. The table is the standard 30″ high and has one removable leaf in the center. It measures 78″ total when fully extended, enough to fit around eight people.
10. Melstone Extendable Dining Table
This is another great expandable dining table option from Wayfair. It’s got that similar rustic, farmhouse aesthetic with a trestle base and cross-panel legs. It has overstated nailhead accents that bring the cottage design home and a removable leaf that expands it to seat eight people max. If you want something adjustable but don’t have space for a giant table, and therefore don’t want to pay for the option to seat 12, this is a great moderate option.