There’s everyday dining, and then there’s big family occasions (current rule of six notwithstanding) 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.
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John Lewis & Partners calia, 6-10 seater
Regular dimensions: W 85cm x H 76cm x L 160cm
Extended dimensions: W 85cm x H 76cm x L 240cm
This is one contemporary dining table that means business. Hard-edged and industrial, it comprises a chunky wood top and an equally chunky steel frame that offers a pleasing contrast in materials and acts as a reliable support. The top is beautiful: it’s crafted from solid American white oak with a swirling natural grain, giving it an arresting textural finish – periodic oiling is advised to keep the oak at its best. The table widens to sit up to 10, with easy-to-fit extension leaves at either side. Worth noting is that this is a seriously hefty furniture piece that you won’t want to shift around once it’s in place – even at its smallest.
Habitat drio, 4-10 seater
Regular dimensions: W 95cm x H 75cm x L 120cm
Extended dimensions: W 95cm x H 75cm x L 240cm
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 (future) 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.
Dwell Lille marble ceramic extending, 4-6 seater
Regular dimensions: W 89.4cm x H 77cm x L 119cm
Extended dimensions: W 89.4cm x H 77cm x L 178cm
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.
Argos Home Banbury
Regular dimensions: W 80cm x H 75cm x L 106cm
Extended dimensions: W 80cm x H 75cm x L 135cm
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.
Loaf pantry in earthy red
Regular dimensions: W 90cm x H 76cm x L 180cm
Extended dimensions: W 90cm x H 76cm x L 270cm
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 warm and earthy painted terracotta 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.
Regular dimensions: W 87cm x H 74cm x L 155cm
Extended dimensions: W 87cm x H 74cm x L 215cm
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.
Made.com Deauville, 6-8 seater
Regular dimensions: W 100cm x H 74.5cm x L 160cm
Extended dimensions: W 100cm x H 74.5cm x L 205cm
This is a statement dining table for fans of classic mid-century modern Danish design. To most, in fact, it would pass as an impressive vintage find. The trick of the eye doesn’t end there: the table may look like an expensive and solid furniture piece in walnut, but it is actually crafted from dark, stained oak veneers. The extension leaf is inconspicuously hidden in the centre – a triumph of design given the table’s slim silhouette. Thoughtfully, the grain runs across the width, rather than the length of the table, keeping the look sleek and camouflaging the lines of the added leaf. All in all, this is a practical and stylish table that belies its affordable price tag.
Case cross extending dining table
Regular dimensions: W 100cm x H 75cm x L 200cm
Extended dimensions: W 100cm x H 75cm x L 295cm
For home makers with deep pockets, our most expensive pick also hints at the mid-century modern, but there’s no denying that this table is a masterclass in contemporary design – the British furniture maker has a shelf-load of awards to prove it. What we took away most from testing this handsome investment piece is that it’s as much about the sculptural base as it is the smooth table surface. This one boasts a beautifully textured walnut-veneer top that cleverly conceals a felt-lined compartment to protect its duo of extension leaves. At its full length, this is one seriously impressive and imposing table that will seat up to 12.
The verdict: Extendable dining tables
The John Lewis & Partners Calia extending dining table won us over for its chic, industrial styling. This is a contemporary statement furniture piece with a big impact. With its considered symmetry, it works successfully on the design front in both of its configurations. We were also impressed with the Made.com Deauville extending dining table for its mid-century-inspired design and the high-quality build that makes it look and feel much more expensive than it is.
To create a beautiful dinner setting read our expert guide to tablescaping
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