How to Extend Dining Tables

Fitting the whole family around the dining table for a holiday meal is a common tradition for many people, but finding a dining table big enough to seat everyone can be a challenge, especially if you have limited dining room space.

It makes little sense to own a dining table for 20 if you only host 20 people for dinner once a year. Consider some ways to extend your dining table so that you can have just the space you need, no matter how many people you're feeding.

Use the built-in extension if there is one. Many dining tables feature a collapsible extension panel or a split in the center where leaves may be inserted to add seating for additional people--sometimes you can seat as many as 6 to 8 extra people this way. Follow the manufacturer's directions to expand your table.

If your table doesn't extend, or if you still don't have enough room, purchase card tables that are the same approximate width and height of your dining table. Set them up at either end of the dining table, and cover them with the same tablecloth to create an illusion of continuity. Just be sure your guests are aware that they might not be quite as stable as the regular table.

If your table is irregularly shaped or card tables prove too flimsy, extend your table with a large, sturdy board. Lay a tablecloth or other cover over the table to protect it, then lay the board down on top and cover with an additional tablecloth. If your board requires support on the ends, a barstool or other object of the correct height can be placed under the sections of the board that need support. Again, warn your guests of the arrangement so that no one accidentally moves the support or the tablecloth.

Things You Will Need

  • Dining table
  • Card tables
  • Large sturdy board
  • Barstools

About the Author

Lindsay Woodland is a professional opera singer, semi-professional pastry chef and personal finance enthusiast from Queens, N.Y. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in music and speaks German and Italian in addition to her native English. Woodland has been a freelance writer and editor since 2008 and writes for multiple websites and blogs.