Catering for all occasions
It is not uncommon to want a table that can cater for everyday use, intimate dinners and large gatherings without compromise; it is less common to find a table that can do so. Extendable dining tables offer a practical and flexible solution, giving you options suitable for all occasions. Once you decide on an extendable dining table, the only other decisions you’ll have to think about are where to store the additional chairs when the table is un-extended and what food to serve! Whatever your unique requirements – small or large, round or square – we have the experience to design and handcraft a dining table to suit your every need.
The starting point for designing your extendable dining table is to establish what the typical day-to-day minimum seating requirements are and then work upwards from there. To work out the upper seating needs, we then need to consider the frequency and scale of your sociable occasions and strike a balance between them. We advise against ‘over-extending’ by specifying a table which expands from, for example, 4 to 16 seats, as the required structural engineering is significant and costly. Extending a 6-seater table to a 12-seater or an 8-seater to a 14-seater, however, is a comfortable feat.
Form and formality
When thinking about how many people you would like to be able to host at your extendable dining table, make sure you consider how much space you would like to provide your guests. Formal dinners typically require more space per person compared with the cosiness of a large family Christmas dinner. Of course, there’s an argument to say that if the room can accommodate a larger table, then why not make use of it?
While we can design and make round, square or rectangular extendable dining tables, we choose the shape based on both the space in which it will sit and how it accommodates (or inhibits) movement. Each shape offers certain benefits. While square or rectangular tables maximise surface area, round tables are less likely to create pinch points in a room. If you anticipate last minute additional guests, round tables can more comfortably accommodate an extra place setting or two. Whatever your space and capacity requirements are, we’ll work with you to choose the best shape dining table for your space.
Storing leaf inserts
How you choose to store the extension leaves depend primarily on two factors: storage space and budget. If you have less space available for storing your leaves separately, you can store them within the table frame. This often involves having a hinged joint on the leaf to collapse it down to a suitable size. We have made several bespoke mechanisms over the years that allow this process to be done singlehandedly for maximum ease. Whilst this is practically the most effective means of storing the leaves it is more expensive than simply having static removable leaves due to the additional work involved with the mechanism.
Removing and storing the leaves separately away from the table is the standard choice for many commissions. It is simple and straightforward, providing you have the space to do so. Where this is the case, we can get covers made for the leaves to help protect them whilst being handled and stored. You could even commission a bespoke piece of furniture, such as a chest, that allows you to store the leaves safely and securely.
It’s important to think ahead to how the colour and patina of the leaves and tabletop will change over time. Most timbers will change colour. Some like oak or cherry will go darker, while others like walnut will go lighter. Leaves that are stored away and only used occasionally will, over time, begin to look different from the top that is in constant use and exposed to more sunlight. We encourage our clients to rotate the leaves out of storage into the table regularly so they can age at a similar rate to the top.