How To Enlarge A Dining Room Table for Extra Seating

Every Thanksgiving my small dining table that normally seats 6, gets extended to seat up to 14 with the help of a handy piece of plywood that my dad made many years ago.

Enlarge a Dining Room Table

Thanksgiving-Tablesetting Ideas

My dining room table and chairs were handed down to me from my mom and dad. The table doesn’t have leaves to extend it, so my dad made a nifty top that comes out every Thanksgiving and stays up to Christmas.

How to make a dining table larger

It gets stored against a wall in my garage.  See the vertical pieces of wood?  That is how long my dining table is.

Table-Top-Extention

When we have a need for a bigger table – birthdays, holidays and parties we get it from the garage.   I cover my table with a blanket to protect it from scratches.

Table-Blanket for protection

And the big table top goes on top.  The two vertical boards you can see underneath are spaced the length of the table so they fit right against the edge of the existing table.

Putting-table-top-extention to enlarge a dining table

 You can see how it looks underneath when the top is placed on.

How to enlarge a dining table

For extra stability my dad made 4 braces that are screwed on underneath the table.

Table-Brackets used to make a dining table bigger

This is how the table looks underneath before the plywood tabletop is placed on.

Under a dining table

Hubby putting the braces on.

TAble top extender to make

How it looks when the braces are screwed on. The braces screw into the plywood table vertical pieces – 2 on each side, not the table itself.

Brackets-on-table to make a table larger

Here is a profile view of the top in place on the table.

Side-view-of-table-top-exte

Now my 5’ – 8” table is  8’ – 1” long and 4” wider.

The actual size of the table is: 36″ x 67″.    The size of the top is:  40″ x 98″

It could have been made larger, but I wanted to still have ample room  to walk around it.

Table Top Extneder to seat more people around a dining table

I need a place for 10 on Thanksgiving this year.

Thanksgiving-Tablesetting Ideas

But I can seat 12 comfortably.  I bring in stools and chairs from other rooms in the house for the extra seating needed.  It is hard to find tablecloths this long, I have found a few, but I usually use fabric yardage to make my own.  This is my Thanksgiving cloth.

thanksgiving-table

I keep things simple.  Dollar Store leaves on the plates, pine cones I found outside for place card props, and some velvet ribbon to tie around the napkins.  I have Waterford wine glasses mixed with some from Pottery Barn that I bought on clearance.

Thanksgiving-Table-Place-se

The decorative platter that sits atop the corner cabinet, comes down every Thanksgiving to serve the turkey.

Decorative-Platterr-for-Tur

I don’t usually do centerpieces because once the turkey is served it has to be moved.   A few pumpkins and some bittersweet branches look seasonally festive and are easy to move once the turkey platter comes to the table.

Thanksgiving-Centerpiece

Thanksgiving-Table-with-Pla

Candles at each end are usually all that stay in the center of the table so that there is plenty of room for all the food and drink.  I placed bubble glass drinking glasses on top of metal candle holder bases and then placed candles inside.  I love the way the glass looks.  When Thanksgiving is over  – they will go back to drinking glasses.   I made the place cards on my computer and used the font – Precious  in 48pts.

Thanksgiving-Tablesetting Ideas

Thanksgiving-Tablesetting Ideas

To see more entertaining ideas, table settings, tips, and tricks, head on over to my Table Settings project gallery and all things Entertaining and Parties

How to enlarge a dining room table for extra seating



Comments

  1. says

    THAT is a VERY neat idea!!!!! I LOVE IT! I always wanted a really huge table so when we built our house us and our carpenter built one out of 2 by wood. I bought ladder back chairs and my sis and I stained them all to match the table in a pecan stain. I loved the table but figured out after a few years it was just too large for the narrow room. IF I’d thought of something like this that would have worked wonderful! Anyway long story short, I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of the table so I kept it and now it’s in my sewing room and I dearly LOVE that I didn’t get rid of it because it’s PERFECT for in there! Back in Feb. we closed in our front porch and made me a sewing room and I love it in there because I have a nice place to work and it’s nice and thick so it will be there for forever! lol

  2. cheri says

    What a great idea for a table “extension!” And I love the bubble glass candle holders. :)

    • says

      Thanks Cheri-

      I love bubble glass and think it looks perfect on my semi-rustic table setting. I look for it whenever I am out and recently found two more glasses at a local thrift store.

    • says

      Thanks Maury-
      My dad was an engineer and he always was tinkering in his workshop coming up with stuff like the tabletop. He has made some pretty amazing things and has taught me quite a lot about DIY.

  3. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Oh what a wonderful gift from your dad. So clever of him and so very thoughtful too. Your set table is just beautiful, I love it.

    I miss my dad.

    • says

      Thanks Sheryll-

      My dad is 84 now and still gets around, but he is getting frail. He will be at my house on Thanksgiving and every year he checks to see how the table top is holding up after so many years. My brother, sisters and I always kid him and say – if you built it dad – it will last forever!!! He always built things to last.

  4. says

    My family has done something similar to our table, for as long as I can remember! Such a great idea! = ) Your table looks great & I really love the leaves on the napkins, great touch!

  5. says

    WHen I was growing up we had a recreation room with a billards table and a ping pong table. My mother would do the blanket/plywood thing on the billiards table and she had huge cloths that she placed over both. We had huge crowds and she would seat everyone. Great memories. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

    • says

      Hi Lesley-
      I fondly remember one of my childhood friends family doing the same thing over their pool table. They had a huge family and it made perfect sense and a memorable tradition. Happy Thanksgiving

  6. says

    Diane- I love how your Dad made that. How perfect AND it screws in place with braces…most people would never think to do that. How blessed you are to still have him as part of your life. I’m sure there are a lot of memories attached to that table/set!

    I hope your Thanksgiving week is wonderful so far! xo Diana

    • says

      Hi Diana –

      So funny you mentioned the screws and braces. :) My dad is a PERFECTIONIST!!! It used to drive my brother, sisters,and I crazy when we were growing up. Now we see it as a blessing. He never did anything half way. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving – give those Sweet Cheeks some extra kisses.

  7. Catherine says

    That is such a clever idea. I only need to extend my table occasionally when family visit (maybe 2/3 times a year) and was looking at buying a new extension table but this idea is so simple even my hubby could do it :). Guess I know what he’ll be doing this weekend. I live in New Zealand so no Thanksgiving here. Thanks, Catherine

    • says

      Thanks Catherine-
      I only need the top a few times a year, – birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I forgot to add in the post that between T-Day and Christmas when it is not being used I use it as my gift wrapping area. It is perfect.

  8. says

    I just found out last week that I will be feeding Christmas dinner to 11-12 this year. I’ve been racking my brains since trying to figure out where to seat everyone, as my dining table only seats 8 with the extension (and that’s not exactly comfortably). Thanks for sharing this… I think you helped me solve my dilemma. :) Oh, and I just gotta say… I love how the leaves give a little pop of color on top of your place settings. Very nice!

    • says

      Thanks so much. I do love the dollar store and finding inexpensive decorations like the leaves. I hope you enjoy your full house tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving

  9. Betsy says

    Dianne, Thank you! You’ve helped me to solve a huge problem! We usually have to eat in two different rooms! Although we’re not having Thanksgiving here this year, this will help us for all the other meals we have here for our family! I LOVE your blog!

    • says

      Thanks Betsy – I know many a family that does the same thing or they butt two or more tables onto the dining table that extends into a foyer or hallway. No one ever seems to complain – it is all part of celebrating the day. I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    • says

      Hi Laura-

      Having table leaves would be the best and easiest way to extend the table- but since this table didn’t have that option the top is the best solution. It does take up a lot of room and when I remove the top after Christmas the table looks so tiny and my dining room instantly bigger. :)

  10. says

    Simply brillilant! Thanks for the detailed instructions…my table is big enough with the leaves, but years ago I would have loved knowing how to do this! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  11. says

    What a cool idea! But I’m wondering about the added height to the table top….I know it’s not much, but there are some tables that already feel are too high for me….I’m short :-) I’m like you too…if I can’t find a big enough table cloth, or even a runner I like (which means one I think isn’t overpriced..haha!) I make my own. Sooo many more options that way!
    Love your table’s Thanksgiving scene! May you all have a Happy and Grateful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

    • says

      Hi Connie-
      The top only adds about an inch to the height of the table and doesn’t make a difference that you can feel. I have only found one cloth for the top – at Walmart of all places- and it is purple. I use it a Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

    • says

      Hi Sarah-

      Thanks. I could not have Thanksgiving at my house every year without the table top. It has come in quite handy. Between T-day and Christmas it is not used and I use it as my gift wrapping station.

  12. says

    What a stunning table you’ve set. Your Dad was a very clever man for coming up with a brilliant solution to you table size solutions – and perfect if you don’t need a massive table all year round. I certainly could do with my husband taking instiration from your Dad’s idea.

    You have set it out lovely – your guests will be blown away – i wouldn’t mind an invitation to sit at your table that’s for sure.

    Paula x x x

    • says

      Thanks Paula-

      My dad will be coming to my house tomorrow. I plan on showing him this post and the comments. They will make his day. I have used the same tablecloth for years, but do try to change things up a bit each year. The pine cones are my new addition. Happy Thanksgiving

  13. Ruby Sugar says

    This is an answer to a prayer. I host a small group Bible study in my home every Thursday- we have grown to 12 and outgrown my dining table. I have searched Craigs list for a large, inexpensive table to no avail. This is the perfect solution!! I think that I can do it – I will let you know. How blessed you are to still have your Dad. happy Thanksgiving!

  14. diana says

    Great idea — I think I’ll try it! Can you tell me the dimensions of the plywood board you use to seat 14?

    • says

      Hi Diana-

      It is 40″ wide x 98″ long. I am not sure why my dad used those measurements, but the nice thing is you can make it just about any size you need.

  15. Jennifer says

    We do the same thing when we have family/friends over for Birthdays and Holidays. Our regular table only seats 6 but with a full sheet of 4ft by 8ft plywood on top it can easily seat 12.

  16. Lisa H says

    Thank you! We’re thinking of doing the same thing to expand the table we’re using for my daughters dollhouse. So nice to see how someone else has done it!

  17. Taryn says

    This is so wonderful! We need to make one for our dining table. Do you know what thickness of wood he used, if he used plywood or mdf?
    With the lines on the underside of the wood, it almost looks like a piece of panelling…any specifics you can share for materials would be so very helpful! Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Taryn –

      The top is made of 1/2-inch plywood. It is a higher quality plywood-so it won’t warp. The molding around the edge is 1/2-inch small trim that has one flat side and a rounded top edge. You could use 1/2 round. This is nice to add as the tablecloth falls over the edge more gracefully – no hard edge.

  18. Corinne says

    Genius! We just downsized and no longer have a dining room table. Thank you for the great photos, especially the underside securing cleats!

  19. Laura says

    Great idea, thanks for sharing. Question on the braces…each brace has six drilled holes. Three of the holes (shown with screws in them) are to attach the braces to the new table top. How are the other holes used — do you also screw the braces into the underside of your table?

    • says

      Hi Laura – My dad made the tabletop and braces. He made 6 holes at first, but realized when he was making it, you only need 3.

      The 3-screw section (thicker section) of the brace screws to the vertical piece on the underside of the extension top. These vertical pieces are spaced the exact length of the table. The other side of the brace (longer) runs under the the actual table – no holes or screws are needed. Every table is different and you will have to see what the underside of your table looks like. Mine has a side rail running under the table on each side. They act as side stabilizers. The vertical pieces on the underside of the ext top are spaced the length of the table – they fit snugly to stabilize the ends of the top. The braces make sure the top is secure and won’t tip.

      My dad made a top for both my sisters tables and the concept is the same for both of theirs, but the braces customized and designed differently for each table. I hope this helps.

  20. Susan K says

    Oh my goodness…it was so cool to see how you enlarge your table. We actually do something very similar…my sweet husband made a round table top out of plywood, it’s 82″ diameter and is large enough for 12 people. He made it in three sections so it’s easier to move and store, the 3 sections “lock” together with some hardware he found at lowes, and we put it directly on top of my regular rectangular dining table with a table protector underneath so it won’t scratch our table. I found a website where you can buy round tablecloths up to 144″ so that is what I did. I always love a round table for conversation, so this fits our needs perfectly. So cool to see your website with the same idea! LOVE your dining room and the brown/cream buffalo check!

    • Suzy says

      Hey Susan,
      What you husband did is exactly what I was wanting to do! I’m just not sure how to go about it. And what is the locking hardware from Loew’s?? It’s such a great idea….can you share any specifics???

  21. MJ says

    Your table setting is so new england! Lovely, yet simple. How did you paint (?) the bubble glass candle stands? I want some of those.

    Maybe one day you will do a post on what to do with a dining table with its legs made shorter by cutting off 2 inches at the bottoms. Thanks to Peter Hunt, who made the point, as Connie does here, that the table seems high. I agree. What I forgot to remember is that Peter was in New England where old tables usually don’t have aprons.
    Instead of having sweetheart cut an inch off first, to see how it might work, I had him do 2″ all at once. (I need to re-read Peter’s book, to see if he really wrote 2 inches, or 1 inch!!!!) Now I have a 28″ high table with an apron. Which means that anyone with thick thighs is going to have a problem sitting at my table……..
    Do you have any idea what I can have sweetheart do now, or do I have to buy another table????…..DIY gone wrong……wrong….wrong…..
    But I’m going to buy that plain bare uncut door I saw at Habitat yesterday. For when I get the table legs thingy worked out……

    • Corinne Austin says

      MJ,,
      Depending the style of your table, you may be able to add ‘feet’ to your legs. Check at a furniture refinisher or upholster and bring a photo.

  22. Corinne Austin says

    Diane,
    Thanx so much for your detailed photos. I modified your plan by splitting the top in two pieces, but the connecting locks and braces keep it from tipping if someone leans on the end when they get up from the table. Looking forward to using it a Christmas. :-)

  23. says

    I wish I had a handy husband to make something like this for me! I tried to get me Dad to make one for me before his Alzheimer’s got too far out there, but it was too late. I’m currently on the hunt for a 60″ round extender piece which is what landed me here on your site. Wow…your top looks great, and it was extra smart to include the braces!

    Great post! I’m sure you are still enjoying this wonderful piece all these years after this post was written. It was definitely built to last!!!

  24. Lynn Haskin says

    I’ve been wanted to have something like this for our patio table. Thank you so much for bringing us a step closer to having my dream table!

  25. Heidi says

    Wow, what a wonderful blog. My husband and I have been trying to figure out how to extend our dining room table to fit more people. We were looking for a low-cost solution that could easily be stored away when not in use. We had a similar idea but couldn’t quite work out how to prevent the top from sliding around and your article explains it all. I am sure that my husband will be thrilled to see this, as he had some very complicated ideas that only an engineer could come up with.

  26. Dennis says

    This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! I had an idea this might work, but hadn’t seen it in use until visiting your site. I also have space constraints, but would like something to make the holidays easier; I’d done a kitchen pass through window in my house with a counte rtop I’d made, using a plywood cleat in the half wall. Like your Dad, I wondered if you could use an existing table as a cleat for a larger table top. WELL DONE AND THANKS!
    P.S. I was considering finishing the plywood with a stain and poly, using a router to put a nice edge on….think it would work?

  27. DIck Grune says

    Great Idea… I can use something like that at times but to a smaller size. One question or comment. Could not you use felt on the bottom of the covering top so that you would not have to find a blanket every time you want to use? Is moisture staying in a permanent mounted protective bottom?

    • says

      Hi Dick – That is a great idea to add felt to the back. I have a blanket cut to size that I use only for the table. I keep it with my table cloths so it is pretty easy to use. I store my top in the garage – moisture is not a problem, but dirt, spiders, etc. Felt or fabric would get pretty dirty and hard to clean. If I could store it inside or a clean area, I would add felt to the back of mine. Thanks for taking the time to share your idea.

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