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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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


  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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???

  10. 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

      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.

  11. Corinne Austin says

    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. :-)

    • Linda Irene says

      Hi Corinne, I want to create something like what you describe, because my rooms are quite small and moving the new top in and out of place will be tight. What exactly are the “connecting locks and braces” that you refer to?
      Linda Irene

  12. 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!!!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. Allison says

    You solved my problem with my table in my new house and I’m trying to do this. We were ok until guest came over then we had a baby and he has no seat!
    Question is the braces seem to be more than 2×4?
    Is there a piece on each end?
    Do you have the size and dimensions? Looks like it may be wider than a 2×4 to have three screws ?
    And do you screw the brace into the table . It looks like there are holes on both ends?

    Thanks this is amazing!


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