The extendable dining tables are the new trend in many homes. Having a dining table that can extend from a four-seater to six to ten-seaters in the blink of an eye is such a relief to your dining needs. Extendable dining tables appear small when folded but can extend to accommodate more people when needed. They are the perfect solution for maximizing a small dining space allowing you to expand your dining space during birthday parties, lively game nights, and other celebrations.

When selecting an extendable dining table, you may be wondering how they work, if one extending mechanism is better than the other, and so forth. Let’s look at the main types of extendable dining tables and their extending mechanisms.

Three primary types of slides help an extending dining table to open or collapse with ease: wood, metal, and ball bearing slides. The best thing about wood slides is that they don’t rust, so you don’t have to worry about malfunctioning after a few years but can create dust and may need more effort to slide. 

Metal slides allow for smoother action making the table easier to operate when alone, although some metals are susceptible to rusting. Lastly, ball bearing slides are made of high-grade steel that utilizes ball bearings for a quiet and smooth operation hence the best choice. 

Types of extendable dining tables

Traditional table extensions

In a traditional extendable dining table, the ends of the table slide apart to form a gap in the middle then table extensions, also known as leaves, are placed in the gap. This means the panels or table extensions are stored separately, and the table may require two people to pull the ends of the table apart. 

Some traditional extendable dining tables also provide additional space for the panels to be stored beneath the dining tabletop. Other options allow you to add leaves on the two ends of the table to keep the center intact. Ensure you store the extension panels in the same room as your dining table to avoid swelling at different humidity rates, affecting the fit.

Butterfly leaf extensions

Butterfly leaf extensions are usually attached to the tabletop and stored beneath it when the table is in its compact form. Like the traditional table extensions, the ends of the table pull apart, and the butterfly leaves unfold to fit in the middle gap. 

They utilize hinges and other parts to keep them functional, and the butterfly leaf folds in half during storage for a more compact space. This extending table type requires hinges, which means that the parts could be susceptible to rusting depending on the material used. Ensure you do not expose the table to moisture and regulate humidity to keep the wood from swelling, which can impact its fit.

Drop leaf extensions

Drop leaf extensions are one of the most effortless extending mechanisms in extendable dining tables. The leaves are on both the outer ends of the dining table and collapse to save space when the table is in its basic size. You only need to lift the leaves to extend the table, making them easy to use. However, this type of extending mechanism affects or minimizes the leg space in its collapsed form. Also, ensure you get your dining table from a reliable manufacturer for a sturdy drop leaf extendable dining table.

Stow leaf extensions

The best thing about stow leaf extensions is that they are perfect for saving space. The table extensions conveniently stow beneath the tabletop on both sides. That means you don’t have to worry about extra storage space, and the extensions expand or contract with the rest of the table. Stow leaf extensions allow more durability and sturdiness at the table ends. The dining table features a double layer of table tops where the table extensions stow in their compact form.

Which is the type of extension that suits you?

The type of extendable dining table that suits you depends on your dining space needs and your family’s preference. The middle table extensions work best if you need to extend your dining table occasionally and need a fixed option if you do. If you require more dining space regularly, the extending flaps are a good option because they are easy to extend and push back in.