Adding a table extension leaf allows you to accommodate more guests and expand seating for holidays or dinner parties. Follow these tips to properly install an extension on your existing dining table:
Step 1: Measure Space for Expanded Table
Before purchasing an extension, take measurements to ensure enough space:
- Measure overall dining room dimensions, accounting for traffic lanes and room to pull out chairs.
- Consider the expanded table footprint and confirm it can fit while allowing at least 36-48 inches for comfortable movement around the table.
- For large tables, you may need to move or reposition existing furniture to make ample room.
Step 2: Buy a Matching Extension Leaf
Source an extension leaf made to blend with your current table:
- Check if the manufacturer sells matching extension leaves, often stored compactly under the table. Matching is ideal.
- If not, have a woodworker make a custom leaf to match the wood, finish, edges, legs and underframe.
- For DIY, use quality boards in the same stain and finish as the table. Make it 1-2 inches narrower than table width.
Step 3: Install Extension Slides or Hardware
Use slides, brackets, hinges or pivoting legs to connect the leaf securely:
- Full extension slides mount along the table sides to slide the leaf smoothly into place between.
- Drop-leaf hardware allows each end of the table to hinge down for added length.
- Removable brackets lock the leaf firmly in place between both table ends.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for properly installing the hardware.
Step 4: Test Extension Fit and Function
Once installed, test the extension:
- The leaf should fit snugly against the table edges, flush on the same plane, with no gaps, overhang or height differences.
- Any supports like legs or braces should deploy smoothly for optimal stability when extended.
- Sit at the table to confirm enough functional space around all sides when expanded.
- Check that the table feels sturdy and wobble-free in the extended position.
Step 5: Finish Edges and Touch Up
Final details for a seamless look:
- If needed, custom cut the leaf edges with rounded corners or decorative profiles to precisely match the table.
- Touch up the finishes like stain, sealer and polyurethane on the extension leaf to blend with the existing finish.
- Adding an extension leaf to your dining table is an excellent way to accommodate a few extra seats for special occasions.
With the proper mounting hardware and a quality tabletop material that matches the existing look, you can successfully expand your seating in style.