Best extending dining tables 2020

Our buying guide goes to great lengths to find you the best extendable dining table for your needs, and your space

You don’t have to be a seasoned host or Come Dine With Me obsessive to know that sitting down to dinner with extra guests isn’t always a straightforward affair. How often have you had to either squeeze or be squeezed around a full-to-bursting table? Risked elbowing an elderly relative over Christmas dinner? 

Been the poor, unfortunate soul who has to sit at the junction of two pushed-together tables and sit awkwardly astride the legs? 

Luckily for us all, there’s a single answer to all of these conundrums, and that’s an extending dining table.

How to buy the best dining table for your home

The best dining tables bump up the capacity and then fold down inconspicuously to a compact size, feature a smooth and stable mechanism for easy up-and-down, and are durable enough to last through many a messy dinner. 

In any case, an extending table gives you all of the hosting power without taking up any more space than necessary. Plus, it’s like having a Transformer in your dining room.

If you don’t have room to spare, make sure the table you choose is small enough to fit into everyday life, and look for one that stores its own extending leaves. Rectangular tables give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to squeezing in an extra chair, but round or oval tables can look spectacular.

They come in a range of prices, catering to buyers on a budget or those looking for a solid investment piece. Finally, think about who’s using it: can your jostling tribe really be trusted with a beautifully crafted wooden investment piece, or is durable melamine more sensible? Keep reading, and we’ll help you decide.

Our pick of the best dining tables to buy today

1. John Lewis Luna Extending Dining Table

A good-looking, durable and thoroughly modern dining table

Best for: A Modern Look
Material: HPL, Solid Acacia
Seats: 6 to 8
Price: RRP £499.00
Reasons to buy
+Modern design+Durable HPL surface
Reasons to avoid
-Extendable leaf must be stored separately

Extending dining tables needn’t be blocky, as the modern stylings of this trendy table prove. Its slender tapered legs and beveled edges are smooth and handsome (just like us), and its surface is high pressure laminate, making it hard-wearing and really easy to clean. Assembly is easy (just add legs), and when guests pop round, drop the separate extending leaf into the middle.

2. M&S Greenwich Oval Extending Dining Table

A classic wooden table with deceptively modern features

Best for: Real Wood Aficionados
Material: HPL, Oak, Oak Veneer
Seats: 4 to 6
Price: RRP £1099.00
Reasons to buy
+ Beautifully made from sustainable wood + Durable and timeless 
Reasons to avoid
- No storage for extension 

M&S’s Greenwich table is stonkingly beautiful and sturdy all at once, making it perfect for those in the market for a durable investment piece. Its solid oak parquet top adds tons of interest but is timeless enough to fit in with your kitchen’s decor for decades, and its low-sheen lacquer keeps it durable without distracting from the design, while its elegant legs are cleverly positioned so that no-one gets squeezed out at dinner time.

3. Littlewoods Square to Rectangle 80–160cm Extending Dining Table

A tiny table suitable for studios, student digs and small spaces

Best for: A Small Starter
Material: Particle Board, Melamine Wood, 3D Paper
Seats: 2 to 4
Price: RRP £169.00
Reasons to buy
+Small footprint+Good value
Reasons to avoid
- Limited seating capacity 

Very budget friendly and, aptly, little and wooden, Littlewoods’ Square to Rectangle is great for bachelor pads, student flats, or even setting up a second dining destination somewhere in your home. It even has the advantage, unlike some of the other tables on our list, of not requiring extra storage for its extendable leaf, which sits neatly on top, blending into the base when not in use. If it’s not quite large enough for your needs, but space is still a concern, consider IKEA’s Glivarp, below.

4. MADE Bramante

Sleek and simple, with a deceptive amount of seating

Material: Metal, MDF
Seats: 8 to 10
Price: RRP £599.00
Reasons to buy
+Simple design+Leaves stored within table
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for MDF

The pared-back design of the Bramante, with its classy walnut veneer and simple shape, will earn it admiring looks from your diners. Its extending leaves are stored within the body of the table, giving it a leg-up (sorry) on John Lewis’ Luna, so go for this one if you don’t have storage to spare. When extending, the smooth aluminium mechanism is sturdy and easy to use. 

5. IKEA Glivarp

An excellent value table, great for smaller parties

Best for: Value for Money
Material: Aluminium, Tempered Glass
Seats: 4 to 6
Price: RRP £250.00
Reasons to buy
+ Easy to extend and clean + Minimalist design 
Reasons to avoid
- Glass edge exposed when extended 

While the Glivarp has a slightly larger footprint and higher seating capacity than the Littlewoods Square to Rectangle, it’s still an excellent option for smaller homes. Its slim legs, light-reflecting chrome finish and glass tabletop allow you to see more of the room, giving the illusion of space. It’s also easily converted with just one pair of hands, and the stain-resistant nature of the tempered glass means keeping it clean is easy. 

6. John Lewis Cosmo 12-Seater Extending Console and Dining Table

This 12-seater table seemingly springs from nowhere to meet all hosting needs

Best for: Big Parties
Material: Melamine, Ash, Metal
Seats: Up to 12
Price: RRP £999.00
Reasons to buy
+ Five extension sizes + Sturdy and durable 
Reasons to avoid
- Central legs waste seating space 

The Cosmo seamlessly transfigures from a minimal console to a 12-seater using a smooth and simple mechanism, and its collection of five extending leaves means that you can use it for anything from an intimate dinner to a big birthday bash. It feels sturdy even when extended to its maximum, and while it might not have the visual appeal of the Luna or M&S’ Greenwich, for sheer versatility, it’s a clear winner.