Since no one can anticipate every future dinner party, we can’t see a reason that everyone shouldn’t covet—and have!—an extendable dining room table. The three main types of dining room tables that extend are those with removable leafs, a butterfly extension, or a drop leaf. The first type of dining table is pretty self explanatory, so we’ll focus on the latter two.
The Butterfly Leaf
What exactly is a butterfly leaf? The butterfly leaf extension table gets its name from the motion made by its folding leaf when it unfolds. When it is stored, the hinged leaf is folded in two like a resting butterfly. This self-storing extension is extremely simple to use. You pull on one end of the table and a gap opens in the middle, revealing the leaf stored on the rails below.
This functional leaf system is acclaimed for its ease of use. With removable leafs, you are charged with taking the cumbersome piece and finding someplace to store it, and then finding it and re-inserting it when you need to extend your table. With the butterfly leaf—no problem—just tug gently on the end of the table and it will appear. Quick. Easy.
Craftsmen in New England created the butterfly leaf extension table in the late 17th century. The typical table shape it was made in was oval, square or rectangular—rarely round.
Drop Leaf Tables
Drop leaf dining tables are an extremely multifunctional piece of furniture. In addition to being your meal locale, they can serve as a side accent table along a wall or behind a sofa.
How does it work? Drop leaf dining room tables, which are traditionally made of wood, feature a fixed center section with a hinged section (the leaf) on either side that can be folded down (dropped). For drop leaf tables, the leaf folds out and is held by a single bracket for support. An earlier version of the drop leaf table that still exists today is the gate leg table, where the hinged leaves are supported by extra two legs that swing out like gates from the frame of the table on either side.
Both drop leaf dining tables and gate leg tables originated in England in the late 16th century.
Check out Dinette.com’s Dakota 7 Piece Dining Set, which extends to a lengthy 60 inches when you utilize the handy self-storing butterfly leaf!