How To Make An Existing Dining Table Longer [3 Easy Ideas]

With the holidays approaching, you may be expecting a lot of company. Perhaps you’ve started to wonder, just how are you going to cram those 11 guests around your 6 person table? After lots of research with crafty and resourceful DIYers on the internet, this list is bound to have an answer for you.

There are a few DIY options for making an existing dining table longer. These include:

  • Covering the table with a temporary table topper
  • Adding a temporary tabletop with folding legs
  • Adding a folding extension

In this guide, we’ll provide specific instructions for these 3 projects, sample videos, and everything you need to know about table and tablecloth sizes! So be sure to keep reading.

Dining room interior with white walls and long wooden table, How To Make An Existing Dining Table Longer [3 Easy Ideas]

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How To Make An Existing Dining Table Longer

Let’s take a closer look at the three methods for making an existing dining table longer.

Temporary Table Topper

In this method, you’ll use the existing table to support your new table topper. No extra support is added. Because of this, you’ll want to stick to only adding a few feet to each side (you certainly can’t double your table space!). Exactly how much you can add to your table will depend on how sturdy the current frame is.

First, determine how long you want the new tabletop to be. Then, you will construct the new tabletop out of plywood or other suitable material. Be sure to cover your current table with padding, a tablecloth, or some other cover to protect it. You’ll then place the new tabletop over the old table.

You can then screw in some strips of wood to each side, just beside the old tabletop, to hold everything in place.  This keeps the new plywood cover from simply sliding right off the table if someone bumps into it. Do not screw the wood into the existing table, just the new table topper.

The great thing about this project is that it doesn’t alter the table in any way, and it’s easy to slide the plywood away into storage once you’re done. If you need more guidance, you can see a version of this product here:

Tabletopper With Legs

This project is very similar to the one above. However, you add new legs to provide extra support for your new tabletop. This means that you can build a table for any size that you need. You won’t need to worry about whether or not your current table frame can support the extra weight.

First, cover your old table with a cover or padding to protect it from scratches. Then, you’ll cut a piece of plywood slightly wider than your current table and to your desired length. Next, you’ll install two folding legs to each end of the table, such as these:

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Banquet Table Legs

Click here to see these banquet table legs on Amazon.

Finally, you simply flip over the new tabletop and place it over the old one. Allow the old table to sit in the middle, providing support. If you need more guidance, check out this video.

Like the first project, this one doesn’t damage or change the table in any permanent way. The “tabletop” can be removed once you’re done and slid away into storage easily. Note: if the table legs are the wrong height to match your current table, you can always use table risers.

Adjustable Furniture Risers

Click here to see these 2-inch stackable risers on Amazon.

Folding Extension

Unlike the first 2, this project will create a permanent alteration to your current table. First, you’ll measure the width of the table. For the length, determine how much length you need to be added to the ends of the table.

Cut the wood to the desired length and the same width as the table. You will need two pieces of wood, both the same size. Then, you’ll install your new table ends with this folding bracket.Folding Shelf Brackets

Click here to see this folding bracket on Amazon.

This piece can now be folded up and down as needed. You’ve essentially just added table leaves to your table! Since this is a permanent fixture you may want to paint the table to give it a uniform look. To see more details on this project, check out this helpful video:

Why Is It Called A Table Leaf?

Man lays out a sliding glossy dining table on which stands a plate with artificial fruit.

In the 15th century, the term “leaf” could be used to refer to any smaller part of a larger object that was hinged or attached at one end by a hinge. For example, a dutch door (or stable door) has 2 horizontal sections making up the door – the individual sections were called leaves.

It’s because of this usage that table “leaves” get their name, even though the term has evolved through the years to now include removable parts with no hinges. For example, table leaves in modern times can now refer to planks of wood that can slide in and out of the table.

What Size Tablecloth Do You Need?

The correct size tablecloth for a rectangular table is a simple formula. Just measure the length and width of the table. Next, determine how many inches you want the tablecloth to hang over (also referred to as drop size). By adding the drop size to the length and width, you’ve determined your tablecloth size. Just remember, of course, to double the drop size since you need that drop on each side of the table.

Even with exact measurements, you may not be able to find a tablecloth that matches exactly. For example, if your tablecloth size is 55 x 112 inches, you’ll probably need to round up to the more readily available size, 60 x 120 inches. You’ll simply end up with a few extra inches of material on each side, which is rarely a problem. It’s better to have a slightly longer overhang than a too-small tablecloth.

How Many Inches Should a Tablecloth Hang Over?

Table with wooden chairs in bright green garden of modern house

In more casual settings, a tablecloth drops by 6-10 inches. For formal occasions, tablecloths are generally expected to hang over 15 inches on each side. This assumes what is referred to as a “half drop,” which means the tablecloth will hang halfway to the floor. This is generally a good place to start because it leaves plenty of extra room if you have to round up to find a tablecloth that fits.

If you prefer a longer hang, you will need to adjust the drop size accordingly. As a general rule, the longer the hang, the more formal the table appears. For an extremely dressy table, the drop may hang all the way to the floor, or even “puddle” excess material on the floor. This takes very precise measurements, however, and may even require a specially made tablecloth.

6-Foot Table

A formal tablecloth for a standard 6-foot table will be 60 x 102 inches.

Foot Rectangle Table

Available in 23 solid colors, this Gee Di Moda Rectangle Tablecloth is a staple.

Click here to see this tablecloth on Amazon.

8-Foot Table

For an 8-foot table, tablecloths are generally available in 60 x 126 inches.

premium Checkered Tablecloth

This washable polyester gingham tablecloth is a great choice for an event that isn’t too formal.

Click here to see this tablecloth on Amazon.

10-Foot Table

By the time you reach 10 feet, tablecloths can be harder to find. For the most part, the size usually available is 70 x 160 inches.

Gingham Buffalo Check Plaid Tablecloth

Consider this windowpane check print tablecloth which has a classic print coupled with a more modern, updated look. This design would look good dressed up or down.

Click here to see this tablecloth on Amazon.

12-Foot Table

As in the previous table size, 12-foot tables can be harder to find a suitable tablecloth for. The typical size for this table would be 70 x 180 inches. When you do manage to find a tablecloth, options tend to be more formal-looking since a table this large is generally used for a formal event.

Treasure Macrame Lace

This Violet Linen macrame lace tablecloth is a gorgeous option for a special event, but still is machine washable for added convenience.

Click here to see this tablecloth on Amazon.

How Many People Can Sit At A 6-Foot Table?

Each guest requires about 1.5 feet to 2 feet of table space in order to sit comfortably. For this reason, a 6-foot rectangular table will be able to seat 6 people and 8 if you use the table ends. If the table is round, it will generally hold up to 10 people.

How Long Is A Table That Seats 12 People?

The shape of the table will play a role in how big it must be to seat 12 people. For instance, a rectangular table will need to be 10 feet long and 4 feet wide in order to seat 12 people. A round table will need a diameter of at least 8 feet. Furthermore, a square table will require 8-foot sides to be able to fit 12 people.

In Closing

If you’re in need of additional, temporary space at your dining room table, there are several handy DIY solutions that you can use. Specifically, try adding table leaves to your current table, or using a short-term tabletop cover. Hopefully, these helpful projects have given you some inspiration!

To read more on dining rooms, check out these other articles:

Do Dining Chairs Have To Match? [Here’s Why Not]

How To Decorate A Round Dining Room Table

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