We all need some extra elbow room now and then, whether that’s at dinner parties and family festivities, or to make space for work, crafts and other table-top activities.

Extendable dining tables are the ideal solution for providing that extra space when it’s needed. Once you’re done, they can be reduced in size again to free up space in the room.

The most important thing to bear in mind when choosing an extending dining table is your required dimensions.

Before you buy, carefully measure your room to work out the size of table you need, accounting for both the extended and non-extended lengths of the table.

You should allow at least 90cm extra space on each side of the table for chairs and diners.

Interior design is another key factor when choosing a table. If this is going to be one of the first pieces of furniture you buy for your home, bear in mind that the style of your table could set the tone for the whole room. So, no pressure…

To help you make your choice, we’ve tried out a range of dining tables – from contemporary designs to traditional and vintage-style options – considering design, build quality and how easy they were to extend.

Some extendable tables require assembly at home. We advise checking with the seller before you buy, to ensure you don’t end up taking on more work than you’d bargained for.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to  fund journalism across The Independent.

Oak Furnitureland brindle extending dining table: £529, Oak Furnitureland

Regular dimensions: W 150cm x H 78cm x D 90cm​
Extended dimensions: W 200cm x H 78cm x D 90cm

This supremely elegant brindle extending dining table glides easily in and out of its extended setup, using a clever system of rails, hidden panels and latches. The build quality is excellent from the table’s smooth, painted hardwood legs to its natural oak top. With a traditional aesthetic, this table would be ideal for a country-style kitchen. The grooves on the top have great decorative value, but could also be a bit of a crumb trap. We recommend buying this table with matching brindle dining chairs from Oak Furnitureland’s collection – their elegant wooden beams look lovely peaking over the top of the table.

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John Lewis & Partners caiden 6-10-seater extending dining table, Brown: £639, John Lewis & Partners

Regular dimensions: W 160cm x H 76cm x D 85cm​
Extended dimensions: W 240cm x H 76cm x D 85cm

The caiden table offers a desirable mix of industrial form and homely comfort. Its grittier side comes from its metal legs, which have a slightly rough texture and an abrupt shape – pretty edgy, by John Lewis & Partners’ standards. The caiden’s table-top is smooth, pale, and – if you’re feeling unruly – really comfy to rest your elbows on. The wood appears quite thick at first glance, but on closer inspection it turns out to be thicker around the edges than in the centre of the table.

This is an entirely sensible use of resources, but you should bear in mind that you're not buying quite such a heavy object as you’d expect. On the bright side, this means the table looks nice and chunky relative to its weight. To extend the caiden, you simply slide an extra section on at either side, using a mechanism concealed beneath the table. While this system was easy enough to use, the alignment between the extensions and the central part of the table seemed a bit off-kilter. Still, on balance, the caiden is a great contemporary table for hosts who like to extend a stylish and accommodating welcome to their guests.

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Ikea vangsta extendable table in white: £85, Ikea

Regular dimensions: W 120cm x H 73cm x D 75cm​
Extended dimensions: W 180cm x H 73cm x D 75cm

Ikea’s vangsta is brilliantly effective, with an extension system based around the simple addition of an extra leaf (included) in the centre of the table. The table legs move outward as the table does, rather than staying in place as would be the case with a drop-leaf table, and this means people seated towards the middle of the table shouldn’t have anything in the way of their own legs. There’s not much to be said for the style of the table itself. It’s a classic, minimalist design, done well. We found the vangsta’s metal legs and melamine-coated particle board table-top sturdy and easy to wipe clean, making this a good pick for lively households.

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Made ralph 6-8 seat extending dining table in oak and teal: £499, Made

Regular dimensions: W 174cm x H 77cm x D 87cm​
Extended dimensions: W 214cm x H 77cm x D 87cm

The ralph table is spacious, stylish and comes at a more reasonable price than many other tables made to similar standards. This teal and oak colourway is particularly eye-catching – ideal for making a bit of a style statement. There’s plenty of function on offer too, from the simple rail-and-latch-based system for extending the table, to the pair of cutlery draws built into its frame. Made’s table won’t give you quite the same sturdiness you’d find in, say, the Oak Furnitureland tables featured in our roundup – but what you do get is an effective table that scores exceptionally well on style and value.

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Dwell crossed leg gloss extending 6-10-seater dining table: £749, Dwell

Regular dimensions: W 180cm x H 75cm x D 100cm​
Extended dimensions: W 220cm x H 75cm x D 100cm

Dwell’s crossed leg dining table is ideal for lovers of clean, contemporary style. The extension mechanism is really slick: just push the two halves of the table apart and flip over the two smaller panels hidden underneath. Some tables with a similar design have the downside of leaving their legs in the way of diners when extended, but in this case, the cross-shaped table legs help accommodate everyone without impediment. Smart, solid and simple-to-use, Dwell’s table would make a great choice for a cutting-edge kitchen or dining room.

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Oak Furnitureland Knightsbridge extending round dining table: £519.99, Oak Furnitureland

Regular dimensions: W 120cm x H 77cm x D 120cm​
Extended dimensions: W 160cm x H 77cm x D 120cm

Another beauty from the Oak Furnitureland range, the Knightsbridge table can be either a chivalric circle or an accommodating oval, depending on how you set it up. The top of the table, which is predominantly smooth, has some lovely texture from the grain of oak, with grooves around the border of each half of the table that accent its shape nicely. Sprung metal catches on each side and a beautifully made mechanism allows the table to be extended or returned to its regular setup easily and securely. The frame is solid, square and heavy, offering great durability. An extending round table fit for royalty.

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Ercol teramo medium extending dining table: £989, Furniture Village

Regular dimensions: W 170cm x H 75cm x D 90cm​
Extended dimensions: W 215cm x H 75cm x D 90cm

English brand Ercol has been crafting beautiful, ergonomic furniture for 99 years and counting. If the teramo is anything to go by, they haven’t lost their knack. Made with pale solid oak coated in a trademark matte lacquer, the table is a pure, simple object that lets the wood be the star of the show. Its form is unmistakably Ercol – especially the rounded, tapered legs. Extending the table using its butterfly leaf mechanism was a breeze.

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John Lewis & Partners lorn 6-10-seater extending dining table in oak: £1,500, John Lewis & Partners

Regular dimensions: W 180cm x H 75cm x D 90cm​
Extended dimensions: W 280cm x H 75cm x D 90cm

This imposing, generously proportioned and really quite impressive dining table from John Lewis & Partners is one of our favourites. Its bevelled edges create a lovely, uneven look that invites you to explore the characterful oak of the table top. The A-frame legs lend a twist of modernity to the table’s otherwise timeless aesthetic, while adding a good degree of stability – something we’d always be looking for in a 92kg table like this one. The lorn can be extended with two drop leaves, which, while not the most elegant solution we’ve seen, get the job done and turn this into a table fit for a banquet.

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Dunelm amelie extending dining table: £359.20, Dunelm

Regular dimensions: W 180cm x H 76cm x D 90cm​
Extended dimensions: W 220cm x H 76cm x D 90cm

Here’s a real bargain from Dunelm. The amelie is a dainty-looking, bow-legged, antique-style table, hand-carved from mango wood, and attractively finished with antique lacquer. It looks quite unlike any of the other tables we tested – a perfect choice for a vintage-style or traditionally decorated interior.  Like the Ercol and Dwell tables reviewed here, the amelie extends with a butterfly leaf mechanism. This adds 40cm to the table’s length. One downside is that it is not quite as sturdy as some of the other tables featured here. Treat it well, however, and it could be a house guest to cherish.

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Ikea ekedalen extendable table in dark brown: £130, Ikea

Regular dimensions: W 80cm x H 75cm x D 70cm​
Extended dimensions: W 120cm x H 75cm x D 70cm

Chic, smart and sporting a snazzy lacquered finish, the ekedalen is our favourite extendable table for small spaces. In its regular, non-extended form, this table is ideal for dining alone, or at close quarters with someone else. The addition of the extension panel increases the width by 50 per cent, creating enough space for four people. Like the larger Ikea vangsta, this table can be extended by sliding in an extra panel, which can be stowed under the table-top when not in use.

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The verdict: Extendable dining tables

Thanks to its effective extension mechanism, its perfect construction and the outstanding quality of its materials, we’re naming the brindle from Oak Furnitureland our best buy.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.