Which piece of furniture plays a more dominant role in your life? Your table or your bed? Most of us have both, but whereas a new phase of life or a new relationship often tends to make us exchange a narrow bed for a wider one, without expecting to have to downsize again, many people prefer to retain a certain amount of flexibility in the size of their table. Accommodating one or two people only or a group, extendable tables can be adapted to a romantic tète-a-tète, a family with children or even a large festive gathering. Here we present the various types and systems which are available.

Tables with extendable ends and fixed frames

Tables with extensions that can be added to the end are available in versions with fixed frames and with frames that move. Where the legs are fixed, an extra leaf is simply attached and a support fixture is then folded out or pulled out. This system has the advantage that the main table top in the centre can remain in one piece. It is also possible to attach the extension leaf to one end or to both ends, making a two-stage extension possible.

One example is 'Artus 09' by Schulte Design. The table can be extended by 55 cm at each end, with extensions that are available in both wood and stainless steel. This is especially practical for hot pans and also creates design consistency in that the change in material explains the join in the table top.

„Artus 09“ by Schulte Design can be extended by 55 cm at each end, with extensions that are available in both wood and stainless steel.

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

„Artus 09“ by Schulte Design can be extended by 55 cm at each end, with extensions that are available in both wood and stainless steel.

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The '1120' solid wood table by Thonet is a simple system that features attractive details of craftsmanship. The extension leaf, which is hidden under the table, is attached at one end and is supported by extractable cantilever arms.
Model '1131', in a new interpretation by Naoto Fukasawa, impresses with its clean and simple lines. The extendable table with two insert panels is available in beech, natural or stained oak and in the exclusive wood macassar.
The table top of 180 x 90 cm can be extended by means of insert panels to a length of 225 or 270 cm.

"Thonet 1120"; Designer: Delphin Design

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Thonet 1120"; Designer: Delphin Design

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"Thonet 1130"; Designer: Naoto Fukasawa

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Thonet 1130"; Designer: Naoto Fukasawa

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'Domino', a table collection by Zeitraum, is based on the idea of multiplicity of use. The clean and functional design enables flexible use both in the living area and in the office. In a logical lo-tech concept, the large table can be extended on the side by smaller console tables. The advantage of this is that if these are not required they have a wide range of uses as stand-alone items of furniture, for example as a wall console or escritoire. The disadvantage is that if the console table is not put to use in the same room, then extending the main table is not very practicable. Domino is also available as 'Domino Zoom', with an integrated extension system on the end.

"Domino" with smaller console table by Zeitraum

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Domino" with smaller console table by Zeitraum

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The side extensions of the 'Pragma' table by Tossa are hidden inside the table, with the frame of polished chrome steel supporting a 30-mm-thick top of solid wood.

The 'ErQu' by Team by Wellis is fitted with the same system.
Here, the frame consists of an L-shaped aluminium frame which, because of the dimensions and the material itself, provides a combination of filigree airiness and maximum stability.

„Pragma“ by Tossa

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

„Pragma“ by Tossa

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"ErQu" , manufacturer Team by Wellis

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"ErQu" , manufacturer Team by Wellis

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'Refektorium', the solid wooden table by Draenert, is named after the dining room in a monastery. The 4.5-cm-thick top is, in addition to many other types of wood, available in red beech. From an age of 120 years onwards the beech tree develops red colouration in the core of its trunk, with grain and colour nuances ranging from red via rust and orange through to brown. These form a unique pattern and tell the story of the long life of these trees, thus making every table unique. In addition to the extension leaf, other accessories include a bench, a stool and attractive black leather cushions.

"Refektorium" by Draenert

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Refektorium" by Draenert

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Draenert is one of the few manufacturers who produce extendable tables of natural stone. The 'Adler I' model impresses with its excellent mechanism made of steel and aluminium, with the aid of which two extensions of 48 cm each can be attached to the ends of the monolithic tabletop. The veins of the stone are continued with precision and the table top is available in all the types of stone and wood in the manufacturer's range.

"Adler I" by Draenert

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Adler I" by Draenert

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Extendable tables with adjustable frame

The frame which extends with the extra leaf is more sophisticated, in that after the extension process the table legs are still the same distance from the outer edge of the table. The principle remains the same – an extra leaf is added to the end of the table.

'Dolmen' by Poliform, a solid wooden table designed by Carlo Colombo, can be extended on one side to a length of 250 cm by the insertion of a wooden panel.
The 'Magnum' table by TEAM 7 is available with a wooden or glass top, with the insert panel enabling optional extension by 50 cm or 100 cm. The one-handed extension of the table features the patented '2soft' swivelling mechanism, which conserves the material and is easy to operate.

"Dolmen" by Poliform

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Dolmen" by Poliform

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"Magnum" table by TEAM 7

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Magnum" table by TEAM 7

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The 'Laia' collection by Alki prides itself on the sustainable production of all its elements. The dining tables are available in three different sizes and can be extended by 50 cm on one side.

The 'Ospite' table, which is today manufactured by Cassina, was designed as early as 1927 by Charlotte Perriand. The table top, which is pulled out and pushed back on guide rails like roller blinds, can be extended to a length of 300 cm. The top is supported at one end by two chrome-plated steel trestles and on the other by a rectangular wooden frame which is painted matt white and contains the roll-out extension leaf. The black table top is coated with a special material which can be wiped down.

"Laia" by Alki prides itself on the sustainable production of all its elements

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Laia" by Alki prides itself on the sustainable production of all its elements

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The 'Ospite' table, which is today manufactured by Cassina, was designed as early as 1927 by Charlotte Perriand

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

The 'Ospite' table, which is today manufactured by Cassina, was designed as early as 1927 by Charlotte Perriand

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Tables which can be extended in the middle

Instead of extending the table at its ends, it can also be extended in the middle. In this case, the main table top is separated by a join. At this point the table can be pulled apart so that one or more panels can be inserted. The winged system represents a special mechanism, with extension panels fitted below the table top which automatically lift into place when the table is pulled apart.

A classic among tables which can be extended in the middle is in the 'CH_322', which was designed by Hans J. Wegener in 1960 and continues to be produced to the present day by Carl Hansen & Son.

The 'RR Folding Dining Table' by Rud. Rasmussen looks like a posh bit of camping equipment, with a simple but highly functional system which enables a central section to be inserted into the folding table.

"CH_322", designed 1960 by Hans J. Wegener

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"CH_322", designed 1960 by Hans J. Wegener

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"RR Folding Dining Table" by Rud. Rasmussen

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"RR Folding Dining Table" by Rud. Rasmussen

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With its simple and elegant lines, the 'S 1070/1071' by Thonet is suited both to private use and to contract furnishing. The extensions are hidden in the tabletop and are inserted in the middle. The tabletop is available in a range of natural woods and the frame is made of matt enamelled or chrome-plated steel tubing.

„S 1070/1071“ by Thonet

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

„S 1070/1071“ by Thonet

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A bevelled pedestal carries the oval table top made of mahogany with star-shaped veneer of the 'Oval' table by Röthlisberger. External insert panels enable the table to be extended in three stages to a length of up to 365 cm. The base separates out and moves with the extension.

"Oval" by Röthlisberger

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Oval" by Röthlisberger

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"Maximo" by Röthlisberger

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Maximo" by Röthlisberger

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The 'Bryant tavolo 180' by Porada is made of oak and can be extended from 180 cm to 240 cm by folding the integrated central extension section upwards.

The dark wood and solid table top give 'Tadeo' by Walter Knoll a slightly rustic touch, but the geometrical frame is modern and elegant. The table can be extended by a central fold-out section.

"Bryant tavolo 180" by Porada

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Bryant tavolo 180" by Porada

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"Tadeo" by Walter Knoll

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Tadeo" by Walter Knoll

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With 'Canaletto', Zanotta also offers a solid-looking dining table with an unexpectedly sophisticated integral mechanism. The extensions are extracted from the end of the table while a clever transition to the narrower extension leaf provides a visually consistent cross-section.

"Canaletto" by Zanotta

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Canaletto" by Zanotta

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The solid-looking bevelled table top of the 'Extendable Dining Table' by Vitra rests on two pairs of legs made of polished aluminium, which are formed by cross members into a trapezium at the top and bottom. Slightly tilted inwards and gradually tapering towards the base, this solid frame makes a slim and elegant impression, not least because of the mirror effect provided by its surface. The table has a hidden metal mechanism on which the table top is fitted and which has room for the additional insert panel.
A high-quality synchronised mechanism enables the table-top, which is joined in the middle, to be opened up far enough to expose the insert panel hidden in the metal container below it without changing the position of the table legs, in other words without making it necessary to lift the whole table laboriously first. Now the insert panel, which is jointed along its lateral axis, only has to be folded upwards and the additional table top area is already in position. Slight pressure on the narrow side of the table top is sufficient for the joints to close, after which the table, which is extended by a good third, is ready for use. A locking mechanism ensures that the different sections of the tabletop can't be pulled away from each other by accident.

"Extendable Dining Table" by Vitra

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Extendable Dining Table" by Vitra

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Fully extended the 'UPW' table by wb engros has an impressive span. The legs of the table move with the extension, which means that they always remain at the ends of the table. No matter to what length the table is extended, which can be 146, 212, 278 or 344 cm, the entire length is always available for chairs and no table legs get in the way of guests.
The extension panels are integrated into the table and are positioned centrally.

"UPW" Tisch by wb engros

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"UPW" Tisch by wb engros

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Extendable tables with a lateral folding mechanism

Extension leaves which can be folded up at the end of the table represent a simple but highly functional principle. They are either located under the table top or form a solid section at the end of the table.
The latter option has the disadvantage that when the table is not fully extended it is not possible to sit at the end of the table with one's legs under it.

The 'Haugesen' table by Fredericia illustrates this system and impresses with its simple elegance. The filigree, visible folding mechanism made of metal is reminiscent of the look of a steel support structure, and the pronounced join between the table top and the extension highlights the function of the table instead of trying to conceal it.

"Haugesen" by Fredericia

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Haugesen" by Fredericia

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In contrast, the fittings of the 'Keramik Extension T' extension system for the ceramic tables made by MDF Italia are almost invisible. These fittings, for which a patent has been registered, enable an extension leaf of 55 cm to be attached at either end of the table, supported on nickel-plated steel rods. Together they can extend the table by an impressive 110 cm. Provided with a magnetic system for positioning and fixing that has been patented by MDF Italia, they are easy to apply to the frame.

"Keramik Extension" by MDF Italia

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Keramik Extension" by MDF Italia

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Wogg offers the greatest possible flexibility in that the 'wogg 6' can not only be folded outwards and inwards, but can be folded up completely. The filigree frame is available in matt black or in chrome, while the laminate table top is available in white, grey or black.

"Wogg 6" can not only be folded outwards and inwards, but can be folded up completely

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Wogg 6" can not only be folded outwards and inwards, but can be folded up completely

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Extendable glass tables

Extendable tables made of glass represent a special challenge. Whereas in the case of tables made of materials such as wood which are not translucent the connections and the extension mechanism are easy to hide, in the case of glass the aesthetics of these fittings requires a great deal of thought because they are visible at all times. They have to be glued to avoid the necessity of drilling holes in the glass top, and the heavy weight of the top is a further challenge. For this reason swivelling side sections have established themselves as an extension system, using a technically sophisticated but also elaborate mechanism, which is applied in particular to this material.

Setsu & Shinobu Ito have designed the 'Tribeca' glass table for Fiam Italia. Here, the mechanism of the table is turned into a design principle, with the angled glass supports of the table top highlighting the high-tech aesthetics. The extension mechanism is filigree and perfectly detailed, forming not just an extension to the table but blending with the glass sections into a kind of transparent apparatus for an artistic installation.

"Tribeca" by Setsu & Shinobu Ito for Fiam Italia

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Tribeca" by Setsu & Shinobu Ito for Fiam Italia

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Also from the design duo Setsu & Shinobu Ito comes 'Shinto', which in design and look may be similar to the 'Tribeca' model but in formal terms makes a more mainstream impression. The two pedestals of the table are available either in glass or in steel painted black.

'Ray Plus 3', also by FIAM Italia, can only be folded out at one end, which does not negatively affect the proportions of the table however, because the glass frame is asymmetrical.

"Shinto" by Setsu & Shinobu Ito for FIAM Italia

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Shinto" by Setsu & Shinobu Ito for FIAM Italia

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"Ray Plus 3" by FIAM Italia

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Ray Plus 3" by FIAM Italia

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The 'Magic' extendable table by Pedrali is available in a clear or satined finish and has a stainless steel frame which can be dismantled.

"Magic" by Pedrali

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Magic" by Pedrali

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Extendable round tables

Circular tables are formally demanding because of the question of how their radius can be changed. One solution is extending the table top by circular sections which can be suspended.

As early as 1963, Paul Kjaerholm developed this system for the 'PK54' table, which continues to be produced to the present day by Fritz Hansen. When not in use the extension segments made of walnut can be stored in a retaining bracket and in themselves represent a notable object in the room.

As early as 1963, Paul Kjaerholm developed this system for the 'PK54' table

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

As early as 1963, Paul Kjaerholm developed this system for the 'PK54' table

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A different kind of geometry is displayed by the 'Radicequadra' table by Zanotta. This table can not only be extended, but also changes its form, with folding circular sections changing the square table top into an oval or circular shape.

"Radicequadra" by Zanotta

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Radicequadra" by Zanotta

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New ideas

The designers Paolo Pallucco and Mireille Rivier have also tackled the subject of changing geometries. The result is the 'Campo d'Oro' table which they have designed for the traditional Italian firm of De Padova.
Although the table top cannot be extended to provide a larger area, a system of hinges and three trapezium shaped elements enables the table itself to take on different shapes, resulting in longer or shorter sides to provide the required amount of seating.

"Campo d'Oro" by De Padova

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Campo d'Oro" by De Padova

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The 'Diverso' table by Team by Wellis is another design which does not fit into any of the above categories. A system which is as visually attractive as it is innovative makes it possible for the table to 'grow' steplessly. At the centre of the table, the wood is perforated with a filigree incision and a simple winding mechanism enables the table to be widened like an accordion by 30 cm.

"Diverso" by Team by Wellis

Furniture with growth potential: extendable tables | Novedades

"Diverso" by Team by Wellis

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However, the table which grows is not just original but almost philosophical, in that objects made of materials which can grow in line with our needs are extremely sustainable. And, if the status of your relationship does happen to change after all – you can always downsize your bed again.