In many homes, where floor space is limited, it is often the dining table that is the first large item of furniture to be subtracted from the scheme. Even in homes that have multiple reception rooms, the dining room is often taken over by an additional snug lounge room that can be utilized more regularly for casual dinners in front of the TV, rather than for an occasional formal gathering at a dining suite. However, a dining set still holds a huge appeal to many who value family mealtimes, and to those who just love to entertain; so what can be done to facilitate a full sized eating area when the desire is bigger than the place it’s meant for? We’ve put together a collection of fabulously designed pull-out, pull down, extending, foldable, concealed, disguised and dual-use dining solutions to suit just about any space.

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Gate legged dining tables have been around for a long time now, and they still provide a good answer for small homes that lack an area in which to set up a long table permanently. Some gate leg tables now incorporate storage opportunities, such as a set of handy drawers in which you can store cutlery and napkins.

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Some foldable dining tables can be used as a small corner table when not being used in its full form.

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This table offers a split use where one end can be used as a desk, hidden from sight when dining by a built-in cork screen.

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The traditional way to extend a formal dining table is to insert extra ‘leaves’, or segments, that are inserted once the two opposite ends of the dining table have been slid apart to reveal the framework. This design still works well for some but does raise the question of where to store additional leaves. There are however new designs being forged that allow a table to be opened up using a tiny concertina effect (the ingenious concept above) that negates the need for any separate pieces, as well as many that now have the leaves folded and concealed within the table itself.

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Extended use can come from incorporating a concealed games table.

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The most cunning of space saving dining tables have got to be those that appear as if from nowhere, with drop-down mechanisms that are fitted directly into walls, allowing a flush finish, or those that parade as an entirely different piece of furniture, such as a console table or coffee table.

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One of the longest extendable tables we’ve seen, stretching from a 2 meter (6.6 feet) dining table with seating for 10, to a huge 26 seat suite when fully extended to 5.8 meters (19 feet).

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Some of these designs in action:

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