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How to Make Your Dining Table Bigger

Updated on December 8, 2016

Abracadabra!

6' x 3' old table, seats 6.
6' x 3' old table, seats 6.
 4'x8' new table, seats 8-10.
4'x8' new table, seats 8-10.

Make Your Family Dining Table Grow with Your Family for Under $100!

I remember we bought our six-foot pine table when our first child was born. It seemed enormous to us! Two young people and a tiny baby, why did we buy so big?

Well, roll on another sixteen years and not only are there more kids, but they are huge and their friends are huge, and quite frankly, that enormous six-foot table became way too small!

I looked into new tables. But with three active boys, I didn't want something so fine that I'd always be fretting about glass marks, spills and scratches. I also didn't particularly want to drop grand or two on a piece of furniture.

So keep reading. Because here is a solution for a beautiful new table that is so easy and inexpensive, it's just ridiculous!

It's Easy to Make Your Existing Table Bigger with a 4'x8' Board

Simply overlay your existing table with a larger board that has an attractive veneer on one face (this is birch). Stain and gloss the top to match the existing legs (or stain and gloss the legs too like we did). The entire project including stain and gloss came in under $100, plus a few hours of my time. Five years down the road, it's still serving us well. And we have not outgrown it!

Materials Needed

  • 1 4'x8' plywood board (with veneer on one side)
  • 4 lengths of wood, each 1"x1"x 2' long
  • 2 short pieces of wood, 4"x1"x1"
  • 2 2" nails
  • wood edging tape (see link below)
  • wood glue
  • wood stain and wood gloss of your choice

The unfinished 8'x4' plywood board.
The unfinished 8'x4' plywood board.
You'll need 4 struts of wood approx 1"x1"x2'.
You'll need 4 struts of wood approx 1"x1"x2'.
Struts hold the board in place on the old table (viewed from below)
Struts hold the board in place on the old table (viewed from below)
Small 4" piece of wood pivots to "lock" the board onto the old table.
Small 4" piece of wood pivots to "lock" the board onto the old table.

Here Are the How-To Nuts and Bolts:

  1. Choose how large you want your table to be (keep in mind that it must work proportionally with your existing table's legs). The boards are sold 4'x8', but you can ask to have it cut down if you want smaller. IMPORTANT: You must get a board that has a veneer (such as birch) on one side.
  2. Now take your 4 2' lengths of wood and glue them to the underside (non-veneer side) of your board in an open rectangle so that when the board is laid on top of the table, the table will fit reasonably snugly (doesn't have to be a tight fit, a little space OK) to prevent slippage. Measure carefully because you want it set on straight. (see diagram at right)
  3. Take the two 2" nails and nail the two 4" struts to the center of each of the two long struts running along the two longer edges of the board (see diagram at right). This will allow you to pivot each small strut and "lock" the board onto the table so that it cannot be tipped up accidentally. You will need to look carefully at your own table and think this through, making any adjustments necessary as every table is different.
  4. Place the board on the table, veneer side up and measure the total edge of your board. Apply the wood edging tape, following the manufacturer's directions. (This is usually a process that involves ironing on the tape in order to dissolve the pre-applied adhesive.)
  5. Transform your board and its new wood trim with a beautiful wood stain of your choosing. Again keep in mind the look and color of the existing table's legs. Can you stain those to match? We did! When you are happy with the color, finish it with two coats of polyurethane, gloss or semi-gloss, again your choice of finish. (You can also buy stain and gloss all in one to save time.)

 4'x8' new table, seats 8-10.
4'x8' new table, seats 8-10.

This table topper helped our family meals go from cramped and crowded to spacious and relaxed (ha, just kidding, what family mealtime was ever relaxed?!). Plus, because it was so inexpensive, I didn't care whether hot dishes or wet glasses were put on it. Even now after five years, it shows few signs of wear.

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    • poowool5 profile image
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      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks for the comments, everybody!

      Good point, Marcy (that I probably should have made myself!) that this larger tabletop can be added and taken away as needed. Always good to have that option for larger groups.

      ANd yes, Cyndi10, the ever-shrinking desk (like my ever-shrinking jeans...), I'm sure it would work well for this too.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing, janikon and summerberrie!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      poowool5, this is such a great hub for how to expand your table. I really enjoyed reading it and the do it yourself pictures were perfect!

    • janikon profile image

      Stuart A Jeffery 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Very clever and inexpensive idea. Voted up and shared.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Clever, Clever idea. You took a lot of time with those instructions, too. Maybe something similar would work on my desk which seems to be shrinking! Good hub.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I cracked up at your "Doesn't that apron make me look fat?" comment!

      Seriously - I love this hub! I've been trying to figure a way to 'expand' my petite dining table that's bigger on looks than on function. I hadn't thought of adding the underside braces to make a false top more stable. I would probably use it now and then (rather than all the time), but I sure do need it when I need it.

      Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting! And shared!

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Whoops, sorry to be late getting back to your question, PJ. I bought the plywood from our local old-fashioned lumber store, the kind with a lumberyard out back. I am surprised Lowes didn't sell these. Perhaps try calling a few places to ask in advance so you don't have wasted trips. Hope you can locate it. What I smugly enjoy most is the comments of my friends with expensive tastes as they admire it, not realizing it didn't cost me an arm and a leg!

    • profile image

      PJ 5 years ago

      Great idea! This is JUST what I was looking for. Thanks so much for sharing! One question - where did you buy your plywood board? I checked my local home improvement store (Lowe's) but didn't come across any with a veneer on one side. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful idea!

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks for the comment, Robie. You know, for little money, it really can give a table a new lease of life. I didn't think we would keep it for so long, but it still looks good after years of daily use, so you know, if it ain't broke...

      Today we dyed Easter eggs right on the table, no protective newspaper etc...guess not much gets through a couple coats of polyurethane, because it didn't affect the table at all. And that's what I need with three boys...ROBUST furniture ;)

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      Great idea! I have an old table that on top of being small, has some water damage, we keep it in the (non-used) dining room for the kid's homework, and this plywood board treatment may be just what it needs. Thanks for sharing, and I love the pictures, very helpful! Ciao

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks Steph and Jennifer. I thought either it would wear down or I'd tire of it by now, but not so (pic above is current, ie. 5 years after making it)!

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      This is a great idea and the picture illustration are really helpful. +useful

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great idea and totally rated up! I have 4 kids and it seems like the table is never big enough. Then, if any of my friends come over with their kids... ugh! Nice tips and easy to do. Rated up - Steph

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks Lizam1. The board is only 3/4" thick, so, yes, the table would be higher, but only by 3/4". Not really noticeable.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Nice idea - one question does laying the board on top make the table an odd height?

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks for commenting, Liz! Sometimes it's the simple things that have the biggest impact!

    • lizlauder profile image

      lizlauder 5 years ago from Western New York

      This is such a great idea! And it looks beautiful.

    • poowool5 profile image
      Author

      poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

      Thanks cloverleaffarm, anything to save a few bucks, right? Actually, I find it hugely satisfying to pull off a DIY job like this. A little domestic pride :)

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great job on both the hub, and the table. Voted up and useful!