DIY: Create More Space For Dining – On A Budget


Like many of you I find myself with an ever-growing family and forever looking for ways to expand space, seating, etc…. One of the areas I desperately needed more space was my dining table on my screened in porch.  I have the typical oval iron patio table you can get almost anywhere – Home Depot, Lowes, etc. – that seats six people.  For years it sufficed for my family of five.  When my parents came over we could scrunch in an extra chair and manage just fine.  This is what it looked like originally – notice it seats six:

Outdoor Living - Table Setting 2

But, now that my oldest son is married with a toddler and another one on the way; and my middle son has a girlfriend (who is living with us at the moment) we’ve more than outgrown the table.   And except for a few months out of the year when it’s either too hot or too cold it’s our favorite place to have dinner together.

Outdoor Living-Table Setting

After looking at new tables and pondering what to do I decided I could “go cheap” and expand the table myself without having to invest in a new one. Because I’m one of “those” who love to have my table set at all times with a tablecloth and place settings I figured….I could just cover up my new makeshift table with a new, larger tablecloth.  Right?


So I headed to good old Home Depot to look for materials.  For my immediate family and my parents to sit comfortably when we are all together I needed to be able to seat at least nine people, but I wanted to be able to seat 12 – 14 at any given moment to accommodate more family and friends.  So I purchased one large 4’x8’ piece of wood and two 2’x4’ pieces.  I had Home Depot cut the 4×8 piece down the middle so I could add the smaller pieces as table leaves when needed.  (If you don’t have access to a saw just have them do it for you.  You get one or two cuts for free and then it’s something like $1.00 per cut after that.  Very reasonable and saves you the hassle.)


I bracketed the two large pieces together to create one stable piece.  (I just un-hinge it and add my leaves, securing them with brackets when I need to expand)


I added strength and stability to the perimeter of the table with 2×4 strips that I nailed into place.


I screwed in my makeshift legs (that I had cut to size by Home Depot).


I reinforced the legs with “L” brackets.


Yes, girls, you can do this all by yourself!



The iron table acts as my base and supports my new tabletop with the help of the new legs at each end.  Here’s what it looks like from the bottom.


And, here’s what it looks like from the top.


See how nice and big it is now?


And once I add my tablecloth, topper and place settings no one has a clue (till now) what it looks like underneath.  I added at iron bench at one end and two new iron chairs at the other.  (I’m thinking about painting all the chairs red, or maybe a mint green)


Right now you can see I can easily seat ten people:  Six in the center and two at each end.  But, remember I have two leaves that I can insert to expand the table to accommodate 12 – 14.  I have an extra table topper and an extra white tablecloth that I can add when the table is extended to keep it looking consistent and nice.  (I got the table topper and tablecloths from Wal-Mart, by the way)  A table this size makes a great space for birthday and holiday meals.

This can be done on an enclosed patio table or even on your indoor table.  And the total cost was less than $50.00! Much cheaper than a brand new table!  So if you are looking for an inexpensive way to gain more dining space consider this alternative. And, girls, you don’t need a man to do this for you.  You can do it by yourself.  So don’t wait around for him to do it for you.  Take the initiative and go for it!

Happy Decorating!!!

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