What takes up half the usual space but seats twice the number of people? Answer: A drop-leaf table. Okay, that riddle may have been a bit nonsensical, but the answer is still the perfect solution to small space dining.

The drop-leaf table is the Transformer of tables and can be "more than meets the eye". It can be a petite sofa table, disguised desk or maybe a practical hall table, but when dinner guests drop in it becomes a dining table for four to six. Because drop-leaf tables have flat sides when "dropped", they can easily be pushed against a wall when not in use. These tables can be primary dining tables or can serve as secondary tables that are pulled out only for entertaining.

In a small kitchen with no real dining space, the drop-leaf table has a tiny footprint but still provides seating for two on a daily basis. The table can be expanded and the wicker chairs turned around to seat two more diners in a pinch.

Drop-leaf tables are not as easy to find as tables with the leaf extensions, but in a tiny apartment, who wants to store an extra leaf to a dining table? There are beautiful vintage tables (our favorite) with a great variety in finishes, shapes and styles. Feeling handy? Southern Living has plans to make your own drop-leaf table.

We found a few options, new and old, ranging from rustic to contemporary. . . even a glass drop-leaf table:
1. Swedish, round table with cross stretcher base from 1st Dibs.
2. Hans J Wegner Drop Leaf Dining Table from Room & Board.
Pasted from
3. For really tiny spaces and a low price point, the Muddus table from Ikea.
4. Oval drop-leaf sofa table from Lane Furniture.

Do you have a drop-leaf table? Does it work for you? What are other innovative ways to use a drop-leaf table in a small space?

(Image: Don Freeman/House Beautiful via Habitually Chic)