Awesome-looking, space-saving tables for small space hosting

Updated Oct 12 2015
meggyfin
143779_view.add1My husband and I recently downsized to a pretty amazing 875-square-foot apartment, and because of that we sold a lot of our furniture (including the kitchen table). This has been a great choice for our daily lives, however this Thanksgiving we will be hosting at least eight people for a huge feast.

So with the holidays coming up, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for awesome-looking, space-saving tables that could easily be folded up once the guests are gone?iLiveinmyLab

You have come to the right place! I ditched my kitchen table completely and have had to get creative when I (rarely) need to have a seated dinner. Here are some awesome-looking table options from tables you can purchase today, to creative work-arounds…

This is 3-in-1 Convertible Table is blowing my mind. It goes from a tiny console table, to a card table, then a full-sized dining table!
Expanding dining tables are a thing, and they are blowing my mind. It goes from a tiny console table, to a card table, then a full-sized dining table!

Colorful tables add a bit more fun to yer typical molded plastic fold-away tables. This one comes in blue and red from $136
Colorful tables add a bit more fun to yer typical molded plastic fold-away tables. This one comes in blue and red.

The Flip Top BenchTable could sit outside on your patio until you need to bring it in to dine.
The Flip Top BenchTable could sit outside on your patio until you need to bring it in to dine.

Same thing goes for the Merry Garden Interchangeable Picnic Table and Garden Bench.
Same thing goes for the Merry Garden Interchangeable Picnic Table and Garden Bench.

Photo courtesy of captivatist.com
Photo courtesy of captivatist.com
Check out this product that's sadly no longer available — it's a hanging mirror that converts into a table. Perhaps there's a way to DIY this?

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The 60" Flower Shaped Activity Table has the same folding table style, new folding table look with its shape and different color choices!

Looking for something in a round table? Check out the fold flat Achla Designs 48-Inch Folding Table
Looking for something in a round table? Check out the fold flat Achla Designs 48-Inch Folding Table.

The  Kartell Spoon Tables are pricey, but ultra modern and sleek.
The Kartell Spoon Tables are pricey, but ultra modern and sleek.


This is probably my most "out there" suggestion — a fold-up beer pong table. This one comes in tons of different designs.

Do what I used to do: Buy a (removable) glass-topped dining table with an awesome base.  Then invest in a smaller glass table top that is the size of the table base. When you're not using it as a dining table, place the small glass piece on top and use it as an accent or side table, and store the larger glass top.
Do what I used to do: Buy a (removable) glass-topped dining table with an awesome base. Then invest in a smaller glass table top that is the size of the table base. When you're not using it as a dining table, place the small glass piece on top and use it as an accent or side table, and store the larger glass top.

Phew, those are all my suggestions. What do other dining table-less people do when they need to host a dinner party?

  1. I love traditional gate leg tables. I was literally to the point of trying to fit on into my car to bring it home, only to find out it couldn't fit, and so I couldn't get it delivered to my house. I ended up buying a oak dining table with a folding leaf because it easily disassembled to fit into my car.

  2. Just wanted to point out, I don't believe the flower table is actually foldable. It looks a lot like the desks I had in elementary, and those don't fold. You could probably take off the legs, but that would involve at least a screwdriver.

    • Going along with this, people used to sometimes use a door. Take out the pins, use a door. Not always the 100% smoothest table (depending on your door style), but on a pair of sawhorses, it totally works. I know this because of my former-re-enactor father who used to sometimes set this kind of thing up at our home–usually outside, though. So if you're desperate and you have enough doors in your house that you can temporarily take one down, there's an option…

  3. Or just provide some lap desks or trays or something, and lots of pillows and cushions and stuff, and everyone eat on the floor! Of course, this depends on your guests…

    I also find, whenever we're pressed for space for a dinner gathering, that serving food buffet-style in the kitchen leaves all the space on the table for plates and drinks, instead of crowding it even more with food and serving dishes.

    • This is how my grandma used to serve the kids at Thanksgiving. Her table was only big enough for the adults to sit at, and so the kids got to eat on essentially TV trays in the living room.

    • We used to do this back in grad school (we actually had 16 people my last year of my research work), however now that we're out and have "grown up" jobs we kind of wanted to ditch this and move towards a more standard table setting. I do admit, it is highly effective!

  4. That mirror table reminds me of this one: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/space-saving-magic-hide-your-dining-table-on-the-wall-166203

    It wouldn't be too hard for an artsy person to paint a tabletop that could double as wall art (perhaps on plywood with sawhorses like Emmy suggested).

    While those folding plastic tables can look bland, it's easy to dress them up with a colorful tablecloth. They're so lightweight, and this one even folds in half in addition to the legs folding in.

    Otherwise could you borrow a table from a neighbor?

    I know there have been OBH posts about using pillows as seating, if eating on the floor works for your crowd.

    • I usually just borrow folding tables from friends. It works well, and with a table cloth over them, you can't tell if the tables are fancy or folding. We had 12 people in our old 500 sqft apartment for Rosh Hashanah. I used our little kitchen table, a card table borrowed from my mom, and a 6 ft folding table borrowed from friends. We could have fit 14 people really.

  5. I have an awesome gateleg table I got at a yard sale, but normally there are only two of us in my family, we have a similarly small apartment, and we're having four guests for Thanksgiving. I don't suppose anyone has any good suggestions for stowable chairs?

    • We have a pair of metal folding chairs from my parents that we keep in the pantry, just in case we need an extra pair of seats. Folding chairs can be obtained pretty inexpensively, I think. You might even be able to find them at a second-hand store, if you need to be extra-thrifty.

      Thinking back to college, if you're really desperate, throw in a couple of camp chairs (if your table isn't too high up, anyway) and some foldable lawn chairs. Actually, if you have outdoor seating that isn't too bulky, you might be able to even bring that inside to use. (I'm thinking like the vintage metal patio chairs that weren't massive–not those adirondack-type deck chairs)

  6. I admit to owning the folding beer pong table – my husband recieved it as a gift – but by God, it is the best all-purpose table we own. Perfect for folding laundry, games, buffets, you name it.

  7. So UPDATE!!!! We did end up going with the kick ass folding one from Ikea (that I posted upthread) and it was amazing! It was a total PITA to put together, but it was able to seat 8 fairly comfortably for Thanksgiving and it's awesome because it takes up so little space now. (Plus I can fit my fancy napkins and smaller tablecloths in it!) It's pretty awesome.

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