One of the things we have to be thankful for these days is the copious amount of living space most of us have. Such was not always the case! Today, we can afford to have an entire room dedicated to a huge table that we only use a few times a year, but historically, especially in America prior to the twentieth century, dining tables needed to be able to make remarkable transformations from pieces of furniture that took up little space and/or could be tucked out of the way to large surfaces capable of accommodating a crowd. Of course, if you don’t have a whole room to give up 365 days a year, and you’d like something other than the card table that makes you feel like you’re still sitting at the kids’ table, antiques can offer lots of options that allow you to transform your dining room (or any other room) to an elegant space that will seat a crowd.
Of course, there is the old standard of adding leaves, but our ancestors were waaaay more creative than that! There are drop-leaf tables that have numerous classifications – the standard form with a support that swings out to support the leaf, gate-leg tables that have a leg (sometimes an extra leg) that swings out like a gate to hold the leaf, etc. There are banquet tables that are essentially two or three separate (usually drop leaf) tables that can be broken up and located throughout a home when not in use. My personal favorites are hutch tables, like the one pictured above. These products of genius are tables, but when not in use, the tops flip up, revealing a chair seat or a bench that doubles as a base. They can be scooted up against a wall and used for seating until a table is needed. The best part is that because tables were/are so plentiful, you can have your pick of style and price range. Some examples can be very expensive (usually because of their age), but you can find these forms at just about any price point if you look, so stow the card tables and look for something worthy of that big Thanksgiving dinner!
Provide by Antiques Reference – p4A