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Extra Seating For Dining During the Holidays

So, you’re planning a big dinner party for the holidays. You’ve got the menu set, caterer lined up (or maybe a potluck), and music and décor selected. 

Perhaps a few of your guests are bringing a ‘plus one.’ Of course, you don’t want to leave anyone out. Then it occurs to you… where is everyone going to sit? Your dining room table has limited seating, but you want everyone to enjoy the meal together. What’s a host to do?

Add Table Leaves to Your Seating Plan

Remember when you bought your dining room table? Didn’t it come with a table leaf that you thought you’d never use? It’s time to pull that table leaf out of storage and put it to good use. Most dining room tables come with an option for oneBassett BenchMade or two table leaves to expand the table. If you didn’t purchase table leaves with your table, you may want to call your furniture retailer and place an order. Once you have your table leaves, you’ll be prepared to entertain in style for this dinner party and every party in the future.

Installing your table leaves takes just a few minutes. And it can be managed with one person but is more easily accomplished with two people. Your table should have four locking mechanisms underneath. Simply turn the locks, which will allow the table to open. Position one person on each end of the table and pull the table out as far as it will go. Insert your table leaf or leaves so that the pegs and holes align. Then, simply push the table back together so it’s snug and re-secure the locking mechanisms underneath.

How Much Room Do Table Leaves Add?

Your table leaves will generally add one more seat on each side of the table. However, with a little ingenuity, you may be able to squeeze one more seat in per side. When determining your maximum sating, keep in mind that your guests might sit a little closer to each other. But there should still be enough room for each person to pull out their chair to sit down or get up as needed. 

If you still need more seating beyond this, you may want to consider adding another table to the mix. If the tables are the same height and you have the space, try pushing them together to create one long table. If your tables are different heights, consider moving them closer together for conversation, but still leave enough room for your guests to move around.

Seating Options: Benches vs. Chairs and More

Now that you have the table space for your party, you’ll need to tackle seating. Although you bought extra table leaves with your dining room table, you probably didn’t purchase extra chairs. Of course, you can always rent seating or borrow chairs from a friend or neighbor, but folding chairs aren’t exactly dining room material. So, the best option may be to invest in traditional seating that you can keep on hand for other occasions. 

By investing in additional seating now, you’ll always have a cohesive space, instead of looking like you pulled everything out of your garage. If you need to purchase extra chairs, contact your furniture retailer as soon as possible. When room planning, your designer can help you order chairs that will match or coordinate with your current décor. And always buy pieces you can use throughout your home. (We’ll get to that a little later.)

Some party hosts choose to place chairs on one side of the table and add a bench to the other side. Because chairs have a larger footprint, bench seating may allow you to fit one more person on that side. You may also add additional dining room chairs to your seating. (It’s OK if they don’t match.) 

Your guests can also sit comfortably on a stool, poof chair or sturdy side table. Just be sure that the extra bench, chairs or poofs allow your guests to sit at the same height as those seated in other chairs. You wouldn’t want some guests to feel uncomfortable sitting noticeably lower than everyone else.

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Creative Uses for Extra Seating After Your Dinner Party

Here’s the great news! Once your party is over and the table leaves are back in storage, you can make creative use of your extra seating throughout your home. Here are a few fun options for year-round use of your extra seating.

  • Use a bench in a mudroom or other entryway.

  • Use a dining chair as extra bedroom seating, desk seating, or sewing/craft room seating.

  • Add a dining room chair in a hallway corner with a pillow or throw for visual interest.

  • Create a cozy sitting area with two dining chairs and a small table in between.

  • Poof seating can double as additional cozy living room or bedroom seating.

  • A small, sturdy ottoman can double as a cocktail table or end table in your living room or den.

  • Pull your extra seating out for game night or for casual gatherings around your coffee table.

Getting ready for a dinner party? Set up your design appointment today!

Let Bassett designers help you prepare for your best holiday yet!

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