The latest design to hit kitchens everywhere is undoubtedly farmhouse, a truly stunning trend that is definitely one size fits all.
While Americans were *ahem*, a little late to dinner when it came to picking up the trends of modern dining tables, Europe had been embracing these darlings of dinnertime grace since the Elizabethan period. Family dinner has been evolving at a rapid rate from its less than humble origins, both in America and Europe; but one thing never changes. The need for a dining table that not only fits the specifications of the dining room itself, but also the needs of the family that owns it.
As the nuclear family shrinks in contemporary times, it seems more and more common that we share meals with extended family or friends on occasion. During holidays and small get togethers, nothing beats the indulgent feel of being surrounded by the people you love most. Having a table that can seat a large number of guests is warm and wonderful when those seats are filled, but having an unnecessarily large table dominate the room the rest of the time can wind up making the whole room feel cluttered or confused. Extendable tables are the perfect solution to wanting the grandeur of a farmhouse table without compromising the style and clean modern design of a space.
We went and talked with Sam from farmhousetablecompany.co.uk — unquestionably one of the top websites to buy extended farmhouse tables in the UK. (Click here to check them out) and here’s a bit more about farmhouse tables:
“Extendable tables are the perfect solution
to wanting the grandeur of a farmhouse table
without compromising the style and clean
modern design of a space.”
A Brief History of the Farmhouse Table
The idea of the family dining table that most closely resembles what we have in modern times, didn’t really trickle down into the middle class until about the 1950’s. While celebrated by the most elite families throughout Europe for centuries, even wealthy Americans didn’t pick up on the trend of family dining until the 1870’s. During the Victorian era, there were few other identifiers of wealth that spoke quite so highly of a person’s station than that of a dining table large enough to accommodate entire families.
Toward the mid-twentieth century, the dining table was brought into households across America and throughout Europe. Becoming a place of familial bonding, where parents and children could come together and speak frankly about their days. Outside of the dinner table, it wasn’t often that adults socialized with children. In more rural and farming communities, the farmhouse table was born.
Farmhouse tables were brought about to meet the needs of harvest crews and farm workers that made the large, but still local, operations possible. While not all farmhands enjoyed a livable wage, most landowners would extend one massive meal at the end of the work day to their employees as a show of good grace and benevolence. The tables that were designed to meet these demands worked just as hard as the men and women that ate at them. Usually crafted from large bits of reclaimed timber, these tables had to readily seat upwards of 20 people at a time, with few of them being able to wash much more than their hands and faces. Bench seating became the preferred way to accommodate these large numbers of people, being durable enough to account for combined weight as well as the grit and grime that had accumulated on the clothing of the workers.
As technology and farming practices matured, so did the farmhouse table. Many of them were no longer needed to accommodate masses of laborers and were brought inside the home as a sign of accumulated wealth and made for a fascinating origin story. Families began to eat together as a unit, and only required excess seating and table space on special occasions and holidays. Solid tables gave way to the cleverly designed “table leaf”. While the idea of table leaves goes back into the 14th century and was seen often in leisure furniture by the 15th century, the idea didn’t really come into modern design dining table until the mid-20th century. Drop leaf side tables, coffee tables, and night stands were extremely popular throughout Victorian era America, but the US didn’t see the drop-leaf dining table (although highly popular in England during this time) until much later.
Modern Form Married with Classic Function
Modern design is heralded by the concept of minimalism, even in spaces that require a decent amount of stuff. With few exceptions, a room that is free from clutter and has thoughtfully designed pockets of negative space make the area feel clean and relaxing. Finding ways to balance large pieces and negative space can be a real nightmare, especially if you’re contending with a smaller footprint, as more and more people are.
The problem that most people come up against with the minimalism movement is making it work with the pieces they love most, or figuring out how to get the minimalist feel, without sacrificing the comforts of a modern kitchen come dining room. The reality is that minimalism doesn’t have to be cold and sterile. In fact, by getting creative and learning to toss uni-tasking furniture, you can keep your space from feeling congested, while still being able to comfortably house that iconic statement table along with all the comforts of home.
Extendable tables are one of the best ways to be able to incorporate what would otherwise been seen as a cumbersome piece into a room that isn’t specifically designed as a standalone dining area. Because, let’s face it- who still has a dining room that doesn’t multi-task as some other useful space? One of the most significant ways that floor plan design has evolved from it’s stuffy Elizabethan past is that you no longer have to walk through a million different doors to get to a desired destination. Open floor plans are sought after not only for their ease of travel and use, but also for the calming feeling you get from being in an unobstructed space. Keeping that space unobstructed is simple when your table can evolve alongside the needs of the room.
Why Choose Extendable Over Drop Leaf?
Just because something has been in fashion doesn’t mean it still belongs. We’re looking at you, dust ruffled sofas. For the exact same reason, we love open floor plans, we also love to see the open spaces around our furniture. Creating more space for the eye and making the whole room feel that much bigger. Just like those horrifying fabrics that covered the feet of sofas and the labyrinth of individual rooms have been all but banished, so too has the drop-leaf table. Drop-leaf tables, have a stuffy feel and don’t keep your space looking clean. Drop-leaf tables work on the principal of a hinged portion of table that drops down to the side when not in use. I think we all have the elderly relative that still owns a drop-leaf piece somewhere.
The clunky days of wood choked foyers and stuffy dining areas are thankfully behind us, and have given rise to the extendable tables. Extendable tables differ from drop-leaf tables in that the extensions can be easily stored out of view when not in use. Keeping the clean edges of your table frame gorgeously intact, instead of awkwardly draped in a shroud of heavy wood. They’re also cleverly designed to be sturdy and secure when inserted, so you don’t have to worry about spaghetti sauce flying all over your gorgeous new area rug. The best extendable table leaves are designed to integrate flawlessly with the existing piece, and the extension slots should be just as easily hidden as the leaves themselves so your table is always looking picture perfect for any occasion.
Which just so happens to be the entire point of a farmhouse table to begin with. You don’t seek out an expertly crafted frame with modern edges or carefully turned traditional legs just to hide them. Drawing the eye over the full craftsmanship of your piece and keeping the lush tabletop exactly where it belongs: on top of the table. Leaving you all of the space for injecting your own favorite accents and character, without compromising the overall look.
Have you invested in an extended farmhouse table?
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