How to Add Space to a Thanksgiving Table Set Up

If it's your turn to host the family festivities this Thanksgiving, but you aren't blessed with a table for 12 (or more), here are some easy ways to make sure everyone has a place to give thanks.

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Thanksgiving Table
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How To Fit the Whole Family at the Thanksgiving Table

Hosting Thanksgiving usually means hosting many guests. That means you’ll need way more seating than for a typical Saturday dinner party. Whether you’re hosting Friendsgiving with all your friends — and their friends — or having family Thanksgiving for the first time, table space will be at a premium. Here are some ideas to get more room at the Thanksgiving table. If you’re in need of a quality table to decorate and accommodate holiday guests, a folding table is a great choice.
Bonus: These affordable accents will help you bring your dinner party ideas to life.
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Build a Bigger Table

Thanksgiving gatherings call for lots of table room. No, we aren’t talking a feat of woodworking precision, but a simple sawhorse Thanksgiving table that is easy to set up for entertaining and folds down when not in use. And sawhorses are very easy to build and you can use an old door or other flat slab of wood (or melamine) as the tabletop. Whether covered with a tablecloth or left as a rustic centerpiece, your entire family will be happy with enough room to dine in style.

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Construct a Bench

Seating is one of the many things you need to prepare before hosting the holidays. Forget chairs when it comes to packing in more diners into a small Thanksgiving table. Make your own dining bench, and you can seat several more people than with traditional dining chairs, especially kids who need much less elbow room. Plus, when the holidays are over, a rustic bench makes the perfect home or garden decor. You can build a bench with a solid top, or use several pieces of of wood to make a rustic timber bench.

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Kids Table

An adult may complain about being seated at the kid’s thanksgiving table, but the kids certainly won’t. Set up the kid’s table with supplies for DIY Thanksgiving decorations to keep the kids entertained before and after Thanksgiving dinner. Kids tables are for more than Legos and crafts. And they can be the perfect place for little ones to gather and have a celebration that feels like their own, even if they’re in the same room as you. Kid-sized tables, chairs and benches also fit well in a small space, meaning you won’t have to redesign your whole home for one gathering.

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Kristen Beinke/Shutterstock

Host it Outdoors

Don’t overlook outdoor entertainment spaces for your Thanksgiving table feast. If the weather allows, take the party outside where there will be tons of room to roam. If you’re still short of seating, consider removing your dining table from the house for the afternoon and create a vibe of outdoor luxury.

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Repurpose Furniture

Don’t be afraid to repurpose furniture from other rooms. Bring desks and tables from other rooms to create intimate areas for guests to dine. A collection of smaller tables in the vicinity of the main dining area can create a cozy restaurant-like atmosphere while still allowing conversation. Keep things festive by placing Thanksgiving decor, such as a cornucopia, on each table.

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Make a New Top

If you love your table, but it doesn’t have leaves, consider using a few woodworking basics to make a new top for the occasion to extend your table. Build with plywood to keep costs to a minimum and cover with a festive table covering to create a large gathering space for a fraction of the cost of a new dining room Thanksgiving table.

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shutterstock_730422505 thanksgiving buffet food turkey
Osarieme A Eweka/Shutterstock

Create a Buffet

You’d be surprised how much space can be found when food isn’t laid on the Thanksgiving table. Create a buffet station on the kitchen counter or island where guests can fill their plates and find a seat at the table to enjoy the meal. And with fewer dishes to contend with, you can score an extra few seats around the table.

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, ask guests to RSVP so you can find enough seating space ahead of time.

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Go Diagonal

Who says furniture needs to be perpendicular? Make your small space look bigger by adding a second table and placing your dining room on a diagonal to create more room at the ends and sides. And creating a diagonal layout will allow more room to maneuver around the Thanksgiving table for second helpings!

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shutterstock_463662353 dining room

Utilize Doorways

Consider your dining room doorways as space for additional seating. And the beauty of large archways and doorways between rooms is that you can add small tables for ample seating that is still close enough to pass the potatoes down to Aunt Jean. If another room will be visible from the additional tables, be sure to decorate it too. Decorate your mantle for Thanksgiving to keep the mood festive in the whole house and check out these Thanksgiving centerpieces that will complete your holiday table.

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Make Table Extenders

If your dining room table needs refinishing, why not create a new table leaf to match at the same time? The added space will be handy for any holiday or large gathering and you’ll be more than satisfied with the money you saved. If you don’t have room to gather in person, or if you decide to stay distanced, a virtual Thanksgiving dinner is another option to consider.