Drop leaf and Gate-leg Tables design were popular in America’s Colonial period of the 17th century; homes were typically small and these tables helped saved space.
A gate-leg table is named for its gate frame. A gate frame is the wood structure that swings out to hold up the table’s leaves, or sections of its tabletop. Gate-leg Tables are a type of drop leaf table. A drop leaf table has one or two tabletop sections, or leaves, that can be dropped down to save space when the table’s not being used. Drop leaf and Gate-leg Tables date back to 16th century England.
Gate-leg tables may be small for occasional use or it may be larger for dining.
Typically, gate-leg tables are round and seat six to eight people. A gate-leg dining table usually has double gate frames to allow both tabletop leaves to be dropped down. This quality makes the table easy to store since only its length remains unchangeable in size.
If the dining table is used permanently in a home, it’s more common for just one leaf to be dropped down. This side can then be pushed against a wall and the remaining leaf allows the table to still be used by three to four people. The gate frame is attached to the underside of the gate-leg tables by hinges. When more table space is needed, the table can be moved out from the wall and the gate frame swung open to support the second leaf for seating three to four additional people.
Gate-leg dining tables are ideal for apartments and small homes. They also work well in outdoor living spaces on covered decks or patios. The best outdoor gate-leg tables are made of teak. A teak gate-leg dining table is often expensive, but usually well worth the price as teak is known for its ability to remain durable under moist conditions.