What Is a Butterfly Table Leaf?

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A butterfly table leaf is a panel that fits into the middle of a table, serving as an extension to create a larger dining space when needed. It's folded and stored within the table itself. The table top is divided into two sections that slide apart to reveal the extra panel, which unfolds like a butterfly when you take it out.

Past and Present

  • A butterfly leaf is an efficient way to create extra room at the table, eliminating the need to store an extra panel elsewhere. It's kept safe and secure, and is immediately accessible. Butterfly tables originated in Colonial America in the early 18th century and have traditionally been oval or round, with splayed legs and made of solid hardwoods. They evolved from the more basic drop-leaf versions, with wing-shaped leaf supports that pivoted out from stretchers on either side of the table. These were typically small side tables, rather than the more common dining table of today with the leaf stored inside.

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  • Photo Credit Christopher Nuzzaco/iStock/Getty Images
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