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I have a small but nice appartment (40m²). As such, I have to be creative with how I manage and use the space I have.

My kitchen is also quite small. I own this kitchen island: enter image description here

Here is my kitchen layout:

enter image description here

I am thinking of adding a self-constructed, foldable table that is attached to the kitchen island via hinges. Reason being that it would be nice to have a place to eat where two people can look at each other while eating. My design could also double as a cool "bar" if I have friends over (apologies for quality/abruptness of camera movements - I had to remove frames to be able to upload here, as there is a 2 MiB upload limit):

enter image description here

Obviously, this design won't quite work, as the legs would need to "go through the floor and the wall" during the folding motion. I still think there may be a way to make this idea work if I deal with the legs in some other way.

Two ideas I've had:

  • Make some mechanism that allows me to remove the legs sideways:

enter image description here

  • Make some mechanism that allows me to remove the legs through the table, i.e. upwards.

enter image description here

Both would require some form of locking the legs into place when the table is folded out, i.e. when it is in use.

I am looking for ideas for such mechanisms for either of above options. A potential solution would need to have some way of locking the legs into place when the table is unfolded/“open”.

If anyone has any other ideas how to make this work, I'm definitely all ears for that as well! :)

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Edit: Thanks for the (already) many responses. All great ideas! Once I’ve decided on and implemented one, I’ll be sure to mark that one as the “correct” one”! :)

4 Answers 4

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Locking Folding Brackets

I have used method this successfully with a folding shelf in front of a microwave oven (due to door location, I had to build a cabinet smaller than the usual size and just large enough to hold the microwave oven with no workspace) and a computer "desk" that folds down against the wall. In each of these cases, the folding part attaches to either a very sturdy cabinet (which itself is attached securely to the wall) or to the wall itself. I used something similar to this:

folding bracket

but there are plenty of varieties. They have varying sizes, supported weight and methods of opening/closing/locking.

However, depending on how strong your table is, that may not work well if it is not secured to the wall because the hinged portion would act as a lever. So that means legs.

Hinged Legs

Hinged legs will be a lot easier to use than sliding, removing, etc. You can use velcro or magnets so that when you flip the legs up they stick to the underside of the movable part of the table.

The only catch is that you need to make them small enough. With a 24" desk, that would mean a 24" depth for the folding part of the table. But (a) your island looks a bit taller than that, and (b) you have limited space due to the layout of the kitchen. So if simple hinged legs won't work due to the dimensions, folding legs may be the answer. I would use two parts for each leg with hinges in the opposite direction. If the legs are on the left side, hinge on the "inside" that folds from left up (open = 90 degrees, closed = 0 degrees) at the top, and halfway down (connection the parts of the leg), hinge on the "outside" that folds from straight to folded (open = 180 degrees, closed = 0 degrees). You should have some sort of "lock" so that the legs won't move too easily when in use.

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  • Thanks manassehkatz! I will have a look if I can find a way to make folding brackets work. About your idea for folding hinged legs: I was also thinking of that. But if they are attached to the table, I don’t see any way of folding them at all, unless I am able to fold the table upward a bit. Any folding of the legs would put the diagonal of the legs (or any foldable subsection) at a 90 degree with the floor, meaning they don’t have enough space to extend. Or am I not thinking of something?
    – ChrisC
    Jan 9 at 2:47
  • I also saw this design from IKEA. ikea.com/de/de/p/norden-klapptisch-birke-90423887. I could try and copy that kind of design, allthough I’m not sure how much weight I could put on the “unsupported” corner of the table
    – ChrisC
    Jan 9 at 2:50
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    With folding legs, you would install the table top to the island so that it can fold slightly more than 90 degrees, perhaps 95 degrees. You fold it out to 95 degrees, pop down the legs and then lower the table top/legs down so that it is flat (90 degrees). To put away, lift up slightly, flip up the legs, flip down the table top. Jan 9 at 2:51
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    Yes, that is another way to do it. Simpler mechanism, but it is only one leg. You could actually do something similar with two legs. Jan 9 at 2:52
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Just a rough idea. You can fold the legs up if you wish. I would consider adding a wheel on the leg.

enter image description here

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I recommend adding a gateleg drop leaf to each side of your kitchen island. Gatelegs are easy to construct and the only hardware you need is two simple hinges per leg.

The best way to learn how to make a gateleg drop leaf is to go to a furniture store that sells them and examine the architecture. You can find instructional videos on youtube etc. but it's hard to separate the useful from the rubbish.

Most gateleg tables are round but you want the rectangular design.

Using two drop leaves, one to a side, allows the leaves to be smaller, which makes the table more sturdy when extended. This is important because you are going to bump into it a lot in that small space.

Two drop leaves also gives you the added benefit of three different table sizes in all.

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If you wanted to use the "lift the legs through the table" option — which I'm not sure is most practical, although it would look quite stylish when the table was in use — then you would simply need a dowel/peg through the top of the leg at the level of the underside of the table, which the table-top rested on.

Or, have a spring clip in the leg on which to rest the table top; squeeze that clip closed to raise the leg through the table. It would be a larger version of the clips that keep umbrellas open.

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