I'm trying to design a board game coffee table and really bashing my head against the wall with this one. Some features I'm looking to get:

  1. Smaller foot print ~3'x3' (this is lax)
  2. Expands to 6'x'4 playable area
  3. Space for drinks, various other materials needed beyond 6'x4'
  4. Not an eyesore

Nice to Have: 1. Gaming pit or "cellar" aka, the playable area is recessed down a few inches so that you don't lose dice, etc.

My first idea was to have a clamshell like design where it would be 4x3 and open up to 6x4: enter image description here

My second idea was to have a system the slides the leafs outwards revealing more playable area below: enter image description here

I'm not a huge fan of either of these ideas. What clever, space saving ideas do you guys know of?

  • I quite like your first option Scott, although I wouldn't use a honking strip of piano hinge. Re. your no. 4, have you decided what wood you're going to use for this?
    – Graphus
    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:24
  • @Graphus No, I haven't yet. I am a fan of walnut, maple, and ash, but am quite inexperienced with all the wood species. Apr 25, 2018 at 12:50
  • Those are all great woods. 'Gaming table' sort of says to me dark wood, so I'd go with walnut if available and the cost was all right, but any of them are just as suitable. I was mainly hoping you were not planning on using pine because it's tough to get something to look decent using pine or a similar softwood unless you're painting it! If you want the wood to shop you can buy choicer grades with fewer/no knots and straight grain, but those can be priced similar to the commoner hardwoods, which have so many other advantages.
    – Graphus
    Apr 26, 2018 at 13:46
  • When I'm looking for design ideas, I always go to Pinterest and do a search to find out how other people have tackled similar projects. Apr 27, 2018 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The slide open option would only give you the cellar on the middle half. The clamshell would need a weird support. Instead, take the clamshell idea, cut it in half, and have two of them opposing each other. The two sides would balance each other, so no additional supports would be needed, though it will have some risk of tipping if someone leans hard on an end.

For the additional space for drinks, etc, cut t-tracks all along both long edges and make attachments that fit into them.


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