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Originally published Saturday, November 4, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Entertaining

With versatile tables, you're all set for company

The holidays can prove a major test of your home's entertainment capacity — especially if you don't have an expansive dining table...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The holidays can prove a major test of your home's entertainment capacity — especially if you don't have an expansive dining table to accommodate family and friends.

Luckily, there are plenty of ingenious, versatile seating solutions available, even for people living in condos and small homes.

Extension dining tables make sense in small dining areas, while those with no room to spare might opt for casual seating at a coffee table for friends — or use one as a kids' table. If you have an empty corner, a pub table might be just the right stylish fit and provide extra seating for entertaining. You also can rely on the old stand-by — a card table.

We scoured local and national stores and online retailers for a few of the more innovative options around. Here's what we found.

Convertible table

If you're looking for a new dining table and want straight functionality, Brookstone's 3-in-1 convertible table, above, is the smartest way to get the job done. It includes a console table that fits in a hallway or entryway until it needs to be attached to the end of the table for Thanksgiving duty. The table can shrink to card-table size (40 inches square) or expand to seat six at 40 by 72 inches. $399.95. www.brookstone.com

Living room seating

If sitting on the floor feels too casual but you have seriously limited space, consider a table with four ottomans that tuck in underneath but slide out for visitors. Area 51 offers this five-piece Cosmo square glass coffee table with cube ottomans. $895. Area 51, 401 E. Pine St., Seattle, 206-568-4782.

Small extension table

When space is at a premium, a small extension dining table is the most sensible option. Pottery Barn offers a classy version called the Maren Folding-Top Dining Table that expands from 34 inches square to 34 by 68 inches. $599. www.potterybarn.com.

Expandable coffee table

Some condos have space for only two people in the dining room, but you still can entertain friends with this clever coffee table from Alchemy Collections. Wood slides out from the 28-by-28-inch table to create more surface space. The pieces also can be moved to other levels to create a flat tabletop surface. $690. Alchemy Collections, 2029 Second Ave., Seattle, 206-448-3309.

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Pub table

Add some panache to an empty corner or kitchen nook with Bombay Co.'s Fireside Pub Table, a convenient and attractive card-table alternative. $299. Bombay Co., Lincoln Square, 700 Bellevue Way, Bellevue, 425-454-9800.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or ntsong@seattletimes.com

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