When you are choosing multi-functional furniture, a table with additional leaves is a great investment. It can be set for a small meal or be extended to accommodate the whole darn family! A table can have a butterfly leaf that folds over and is stored right inside the table or self-storing leaves that store lengthwise before you close it up.
If you have a table that doesn’t self-store the leaves you need to learn how to store them and where to store them to ensure they last as long as your table.
When you are storing a solid wood leaf you need to be aware that it can be affected by the temperature and humidity in your home. If it is stored to close to a vent or fireplace the wood can contract, warp or split or it can also expand if it is in an environment that is too cold.
Humidity can do the same thing to wood or leaves. A very humid storage can cause the wood to soften and absorb liquid and in severe cases the wood can also mildew. With low humidity the wood can again dry out and become brittle and shrink causing a bad fit when it goes back into the table. Although we don’t typically store things in a sunlit area we have to be careful to not fade and discolor the wood and have it not match the rest of the table.
Protecting the leaf with a covering such as an old bed sheet or a purchased leaf protector will ensure the wood doesn’t get scratched and is able to breathe while stored. Plastic protectors can stick to the wood and also don’t allow the wood to breathe so can affect the finish on the wood.
Keeping your leaf stored vertically or with other pieces leaning on it could cause the wood to warp so once the wood leaf is protected you want the leaf to be stored on a flat surface with nothing on top to gouge or damage it. Laid flat under a bed or sofa and wrapped in a fabric wrapper your leaves should be safe and protected for your next family dinner.