Our dining room table is a multi function piece of furniture - it's the dining room table first and foremost but also the dumping spot, the emptying of school bags location, the flat surface for when a flat surface is needed, the dining room table (just getting it in there again), the homework table, a clear space (hah!), a busy space, the gift wrapping table, laundry sorting table, the work table - you name it.
We bought our first dining room table 25 years ago from The Station Furniture Co in Wokingham, it was a solid pine table with 4 chairs and it was the scene of many a gathering in our first 2 up 2 tdown semi near the station. It moved with us to our present house and looked right at home in the dining room until we moved it around the house and then back into the dining room before buying a bigger one (on a whim), then we moved two dining room tables around the house before giving one to our old nanny who moved to Devon.
I'm a big fan of oil cloth as it is so easy to clean, keep clean and it doesn't matter if anyone scribbles on it as it is easily wiped off but I do get bored easily and so whilst I might like the design and colour one month I might change my mind the following month and I am stuck with a pile of oil cloth. That all changed when I was in John Lewis one day admiring not only the oil cloths on a roll but also all the other fabric and wishing my family weren't quite such messy eaters. Then I struck gold and found a roll of crystal clear PVC - what a find that was! The nice man with the scissors cut my length and off I went with a fantastically easy way to transform the table each time a whim passed by.
Instead of buying rolls of oil cloth all I do now is slip on a new table cloth under the crystal clear PVC and hey presto, room changer! A few of my favourites are the (very old) black and white from IKEA and the green with stars from Cath Kidston but when we get new blinds I may well need a new table cloth!
Ah but what about the storage? Easy! Instead of washing and ironing and folding and then finding somewhere to put it I just put it back on the table when it's washed and dried; it doesn't need ironing and it stays flat, plus I can just do a quick shuffle when I want to change the table cloth. How easy is that?