The Worst Ideas. Updates every Monday!

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Tag: table

Yet another solution to the dreaded “a table leg is in my way, how can I sit at this table???” problem that plagues our citizenry.


This is an alternate version of the previous table-related idea (see link here), which involved hanging a table from the ceiling.

The issue:

Sometimes, you’re sitting at a table, and the table legs get in the way. So annoying! See Figure 1 to be reminded of this calamity.


Fig. 1:  The presence of this table leg is probably stifling your enjoyment of life—if only it weren’t there; then you could sit at the corner of the table.


By putting all of the table legs on a motorized two-dimensional grid on the underside of the table, a computer could automatically detect where a person was sitting and automatically move the table legs out of the way, as shown in Figure 2.


Fig. 2: If the table leg at “A” could be moved from position “A” to position “B” (perhaps by being on a motorized track on the underside of the table), then the individual on the right side of the digram would be able to sit at the corner of the table without the table leg getting in the way.

Unfortunately, there is one downside to this plan; if the table legs are not spaced apart, then the table can easily fall over, as seen in Figure 3.


Fig. 3: A problem: if the table legs slide out of the way, the table will be very easy to tip over; even a small downward force (the red arrow labeled “F”) applied to the X on the table will cause the table to tip over.

The way to solve the tipping problem is quite simple, fortunately; if a force is applied to one corner of the table, we must simply apply an equal (or greater) force to the table leg on the opposite corner, and the table will not fall over. This system is implemented by means of a motorized bowling ball that is controlled by a sliding magnet underneath the table (Figure 4). Alternatively, the weight could be located beneath the table, but that would lack the visual flair of a bowling ball.


Fig. 4: Solution to the table-tipping problem: an extremely heavy weight (here, illustrated as a bowling ball) can roll around on the table and be a counterweight. Now, the table will not tip even if we apply a force point at “F” (shown in step 3), as the weight of the bowling ball prevents the table from tipping over.

PROS: May cause the table-sitter to be crushed beneath the table if the power unexpectedly goes out.

CONS: You may ask, “why not just solve this problem much more simply by putting a single post in the center of the table, and mounting that post on a few horizontal beams and/or a platform?” We leave the refutation of that objection as an exercise to the reader.

Thumb your nose at those “know-it-all furniture designers” with this exotic and impractical table! Finally, an outrageous way to show off your OBSCENE WEALTH.

The issue:

Once upon a time, it was possible to show off one’s obscene wealth by purchasing ornately-decorated objects that were obviously expensive.

However, in the era of modern manufacturing, high-quality products are available to even members of the non-nobility.

If only there were a way to show off your personal decadence AND solve a common furniture-related problem (Figure 1) at the same time.


Fig. 1: This plain four-legged table is acceptable, but you might accidentally hit your knee on a table leg. Plus, it’s constraining to not be able to put a chair on the corner of the table. A central-post table could solve these issues, but those typically have large “feet” on the ground that you’ll be likely to kick accidentally. Plus, you can’t vacuum around them easily.

One common way to show that one has a ridiculous amount of wealth is to purchase something entirely impractical.

Here, we modify the common dining room table so that it will have the following features:

  • Has a new and impossible-to-counterfeit feature.
  • Is visually distinct from a normal table that a regular person would buy.
  • Is obviously very inconvenient and/or impossible to install in a normal room.
  • Is impractically difficult to move, thus showing that the owner must have servants to handle such day-to-day affairs.

In this case, the impossible-to-counterfeit feature is that the table doesn’t have any table legs—instead, it is suspended from the ceiling.

See Figures 2-5 for possible methods of accomplishing this goal.

rich-table-pillarFig. 2: The ideal table (left) would be a slab that would float a fixed distance from the ground: this would provide the full functional tabletop and works on any surface. However, this is not possible due to the laws of physics. One option we have for realizing this floating-table future is to have a single heavy-duty pillar in the center of the table that suspends it from an overhead support beam


Fig. 3: Alternatively, the table could be suspended by wires, which are less visually obtrusive. This would be ideal, but there is a problem, as seen in Figure 4.


Fig. 4: With only two wires, the table would be prone to swinging back and forth, which would probably be incredibly annoying. Also, perhaps more severely, if you put anything heavy on the table, then the added weight would cause that side of the table to tilt down, spilling everything onto the floor. Since you’re presumably extremely rich, you could always pay a servant to lean on it and prevent it from swinging, but there’s a better solution in Figure 5.


Fig. 5: By adding more anchor points and having multiple guy-wires (, we can minimize the swinging / tilting of the table. It is still theoretically possible to lift up the table, but this would generally not be a problem unless the table were incredibly light.


Next time you have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on an aggravatingly impractical furnishing, consider the “suspended from the ceiling table”!

Discuss it with your interior decorator today.

PROS: Show your obscene wealth with an impractical and very-difficult-to-move table that requires substantial structural support that only the richest and most decadent individuals can afford.

CONS: You could theoretically decapitate yourself on one of the guy-wires. So be careful when walking near the table!