Accent tables, or occasional tables, are some of the most used tables in your home, yet are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget the role they play in your life.
When you’re watching a movie, snacks and drinks remain within arm’s reach on your end table. A sofa table is a perfectly convenient place to set down your keys when you get home. Your coffee table is where you rest your feet while catching the game, and a great place for your kids to sit and colour while they watch Saturday morning cartoons.
Whether you’re looking for a coffee table, end table or ottoman, this handy guide will help you find the right one for your living space.
Think About Your Space
One of the most important things to consider when choosing your accent tables is the space you have to work with. Consider these tips for choosing the right size of table.
Does the size of your table make sense within the space constraints of the room?
If you have a small apartment with limited floor space, an overly large coffee table may not make sense. Or you may not have enough room for a sofa table.
Does the size of your table work with your other furniture?
If you have a large sectional in a large room, a teensy tiny coffee table may not function well or may look strange.
Will it still be easy to move around the room?
Factor in approximately three feet between your coffee table and the closest furnishings to allow for enough space to move around comfortably. You should be able to easily walk between the couch and the coffee table while someone else is sitting on the couch.
When pairing a rectangular coffee table with a sofa, follow this rule of thumb.
The table should run one-half to two-thirds the length of your couch, and the height of the tabletop should be level with (or within a few inches of) the top of the seat cushions of surrounding furnishings. This allows it to be comfortably functional for everyone sitting in the living room and you won’t have to strain to reach for anything on the table.
Check out our other tips for getting the most out of small spaces.
What’s Your Style?
When it comes to picking out accent tables, your personal style is a significant factor in determining what materials you’re drawn to. Some materials have advantages over others, but ultimately what you select will reflect the look you want for your home. Here are some of the different styles you’ll see.
Wood is often used as the primary material for traditional accent tables, and rich-looking materials, like burnished nailhead trim, are used as decorative accents. This style tends to be more formal.
Metal and glass are often paired together in modern pieces, but you’ll see wood used just as often. Sharply-defined edges or corners, low profiles and monochromatic colour schemes dominate this design style.
Rustic pieces are mostly made from wood or metal and are artificially aged to create a distressed or handmade look.
Metal and rivets are major style elements for industrial pieces. Industrial-style metal usually has a distressed look and is often paired with wood, concrete or stone.
Wood, fibreglass and plastics are most often used on mid-century modern tables. You’ll see clean lines, bold colours and functional style as the main features of this design.
Like a farmhouse kitchen, this style evokes quaint simplicity. Country cottage tables are generally made from wood and finished in natural and soft colours. Pieces use architectural accents that mimic elements found in cottages, such as shutters, crown moulding, beading and grooved panels.
But Do They Do Anything?
A table that simply takes up precious real estate in your home may not be the best option. Therefore, many tables have additional features – some as simple as a drawer or a shelf – to give you a multi-functional piece of furniture you can actually use. When deciding what features are important to you, think about what you want to use your table for. You might be looking for a little extra storage space, an additional seat or even a place to charge your phone.
Some tables contain a power strip or a USB port so you don’t have to go searching behind your couch for a usable plug-in.
Most often seen in coffee tables, a lift-top reveals additional storage space within the table while bringing the contents of your surface space closer to you. Think of it as the modernized, less rickety version of a TV tray.
Not only do caster wheels save you the sound of dragging your furniture around the room, but they also make it easy to move your table to an entirely different area of your home.
Tuck smaller items, like pens, a deck of cards and remote controls, into a drawer to keep them out of sight and prevent them from getting lost.
Extra shelf space is perfect for books, television remotes and even decor.
Gain extra seating space for a guest or two with an ottoman. The cushioned top makes this the ideal seat, while setting a tray on the top can make it functional as a table surface as well.
What Are My Options?
Accent tables is a pretty broad category encompassing a variety of tables. Here are the most common ones you’ll find.
Coffee tables, or cocktail tables, are about as tall as the top of your sofa’s seat cushions and usually have coordinating end and sofa tables.
Also called chairside tables, end tables are about the same height as the arm of your couch and commonly have coordinating coffee and sofa tables.
Side tables are about the same size as end tables and are standalone pieces, often with unique designs, made to complement other furniture.
Sofa tables are long, narrow and approximately the same height as the back of your couch, or slightly shorter; they typically have coordinating coffee and end tables.
Console tables have a very similar design to sofa tables, but are typically placed against a wall in a hallway or entryway and used as a landing place for your wallet and keys.
Nesting tables are set of two or three tables, each slightly shorter than the next so they can “nestle” under one another; they can be expanded for additional surface space and then tucked away for a great small-space solution.
Ottomans are padded, upholstered seats or benches that may have coordinating upholstery items or function individually as accent pieces. Additional features, like a storage compartment or removable trays, make them multi-functional.
Think Outside the Box
With accent tables, the possibilities are endless. Here are few suggestions from The Brick Experts on how to change things up in your home.
- Instead of a coffee table, place two end tables side by side (but with a distinct separation between them). You could do this with three tables arranged in a line or even four tables arranged in a square.
- Pair a sofa table and a stylish accent chair for a magazine-worthy workspace.
- Place a sofa-height shelf behind your couch instead of a sofa table. You can display decor on top and use the shelf space for additional storage.
- Pull some poufs or small ottomans up to your coffee table and have a board game night with your friends.
- Transform an end table with casters into a bar cart.
Go Forth and Conquer
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to find the right tables for your home, find inspiration (and great deals!) for your perfect coffee table, console table, accent table and more at TheBrick.com.