What do you need to consider when choosing end tables for your home?
End tables are usually found besides sofas and beds, although you can also place them pretty much anywhere else. They are versatile and small enough to be easily moved to fulfil different functions from one month to the next.
They’re supportive pieces of furniture in the sense that they frame the sofa and add functional surfaces and storage options for everyday bits and pieces you want close to hand. These little table are also the stage for decorative elements such as table lamps, flowers, and ornaments. All in all, they help give an interior space a well-rounded look, if chosen with care.
End tables come in a huge array of different sizes, shapes, styles, materials and colors. You also typically need a pair of tables to go either side of the sofa or bed, which increases the importance of choosing the right type for your room.
Perplexed? Don’t worry. Here are some things to bear in mind when shopping for a suitable end table.
The Function of the End Table
The first question you need to answer is what exactly will be the function of the table? For example, will it be a stage for mainly decorative items or will it be more of a platform for remote controls and coffee cups? Or both? Some tables have storage drawers to hide gadgets, pens, coasters etc. Others have a small shelf below the table top for magazines and small baskets. Consider what functional features you need, if any.
The Height of the End Table
How tall should an end table be? Selecting the right height is crucial when it comes to framing the sofa and ensuring decorative flow. The general rule is that the table top should be equal or a fraction below the height of the sofa arms. The majority of end tables are between 22 and 28 inches or so which complement the usual sofa arm height of around 25 inches.
If in doubt, choose a table height that’s shorter than the sofa arms. This will avoid a visual imbalance and also prevent you knocking your elbows against sharp edges.
The Space Surrounding the End Table
Along with height, you also need to consider the space which the end tables will inhabit. Take measurements of the spaces either side of the sofa or bed. Record the width and length of the space, as well as making a note of the space needed for people to walk past without banging into the table. It’s wise to leave at least 2’5” for a walking area between other furniture pieces such as an armchair or coffee table.
The Shape of the End Table
End tables come in a variety of shapes, including those with oval, round, square, rectangular, and octagonal tops. The shape you choose should be based on the form of the surrounding area. If the table is square and the sofa rounded, there might potentially be a clash (or not depending on the styles). If the nearby coffee table is rectangular then a round end table might actually provide a nice counterpoint. It’s sensible to mix shapes in your room to avoid excessive straight lines or curviness.
The Style of the End Table
Along with the shape, you also need to think about the style of the end table. Like we’ve discovered already, this type of accent table doesn’t stand alone in isolation. You need to take into account the room’s style as a whole. Note not just the sofa and coffee table but also the floor below where the end tables will stand as well as nearby walls, furnishings, and decorative elements.
You may then notice a certain style or color pallet that will strongly influence the style of end table you’ll get a gut feeling over. Depending on the interior you can also mix and match styles and looks. A pair of end tables either side of the sofa don’t necessarily need to match either as long as they combine well to enhance the sofa and room.
Your End Table Buying Budget
Before you shop for an end table it’s wise to set a budget. This will allow you to quickly filter through price ranges, especially if you’re shopping online. With so many tables to choose from, it can be overwhelming without some pre-decided rules in place, and a budget is a good place to start. This will also help you choose the right two tables for your sofa or bed without being tempted by a single and more expensive option. There are lovely tables in all price brackets.
Choosing Your End Table
The primary aspect of choosing the right end tables is making sure they are the right size for your sofa and living space. When you get the dimensions sorted then they style and everything else tends to fall into place. Measure the height of your sofa arms as well as the surrounding space, and keep these measurements to hand when browsing end tables, whether in store or online.