Sometimes, when decorating or redecorating, it’s easy to get caught up in the big things. What sofa is the most comfortable and stylish? Where do I find a quality area rug that “pulls it all together?” AHH! My walls are bare! I need some art! The occasional tables that we need for our spaces can often get overlooked. However, the right occasional tables can turn a living room into a GREAT room.
It’s important to know the lingo before you go out shopping. This way there is no confusion over what exactly you want when speaking to an interior designer. By the way, the term “Occasional Table” refers to any table that is not a dining table or a desk, or one that could easily be used in different rooms for different purposes.
- Cocktail/Coffee Tables — familiar to most people, this occasional table would typically sit in front of a sofa or chair
- End Table — Also known as a side table. It is typically located at the end or side of a sofa or chair
- Sofa Table — Also called console tables, this table is longer and narrower and works well behind a sofa
- Media Console — a newer addition to the furniture market. This furniture piece (also called an entertainment console) is designed for displaying TVs, media and electronics.
Now that the definitions are out of the way…
Before heading out to buy occasional tables, first consider how you will commonly use the table. Do you need an occasional table for storage? Extra seating? Does it need to perform several functions? A table can also provide storage. For example, an ottoman seat with storage. As well as extra seating or small tables that could be spread throughout the room.
Consider your space: is it cramped or spacious? Will you need to move the table from room to room? Consider the weight and portability of the piece you choose. Finally, measure the height of the sofa or chairs that will be adjacent to your occasional table. This way, your table doesn’t tower over the other furniture or end up looking like a munchkin is your roommate!
Define Your Look
As with all decorating endeavors, the items and furnishings in your home should reflect; who you are, how you live, and your own personal taste and style. If you have a hard time defining those things you should take some time to talk to an interior designer. They will be able to help you quickly answer those questions. Aesthetically speaking, what do you need the table to do for you? Do you need a focal point, or would it be better for it to fade into the space? This table would certainly grab the eye, don’t you think?
Do you have a largely neutral space that could use a pop of color or texture? What style, overall, are you trying to achieve or do you already have? Modern? Shabby Chic? Traditional? If you have a mix of styles, think about how the choice of one style, over another, will impact the overall look of your room.
Storage, Storage, Storage
No one will notice the gorgeous styling of that expensive end table if it’s covered in remote controls, magazines, cords from phones or lamps, etc. Although many of those things aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, we can’t banish them from a room entirely. If you make the right choice in occasional tables you can have access to necessities. Consider tables with shelves underneath or storage cubes.
When choosing a media console, make sure that the table is large enough to be proportionate to the TV and other electronics that you need. Does the console offer the ability to hide items away?
Let’s face it, that blu-ray player or surround sound system amplifier just isn’t all that lovely to look at! Don’t forget about all the cords either; make sure that the table or console offers a way to hide all those electronic cords.
Not Matchy-Matchy But Coordinated
One style does not fit all! If you’ve found a lovely coffee table, resist the urge to give up the hunt and buy all the matching pieces!! You’ll bring more interest and style into your space by choosing coordinated pieces instead of matching pieces. Coordinated pieces work together by sharing some design element, whether it be shape, style, material, etc.
A Strong Finish
What material best suits your space? Remember that you have many choices — wood, metal, glass, upholstered, etc.
When you settle on one, there will be more things to consider. The look of oak is very different from a high-gloss cherry or a painted, distressed finish. If you have small space, choosing a table that’s mostly glass or acrylic will open up the space by blending in with the surroundings.
Do you have kiddos? Will they be plopping down on the couch, putting a drink on the coffee table and perhaps putting their feet up on the table? You’ll probably want to avoid a wooden table that will be ruined with water-damage rings.
Hopefully, this has inspired you to look at your occasional tables differently. Did it give you the confidence to try something a little unusual? For more inspiration, check out The Versatility of Occasional Tables and 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Coffee Table.