End Table Buying Guide
End Tables 101
End Table Buying Tips:
• Measure the amount of available space for your end table before buying
• Consider the size, shape and colours of your existing furniture
• Consider glass-top end tables for easy clean up
• Look for rounded corners if young children will be playing in the room
• Choose an end table with a drawer if you need to organize and conceal remotes, chargers, etc.
End Table Features
End tables come in many different shapes to match different decor or to serve specific purposes. Consider where your table will be located and how you'll use it to help you decide on the right shape for your needs. Square, rectangular and wedge-shaped end tables are good fits for corner locations, while oval or round end tables work well in open areas and can provide a pleasant contrast in a room filled with sharp angles and boxy furnishings. If you're purchasing more than one end table, but not a matching set, you can opt for a variety of shapes to create a more visually interesting setting.
One of the most important and practical considerations when shopping for new end tables is size. End tables that are too large can make a room look crowded; a too-small end table can be overwhelmed by other furnishings. If you're looking for a table to sit at the end of a sofa, it's best to choose one that's similar in depth and height to the sofa seating area. This makes it easier to access the table from a seated position. If you can't find the exact height you want, opt for something slightly lower as it's generally easier to reach down than up. Traffic flow is another consideration. You want your table to be large enough to provide adequate surface area and storage, but not so large that it blocks foot traffic.
End tables are also convenient storage units. One or more drawers make for handy storage of household items such as remote controls, chargers, notepads or playing cards. Lower shelves, cubbies and magazine racks are other storage options that can help keep your home tidy and organized. Some end tables also have an extra tabletop shelf for displaying photos, knick-knacks etc.
End tables can be bought individually, in pairs, or as part of a complete living room set. When furnishing a room from scratch, you can often save money by purchasing your end tables as part of a furniture package. It also makes for a consistent decor, and ensures your end tables are the right height for your sofa and/or chairs. If you choose to buy end tables individually, but for the same room, aim for similar heights and depths to maintain a balanced look.
Glass and mirrors are good choices for small spaces because they allow and reflect light, making them appear less heavy and obtrusive. For a modern looking, easy-to-clean end table, consider a blend of metal and glass. Solid wood absorbs light, but goes well with a traditional decor. Hardwoods, in particular, are durable and can hold heavy objects like table lamps. Composite wood and particle board with veneer finish are less sturdy but also easy to maintain usually less expensive.
The style of your end table doesn't have to match your other furnishings, but it should complement them. Dark woods and elaborate decorative details are at home in a traditional room, while clean lines, glass, metal and geometric angles will suit a more contemporary space. Lighter finishes and a more relaxed approach to decorative details are the hallmarks of country style, which may also feature milk-paint finishes, stencilled decoration and wainscoting. Whatever style of end table you select, find a common thread with your existing furnishings, be it colour, design, shape or material.
Many models feature design accents that enhance the appearance and/or usefulness of the table. A removable serving tray creates a multi-purpose furnishing that is practical and space saving. Magazine holders store reading materials in a neat, easy-to-access manner. Additional drawers and shelves increase storage capacity and give you more options for displaying photos and decorations. Hardware such as pulls, handles and knobs can add visual interest and coordinate with other finishes in your room.
Nesting Tables +
Nesting tables consist of multiple tables stacked one on top of the other. When nested, these tables combine to act as one end table. When separated, they offer multiple surfaces on which to rest plates, beverages and other items. This style of end table is particularly convenient if you live in a small space and only occasionally need extra table capacity. Most nesting tables have two or three separate tables. Nesting tables are a versatile, space-saving solution, but keep in mind that, due to the specialised nesting design, they usually don't come with drawers or shelves for additional storage.
Chair Side Tables +
Similar in function to a nightstand in a bedroom, chair side tables keep your frequently used items neatly organized and close at hand. Common elements of chair side tables include drawers, open shelving and magazine racks that can be comfortably accessed from a seated position. Despite the name, chair side tables are equally useful next to a sofa or loveseat.
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End Table Maintenance Tips:
• Clean composite wood end tables with a damp cloth and mild cleaner
• Ensure hardware is tightened and secure
• Avoid surface scratches to wooden tables by using a table runner or place mat
• Dust and polish solid wood end tables to prevent drying and cracking
• Use coasters and keep liquids away from the surface to prevent stains or damage
• Clean glass end tables regularly with window cleaner or a vinegar-and-water mix for a streak-free appearance