End Table Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong End Table

The right end tables can tie a room together by enhancing the usefulness of the sofa, love seats and chairs. As a surface for lamps, remote controls and other accessories, the best end tables make rooms more livable.

>> Consider end table styles

The first step in understanding how to choose end tables is to consider your design preferences and goals for the room. End table designs are more diverse than other types of living room furniture; end tables can be unobtrusive partners or dramatic additions.

Traditional Traditional end tables are the most formal of the different styles; their roots go back to 18th-and 19th-century designs. They often feature dark woods and have a stately appearance with intricate details such as turned legs and carved moldings.

Transitional Located between traditional and contemporary on the furniture design spectrum are transitional end tables. This end table style is characterized by medium to dark wood finishes that combine straight and curved lines that are interesting while being comfortable and functional.

Contemporary Contemporary designs are a popular end table option. Contemporary end table designs concentrate on function and form more than on decoration. Often made of lighter woods and materials with medium and light finishes, they combine geometric shapes with clean lines and rounded corners.

Modern Furnishings that are in the modern style are identified by their simple elegance and minimal detail. Often made of materials other than wood, metal, plastic and glass end tables are representative of the late 20th century. End table dimensions of the modern style run the gamut, ensuring that you will find one that fits your decor.

Country Country-style end table designs trace their origins to colonial America and represent adaptations to European designs by early Americans. Usually made of wood, they are typically painted, and many have stenciled decorations, wainscoting or scalloped aprons connecting the table top and legs.

Eclectic The best end tables reflect the style of their owner, and eclectic-style accent tables are as unique as the person decorating the room. The eclectic style allows you to incorporate two or more different styles of furnishings unified by a common theme such as textures or patterns.

>> Select a material

When you shop for end tables, you will find materials ranging from wood to stone, with numerous options and combinations in between. This range of alternatives makes the task of how to choose end tables an expression of your personal style and taste.

Solid woodMany different types of solid wood are used in the construction of various types of end tables. The choices include hardwoods such as oak, maple and walnut and soft woods like cedar and spruce in a variety of finishes.

Engineered woodEngineered wood can be made from recycled materials that is formed into sheets and other forms before being turned into furniture. It can also be made from smaller, faster growing trees that are chipped and glued together using heat and pressure.

Wood veneerWood veneer is made from paper-thin slices of highly valued wood that is glued to inexpensive fiberboard or plywood to create some of the best end tables available. The use of veneers allows for the look and feel of exotic wood at an affordable price range.

LaminateLaminates are made by combining different, recycled materials such as plastic, metal and wood together in layers bonded with resins and formed into sheets. The sheets of laminate can be a solid color or have a pattern or texture. Top end tables use laminates because of their stain resistance.

MetalWhen you begin learning about how to choose end tables, you will find that metal is a common component of end table construction. Metals used include steel, aluminum, iron and alloys, which are often combined with stone or glass tops.

GlassShatter-proof or tempered glass is the best choice for glass end tables in homes with small children. When used in conjunction with wood, metal or other materials, glass can be used to create dramatic small end tables as well as stunning large ones.

StoneMarble, granite, slate and limestone are just some of the many different types of stone that are used as end table tops. Stone comes in a vast array of colors, patterns and textures and offers a fantastic way to add depth and dimension to a room.

>> Consider the types of end tables

End table dimensions and styles vary widely, with some offering secondary functionality. Explore the various types of these diverse pieces of furniture to make the best choice.

StorageStorage end tables are available in a number of styles, but all share the common feature of being able to hold things such as remote controls, magazines, books and toys. They incorporate cubbies, drawers or doors. NestingA common solution when choosing end tables for small rooms, nesting end tables can be stacked out of the way when they are not needed and unstacked when they are. Chair sideAlthough they are called chair-side end tables, these types of end table can also be placed next to a sofa. They may include drawers, open shelves or a magazine rack, and they function much the same way as a nightstand does.

>> Consider shapes and sizes

End tables come in lots of different shapes and sizes, from square to round and large to small. The diverse nature of end tables makes the job of how to choose end tables a fun task.

CurvedCurved end tables include round and oval shapes, as well as tables that have one or more straight edges in combination with a curved face. An advantage of a curved end table is that it appears smaller than it is.

Straight edgedStraight-edged end tables can be square, rectangular or another polygonal shape. End table sizes for this type run from small to extra large. Straight-edged end tables are great way to provide symmetry to a furniture grouping.
HeightEnd table height is a matter of personal preference; the right height for an end table usually depends on the sofa or chair that the table is next to. Ideally, the height should be close to the arm height of the adjacent seating.

WidthWhen considering end table dimensions, don't forget to consider the width of the table. The table should be wide enough to comfortably hold things like a lamp, a book or magazines but not be so wide as to overwhelm the adjoining furniture.

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