An end table in a bedroom setting.

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Choosing the right end table

By Lismoore

The table you select for your space can have a major impact on both the design and the function of the room. End tables are used for lamps, beverages, books, remotes and much more. They come in an array of styles, sizes, finishes, material and heights, all in an effort to strike the perfect balance of function and finishing touch. Please feel free to also use non-traditional objects like crates, garden stools, suede or faux leather storage boxes, and sewing machine stands as end tables. When making your selections, here are a few tips to keep in mind which will ensure the room functions well and looks great.

Proportion & Height: An end table should never overwhelm, or be swallowed by the furniture. It can be grouped with the main pieces of furniture if it's functional, or it can be placed for show if it is an accent table. When a table is placed alongside the sofa, make sure its height and depth are close to the height and depth of the sofa's arm. If the tables are used as side tables they should be approximately the height of the mattress. HEIGHT is the number 1 consideration in choosing end tables. As you can guess there is no hard and fast rule that applies here. The most important thing is that they are right for the size of the space. A standard sofa is approximately 25" to 28", and most tables are between 22" and 30". It is important that you do not feel like you have to reach up or down to get something on it comfortably. Please note: if you cannot find tables you like within your target height range, it's better to go shorter rather than taller. For armless sofas you have two options; either select tables that are the height of the seat, or the height of where the arms would have been. Neither option is better than the other; it depends on preference and balance of specifications.

Style & colour: At present, it is acceptable to mix and match all sorts of styles and colours, but making them work together requires balance and finesse. If design is not your thing, stick to simple guidelines. If the lines on your furniture are straight, choose a table with similar legs, and maybe a little ornamentation. Also, if you like the mismatched look, you can create interest by getting one of the tables made in a different material but similar in shape, size and visual weight for harmony.

Shape: When it comes to shape, you want to figure out where the table will be placed, and what will work in that particular space. For instance, if it needs to go in a particular corner, you'll likely want something square. If this isn't a concern, you have more options. Another way of creating interest is by mixing the table shapes in your room. For example, if you have an oval coffee table, square or rectangular end tables are a nice contrast. However, if you decide to use the same shape for all tables in a room you can get one made of a different material to create interest.

End tables can typically be found on either side of a sofa or bed, but they can be used in various areas around the house. They are incredibly versatile pieces of furniture. As I stated before there are no hard and fast rules choosing end tables, but once you find tables that are the right size for your space, after that your options open up. Just remember that the pieces in the room should connect in some way. If the materials are different, try to keep the styles similar; if the shapes are different try to keep the materials similar. Interior decorating is all about balance. The key is to be confident in your decorating choices. If you love a piece, it will work…………….Enjoy!

Lisa Moore

Member of the Window Covering Association of America (WCAA)

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