While I love my formal dining table and entertain there as often as possible, I confess that one of the tables that gets the most daily use in my house is my coffee table. After a long day’s work, I can’t wait to crash on the sofa with some carry-out, enjoying my gourmet-to-go on the coffee table.
Whether or not they are as hard-working as my coffee table, accent tables play a huge roll in pulling the look of a room together. Here are some tips for picking the perfect ones for your home.
In my living room, I like to use end tables on either side of my sofa or tuck one up next to a reading chair. But no matter where they are in the room, I always look for end tables that have beautiful lines, lots of character and a top that’s broad enough to hold my treasures.
While I love end tables in all styles and finishes, from painted wood to bamboo to wrought iron, my favorite is the Pembroke table that’s in my study right now. The Pembroke is a traditional wooden table that features two drop leaves, which means it’s amazingly versatile. If you want the table to fit into a tight space, simply fold the leaves down. If you need more tabletop space for a big lamp or books, flip up one leaf. Pop up both leaves and you have a table that’s the perfect size for an intimate dinner for two.
When picking an end table, make sure it matches the scale of the furniture you will pair it with. Avoid placing a tiny, leggy table next to a beefy sofa. Instead, consider a heavier table or give the smaller table more visual weight by placing something underneath it, like a large trunk basket.
If you’re hunting for end tables to flank a sofa, remember that they don’t need to match (in fact, I think it’s more visually interesting when they don’t match) but they do need to be about the same size and scale so the arrangement has the proper balance. Finally, pick end tables that measure about three inches above or below the arm of the chair or sofa they will stand next to so you can easily reach the tabletop when you’re seated.
I think of coffee tables like I do artwork. You have to absolutely love them before you welcome them into your home. That’s how I feel about the Chow coffee table in my living room. I fell hard for this Asian styled piece, with its curved legs and unusual detailing.
I also adore upholstered ottomans that serve as coffee tables. At market I happened upon a wonderful line of ottomans covered in antique rugs. They are absolutely amazing, with no two just alike, and they have been a huge hit with Nell Hill’s customers. I’m also crazy about the huge upholstered ottomans that are so popular right now. These big boys extend the length of the sofa and work equally as well as coffee tables or extra seating.
Whether it’s a wonderful chest in the corner of your living room that provides extra storage, a butler’s cart in your dining room that allows you to show off your china or a sofa table that helps define the seating arrangement in your living room, console tables finish off a room.
Right now we’re selling a ton of long, thin console tables that people are placing below wall-mounted flat-screen TVs. When you accessorize the table with a few great accents, like a trio of Asian ginger jars or a wooden dough bowl filled with seasonal accents, it looks fabulous below the TV, which functions more like artwork.