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Side table design

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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Although we often forget about them, side tables are an integral part of the living room.  Interior design is always a balance between style and function, meaning we want the interiors of our home to both look good and to be liveable, functional spaces. In practise, this means that with every piece of furniture we place in our homes, we should consider what the experience of using this furniture will be like and let that experience inform the location and accessorising of the piece. Say, for example, you are thinking about a chair in your living room. Imagine sitting there: what are you facing? What are you doing? Maybe you are chatting with the neighbours over an evening glass of wine. Maybe you are relaxing with a  cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. Chances are, when you are in the living room, you are probably holding something like a drink or book, which leads us to the need for a side table. Some places, like the sides of the couch or the corner by a reading chair, are not big enough or do not make sense for a whole coffee table, and so in these areas, we use a smaller side table. Although they are generally relatively compact, side tables come in all shapes, styles, and designs. Today on homify, we want to highlight some of the best and most unique designs.

Inspired by science

This table is made of a shape not often seen in furniture design. The various sizes of spheres resemble enlarged droplets of water or a model from chemistry class, showing that science can be beautiful. The black and gold colour scheme gives an ornate, art-deco feel to the piece, and is sure to add some glamour to whichever room it is placed in.

A forest in the living room

A lamp is an item often placed on a side table, so this design saves space by combining a light fixture and a tabletop in one piece of furniture. Both the glass surface and the neutrally coloured lampshade are relatively unassuming, however, allowing the star of the piece to be the raw, unfinished log. The rough, natural quality of the timber reminds us of the origins of timber furniture and of the skill and craft that is woodworking. In addition, it lets us bring a little bit of the outdoors inside, so that the living room can feel almost like a forest.

A detailed classic

Sometimes it is better to stick with a more traditional table design, for example, when you want to fit in two matching tables on each side of a sofa. Here we see the classic side table: a round table top on a simple stand. That is not to say, however, that this design is boring; on the contrary, its tasteful details provide an elegance and sophistication that help it to stand out from the crowd. The handmade tabletop is not a perfect circle but includes some slight curves. The design on the surface, while simple enough to fit into any kind of décor, is also imaginative and unique. The inlay arrangement of Scottish elm and rippled sycamore hints at a tortoiseshell pattern.    

Mini football

Intervallo Foosball Table:  Multimedia room by Quantum Play
Quantum Play

Intervallo Foosball Table

Quantum Play

Here, you get all the fun of a foosball table in a compact, side table size. The glass top lifts off, doubling as a serving tray and allowing access to the mini game below. The modern, sleek design makes this table a great fit for a kids room or for the living room of a grown-up who loves games.

Storage and style

 Living room by Locus Habitat
Locus Habitat

Voyage Side trunk

Locus Habitat

If, like most of us, you are always looking for extra storage, try using a small trunk for a side table. This model is covered in calf hide, making it a perfect choice for a country or rustic style home. Inside the trunk, you can store extra blankets or other items you want to keep out of sight, while the top remains free for magazines, mugs and all the other things that pile up in the living room.

A rolling bar

Art Deco Trolley:  Living room by Travers Antiques
Travers Antiques

Art Deco Trolley

Travers Antiques

This wheeled table is both stylish and practical. The metal pipes and simple trays give the table an industrial feel, while the colour combination of glossy black and matte silver suggests an art-deco vibe.  Since it is on wheels, the table can be moved around to wherever you need it most, even functioning as a rolling bar at your next cocktail party!

Contemporary quilt

This simple square table serves as a surface for a design that is somewhere between a traditional patchwork quilt and a 21st century pixelated digital image. The mosaic tabletop is made from old, upcycled colour samples, which are placed on top of birch wood to create designs that are both geometric and abstract. The combination of craftsmanship, recycling and the digital aesthetic is sure to be a conversation starter! 

Lovingly worn

White and zinc vintage side table:  Living room by Loop the Loop
Loop the Loop

White and zinc vintage side table

Loop the Loop

Here we see another classic side table design: a simple wooden rectangle. The chipped paint gives the table a lovingly worn, shabby chic look, perfect for a rustic or country style home. Note at this table would also work well in an foyer or hallway, which is another place where it can be useful and practical to place a small table. 

Painted wood

Painted wooden furniture is very popular at the moment, and, looking at this lovely pink side table, we can see why. This piece has been lovingly refinished with no attention spared on any facet, from the black vintage lace to the light wood trim. This attention to detail is sure to add some texture to your living room.

Three's a charm

Instead of placing just one table beside a couch or chair, why not try grouping a few small pieces together? This cluster of three different shapes and sizes would add a funky, eclectic feel to any living room. Using a mix of materials, like this combination of organic wood against the stylish silver paint, is a good way to add texture to your living space.

Rubik's cube

 Living room by yourelement

Quadrant_21—Der Beistelltisch


This funky, modern design would work well in the waiting room of a young office space. Resembling a Rubik's cube, the individual levels of the table can be rotated and moved around to create different configurations. Unlike with a Rubik's cube, however, here there is no right answer. Each configuration looks equally good!

Stylish squares

These geometric tables can be either stacked together to form one eye-catching square table or taken apart to create a set of matching side tables in various sizes. Together they form an eye-catching optical illusion that is slightly reminiscent of mod 60s décor. The use of matte black with bare natural wood, however, gives the tables a very contemporary edge that would work well in any modern home.

An angular snail shell

As we mentioned earlier, one of the primary functions of a side table is to provide a place to rest your drink. This clever table formats itself perfectly to your needs by including cup holders that are built into the table top. It also includes a small shelf under the table top for storing things that don't need to be in plain site. All of the these features are included in what is actually a very simple design; a single sheet of metal bent into a geometric spiral resembling an angular snail shell. 

Origami inspired

Although we often notice the tabletop first, with this model, it's all about the legs. They are made of thin metal sheets, pressed into a tripod structure that resembles the graceful folds of origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. The primary colours keep the design simple, making the table a good choice for most styles, while the low tones of these colours ensure that the design is sophisticated.  

Table and tray

 Living room by Adele-C

Our last side table design is actually a combination of a table and a tray. A simple metal frame supports a tray that appears almost to be floating in its cage. The trays, which are available in rectangular or oval shapes, are held in place with magnetic pins, making it easy to remove the table top and carry it to the next room!  

This concludes our tour of side table designs. Part of making your home comfortable and liveable is that by every chair you should have a surface to rest things on, and, as you can see, there is a spectacular variety of models and styles to choose from. When selecting a design, be sure keep in mind the style of the room and especially of the piece of furniture that the table will sit beside. But don't be afraid to pick a side table that is bold, interesting and eye-catching!

Which of these tables to you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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