The Design Train
Small Pleasures – Exploring the Side Table
The side table is in the spotlight this month with good reason. This decorating staple is often overlooked when planning a room and considered an afterthought. Although normally relegated as a sofa end table or placed next to an armchair, there are a number of interesting options open when it comes to the practical use of this décor staple.
Side tables have been an essential in the Leonardo – Tables by Design collection since our inception over 30 years ago, and although we have seen styles and designs come and go, the popularity of the side table has never waned. Whether you are looking to bring sophisticated ambiance, a casual but elegant feel or a funky bright pop of colour, we have it covered.
This month we will be discussing some interesting ideas for the mighty side table while taking a look at some of the favourites from our collection.
More than meets the eye –
A selection of stylish side tables in an assortment of shapes and finishes
Side tables are often purchased in pairs, and although this is a practical way to create balance and symmetry to your setting, especially with the addition of matching table lamps or ornaments, nobody said that you have to opt a matching pair.
Mix/matched side tables can bring a fun element to a room. Different shapes, materials and styles can work wonders to liven up the visual impact. A general rule of thumb is to try and keep your tables the same height, but nothing is ever set in stone!
Left: The Nightingale Side Table Nest – The perfect option when you want double the surface area for half the space.
The sheer number of side table offerings on the market is staggering. Whatever size, material or shape you can imagine can be found on the internet. As handy as this may sound, it can also lead to confusion which often results in opting for an overly-safe choice, or succumbing to a fad design that will last a season or two at most.
The perfect side table should sit just lower than the arm of our couch or chair. Obviously, if you have a low divan styled couch, your side tables can be slightly higher than the seat height, but lower than the standard height offerings. Having your measurements at hand when making your choice can help prevent costly mistakes.
Right: Simple and Elegant –
The Drake Side Table
Shape can play a huge role in how your side table works in a room. If you are using a lot of hard edges and rectangular shapes, a pair of round side tables can help soften the effect. The opposite is true if using a lot of curves in your scheme, when squares, rectangles or even hexagonal shapes can add some needed add visual interest.
Material choice is an important factor and should match your lifestyle. If you have a busy home with a young family, an easily cleaned and maintained finish like metal could be the best option. Wood and wood veneers are a popular choice and come in a range of grains and hues. They are excellent for bringing a feeling of warmth to a setting. Glass and mirror topped tables add airiness, but ensure that tops are well constructed and use toughened glass with no exposed sharp edges. Wood and glass always work particularly well together.
Left: The Langford Side Table Nest – An elegant way to reflect light into your setting
It is well known that adding mirrored or reflective surfaces to an area makes it appear brighter and bigger. Mirrors left the confines of the wall a long time ago and are used regularly in furniture design. Mirror topped side tables are a popular way of adding that extra highlight to a setting.
Marble and stone table tops will always bring a feeling of sophistication and elegance to both traditional and contemporary settings. There is a huge choice of marbles, granites and stone composites on the market with varying stain and chip resistant qualities. Make sure to check specifications and take note of cleaning instructions. These materials are usually best used in quieter rooms and areas.
Right: Perfect for the bedside, our Parker Side Table with optional undershelf
The side tables reach has happily extended beyond the living room and with smaller living spaces predominating new developments, it has necessitated that we take a fresh look at our surroundings. Side tables are ideal for smaller spaces and can easily be used in the bedroom as an alternative to the normal bedside unit. An undershelf is a welcome addition and allows you to keep your pile of bedside reading at hand without cluttering your bedside space; the perfect mini bookcase.
How about using a side table as small cocktail station with a small range of drinks and glasses on the undershelf while leaving the surface open as a preparation area featuring a small display of stylish bar accessories.
Left: A luxuriously styled side table packed with bath time treats – Image: Swoonworthy.com
The bathroom is perfect for a side table. A small table placed next to the bath can look luxurious while being a practical surface for toiletries or even a few candles and glass of wine when a long soak is in order. Use a side table in a guest bathroom to store towels or facecloths along with a small floral arrangement or scent diffuser to create a welcoming ambience.
The lockdowns of the last few years have seen the rise of the home office. Many of us far prefer the work-at-home option but not many have a dedicated space where they can close the door on the subsequent clutter. Because of their compact size, a suitably proportioned side table (especially one with a drawer or shelves) could easily be placed under a desk for all those essential bits and pieces and keep the clutter to a minimum.
Using a side table as a plinth is an effective way of drawing attention to a sculpture or floral display. The bonus is that it can be used in one of the numerous settings we’ve discussed when not needed as a display surface.
Above: The correct side table can elevate an arrangement to the next level
Image: The Dodecahedron Side Table
Scatters and throws are a traditional way of introducing the new season’s colour to a décor scheme, but how about using a side table instead? We have recently introduced a collection which is perfect for both home and corporate settings. Manufactured in mild steel with a tough Ferrugrain powder coated finish, they are available in two heights and a range of 12 amazing colours. This fun collection is perfect for everything from kid's play rooms to the reception of a modern advertising agency or boutique hotel lobby.
Above: Our new collection of brightly coloured side tables
We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the wonderful world of side tables. View the full collection on our website. The majority of our designs can be customised to perfectly suit your décor brief and you can also bring your dream design to life with our specialised bespoke service. Whether a full range or individual show stopper, let the Leonardo team bring our three decades of experience to your table.
Wishing you a stylish month - Frank
Written for Leonardo - Tables by Design by Andrew Knapp of The Design Train