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Not your old side and coffee tables

white sofa table

Not your old side and coffee tables

Side and coffee tables often cause headaches when furnishing the living room. They're useful to have, but don't they take up too much space?
Not any more. Coffee and side tables have evolved to be both stylish and functional. Once you realise how convenient they can be, you'll never go without. Let's look at how to choose the right table, taking style and use into consideration. 

01 Do you need a table?

Already have a sofa in your living room, and not convinced you need a coffee or side table? Having a table means you won't have to walk over to wherever you left the remote control or your book. And it's awkward to hold on to your drink while relaxing on the sofa if there's nowhere to put it. Without a coffee table or side table things get left all over the living room and you end up going back and forth trying to find them. Imagine a coffee or side table nearby where you can put whatever you're using and keep it close to hand. There's nothing better for ensuring that you can relax properly on your sofa.

It also makes it easier to entertain any guests that stop by. Bringing them to the living room is more casual than the front room or dining room, and makes it easier to get people talking.

Coffee and side tables make your sofa more practical and easy to use. Why not treat your sofa to this simple upgrade?

02 Choosing a statement table 

Coffee and side tables come in a wide range of types and designs to suit varied modern lifestyles. If you want a table to be the centrepiece of your living room, a sizeable coffee table between the sofa and TV fits the bill. It's useful not just for family but also when you have visitors. So if this kind of classic, practical table is right for your living room, let's look at how to choose one. 

A fitting size for a table that fits in

Before choosing a table, check the size of your sofa. If a table is too big compared to the sofa, it will overwhelm the space and make it feel cramped. A table wider than the sofa will block it, making things less convenient instead of more. On the other hand, if the table is too small compared to the sofa, it will look out of proportion. Another point for ease of use is whether you can reach out and use the table from where you sit. 

A general rule for style and convenience is to choose a table shorter by 30 cm on both sides than the sofa. So the table should be roughly 60 cm shorter than the width of the sofa. Small tables in dark colours can look more imposing than their size suggests. Or for a more open look, choose an oval instead of a rectangle. It will be just right to round everything off.

Can an open storage table be stylish?

Tables with space to hold remote controls, magazines and other everyday items keep the table top clear. But if the storage space is too close to the floor it lowers the table's centre of gravity and makes it look heavy and cumbersome. Plus you won't be able to stretch your legs when sitting on the sofa. If you want storage, look at tables with castors that can be moved easily, storage close to the table top or casual designs in mesh or glass for a clean and stylish look. 

Like sofa, like table

Make sure that the design of your chosen table matches your sofa. For example, look at what the legs are made of. Sofa legs are normally wood or steel (metal). A table with legs made of the same material will naturally go with the sofa instead of clashing.

As well as material, make sure that the colours work well together. A mix of gold and silver metal, or brown and beige wood, will still clash. If the sofa legs are not visible, choose a table based on the overall design of the room, for example natural or modern.

03 Next-generation tables  

It's not just big coffee tables any more. There are now a wide range of table designs to cater for the different ways people use their living room. If only the family use the living room on a regular basis, there's not much need for a big table. Unless you know you want a table in front of the sofa, consider a small, simple table for convenience.  

The table needs to do different things depending on how you use the sofa. To get the most from your table, think about what each type is best for. 

Side tables

Small side tables are great because you can put them just about anywhere. Beside the sofa, in the middle of a split sofa, or within arm's reach. A side table lets you effortlessly pick up the remote or your drink while relaxing on the sofa. And they're not just useful, side tables come in many stylish designs so they're a popular choice. 

Tray tables

These side tables have removable table tops that can be carried like a tray. You can put drinks and snacks on the tray in the kitchen and bring it directly over to the sofa, so if you tend to eat or drink while sitting on the sofa this could work well in your living room. You can also fold tray tables away and use them only when needed. 

Storage with style

Things can get a bit messy when the whole family uses the sofa, leaving their books, magazines and even blankets strewn around. A table with a storage area like a drawer or basket gives you a place to hide things you don't want to leave out, making it easier to keep the sofa area tidy. Clever design means you don't always notice these attractive and unique tables have storage. So it's not just a stylish storage table, but something that adds to the whole room. 

04 Enjoy using your table 

A coffee or side table gives you somewhere to put your drink or book when you're on the sofa, but it can do a lot more besides. Here are some ideas for enjoying your living room table and making it look great. 

Free up space

One big coffee table is enough, but depending on how you use your space two half-size tables might be even better. They can be used together more flexibly than one large table.  

Put them together like a large coffee table for everyday use. Then when you're cleaning, you can turn one table upside down and put it on top of the other to get it out of the way. If you're watching a yoga or exercise video on the TV, a large coffee table takes up the space you want to use. But you can quickly move half-size tables to the edge of the living room, making the space more flexible. And of course they're easy to put back too.

On can be in regular use by the sofa while the other is used for something else, and when you have visitors or need a bigger table you can just put them together again. Two small tables make it easy to change the look and usability of space in your living room.

The best seats in the home

Two side tables let you do even more. Two people can sit on the sofa enjoying a home cinema setup, each with their own table. Have your favourite drinks and snacks to hand and concentrate on the film, just like at the cinema. 

A beautiful side table can also be used to showcase something else. Use it as a stand for a vase or house plant. Placing objects on a table attracts the gaze naturally and emphasises the beauty of flowers or plants.

Stage some event lighting

Put a light on a side table to instantly transform it into a floor lamp. The look is different from a standard standing lamp, something a little out of the ordinary. 

Put table lamps or candles on side tables for indirect lighting during celebrations like birthdays or Christmas. It's a sure way of creating a bright and cheerful mood.

Time to relax

Handy tray tables aren't just useful in the living room. They serve as a side table in the living room table, then when your day is almost done you can put your tea and favourite book on the tray, pick it up and carry it to your bedroom. What could be more convenient?

05 Get the most from your table 

A stylish and practical coffee table or side table will take pride of place in your living room. Some stay by the sofa, while others have as many uses as you can think of. The right table makes relaxing on the sofa better than ever. 

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