Coffee Tables & Side Tables

Ideally placed in the living room, next to the sofa, or in a redundant corner, a side table or coffee table is not just a practicality but will add character and interest to your interior too. You will find a wide selection of sizes, colours and styles in our store, making it easy for you to match them with your favourite sofa or chair in the living room.

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16 Items

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Occasional tables for the living room in different styles

Coffee tables and side tables come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can be sure to find one that suits your décor and available space. They can be used for occasional use, or specifically selected for a well-chosen table lamp, an interestingly shaped vase, striking art sculptures or family framed photos. The small, rounded shapes work well next to a chair or sofa, whilst the low longer length styles are best in front of a sofa. You may wish to look for one that has a lower shelf for tidying away books and magazines, so the top is clear for glasses and snack bowls.

Among the most popular styles are the Scandi influenced examples, as they offer simple shapes and modern colours, to fit most interior styles. A retro inspired design is also a look that works particularly well in coffee tables. Even if you’re not fully invested in a complete retro interior, then a small 3-legged table with a slim top, is an interesting addition to your living room. For a dependable and uncomplicated design option, then a traditional shaped coffee table is a good choice, in classic wood colours.

The choice of colour and material is something that should be carefully considered. Light coloured wood finishes look great in a contemporary home, whereas darker pieces suit either more traditional spaces, or add contrast where needed. A successful interior is often one that blends different finishes and textures, so a hard surface such as wood or metal contrasts effectively with a soft fabric sofa. This adds interest and gives your room more of a design edge.

The history of the coffee table

It is thought that the coffee table we know today, started out as a tea table, that was much higher in stature and designed for standing whilst socialising and drinking tea, around 400 years ago. Shortly after this, across Europe and Britain, coffeehouses began opening up, and quickly became the place to be seen for the gentrified classes, to discuss the politics of the day and enjoy a good gossip. It soon became clear that it wasn’t just seating that was needed, but that there was no place for them to set down their cup of coffee alongside newspapers or journals. Therefore, coffeehouse owners had custom tables built especially for this purpose. 

These early coffee tables made for the coffeehouses did not exactly resemble the coffee tables we know and recognise today, being taller and much more ornate, often adorned with decoration, such as gold trims and large claw legs. However, as coffee became more affordable and available to all social classes, the designs of coffee tables became less elaborate and more functional. The Anglo-Japanese style of furniture design was also becoming fashionable and the low tea tables, from this period, were also thought to have influenced the shorter design we know today. The invention of the TV is also thought to have influenced the height of the coffee table, and during this period the legs were lowered further so as not to obstruct the view of the television if anything were placed on it.

Coffee tables and side tables - what to consider

The first point to think about is the space you have available and where you would like your table to be placed. Is it something that you could put next to a chair, or would it work better for you and the room if it was placed in front of a sofa. If you’re short of space but still need to be able to rest your drinks and offer somewhere for your guests to place their glasses when entertaining, then why not consider a nest of tables. These store neatly away for everyday and then can be pulled out and placed accordingly when required. We have a choice of these in our store, including interesting and unusual shapes, which is a great way to add character to your room. Most living rooms, whatever their size will have room for a least one compact side table. If you have a larger space to plan, then why not order different coffee tables of varying sizes, to add interest as well as serving a practical function.

Think about what you are looking to achieve with your occasional tables. Do you want them for purely practical reasons or are they just to add interest and contrast to your larger furniture pieces in the room? If it is a new home you have just moved to, then it may be worth waiting, until you have settled in, to see what your needs and requirements are. Is there a side of the sofa that gets used more regularly? Are you always losing the remotes down the side of the sofa? Then once these questions have been answered, you can look to make a decision on your occasional table requirements. You can be certain that a side table will enhance your relaxation space, as it allows you the luxury of storing books, for when you get some time to yourself, or if you choose one with a drawer, being able to tidy away any unnecessary clutter.