Small tables are tricky. There are so many to choose from and so many of them are no good; they are fragile or cheap-looking or wobbly. It’s a real opportunity to add a statement to a room and often the cost can be far outweighed by the impact it will have. But it also needs to be practical as well. If you have a wooden floor and a large wooden coffee table adding another wooden element can seem too much so you might want to mix up your textures a little. So it’s a small piece of furniture that can take more research than you might think.
A side table can also be a way of adding that famous disrupter colour if you choose painted wood or powder coated steel. And don’t forget to play around with the shapes. Here are a selection of side tables that could all work in a variety of rooms with a couple of pretty bedside cabinets thrown in. They all show a good mix of shape, texture and colour and demonstrate how a well-chosen small table can really pull its weight in a room.
These curved tables at the top, the Rillo by Broste Copenhagen (available at Amara) started me off on this quest for the perfect small table. I have seen them a few times now and can’t stop thinking about them. I love the soft charcoal and terracotta colours and their narrow footprint means you can tuck them at the end of a sofa or beside a bed, although I appreciate this means you will have to be very disciplined about what you store there. Is that a bad thing? Alternatively you can group them in front of a sofa with two small and a tall and them move them closer to the chairs as necessary. This is the modern way of creating a nest of tables.
The wooden tables above come from Pinch Design and were inspired by floats. At £945 you probably aren’t grouping them, but they are the modern heirlooms of the future. You can already tell how fabulous they will look in 20 years when they have weathered a bit.
Moving away from wood to metal, and this side table, which also comes in terracotta (I was going to say rust but since it’s metal that might not be the effect we’re after). This will slide, or sidle, up close to an armchair and mean you barely have to move to raise your Gin to your lips. It’s another gem from Broste Copenhagen available from Rose & Grey and while you’re there check out their exclusive collection of brass tables.
Or there’s this one – also round – there’s definitely a curvy thing going on at the moment (or perhaps that’s just my lockdown weight gain). This is a tall and elegant shape from Graham & Green but also rather understated. Great for a colour vase of flowers or a tonal green plant.
One more equally sculptural but this time it’s stoneware and it’s orange so it will really bring a pop to a room. Made by HKLiving you can find it (for £73) at Connox. And for anyone who was wondering how to warm up a grey palette then this is a great example. You can do the same with pinks and reds as opposed to mustards and oranges.
Now while all of these would work by the bed I know that some sort of storage is a fixed requirement for many of you. So here is the drawer version of the table at the top, which I found at Soho Home and now vexingly note has gone out of stock, but I’m leaving it here in case you love it enough to inquire when it might return. I think the pandemic has played havoc with supply chains and production lines around the world although on a positive note it does give us time to really interrogate our choices and decide if we really want something enough to wait for it.
So we’ll come to this which is square but with curtains for doors from Ceraudo. Watch out for this because the old basin and sink skirts are on their way back and I know you are going to find it controversial. Personally I can’t abide basin skirts in bathrooms but I don’t mind a sink skirt in a kitchen. I know, who said taste was logical? This, however is pretty but you know what? I wouldn’t match it to the headboard and curtains. In a plain room that was perhaps quite monochrome and pared back, this would be a brilliant add. Or course, it would work in a full on maximalist scheme as well so I guess the point is add it to a room of extremes if you want it to work hard for you. It also comes in pink, burgundy, charcoal, navy and natural.