With so many options available, picking the perfect end table for your living room, reading nook, entryway or home office can be overwhelming. With limited space, the search becomes even more complex. From nesting end tables to C-shaped end tables, picking the right style, proper size and best materials can be challenging. Follow below to learn all about the different types of end tables and which end table style might work best for your home.
Nesting tables are a fantastic space-saving option for small apartments or rooms short on square-footage. They typically come in a set of two or three — sometimes as many as four — small tables. Each consecutive table is slightly shorter than the last, allowing the nesting tables to stack on top of each other without contacting and harming the surfaces. Available in many varieties — as depicted above — nesting tables are as simultaneously trendy and classic as they are multifunctional. Marlen Komar outlines the benefits of choosing a set of nesting tables for your living space in her article “Nesting Tables Are the Easiest Way to Add a Layered Look to Your Living Room” for Apartment Therapy. Komar writes that in addition to their space-saving capabilities, nesting tables are also “handy for a person who grows easily bored with their interior design.”
This is because homeowners — and renters — can “group the tables together to create a layered coffee table, or you can break them apart and use some pieces as end tables.” Either way, writes Komar, “the formula is entirely up to you, and it gives you plenty of options.” Our favorite nesting end tables from LuxeDecor include the contemporary burnished steel Uttermost Akito 19'' Wide Nesting Table and the Wildwood Lamps Acid Wash / Antique Gold Leaf 28'' Wide Demilune Nesting Table. The tabletops of the Wildwood nesting tables look almost like across between a geode and an oil slick, giving them tons of visual interest. For those who prefer a classic and natural look, we love the Tommy Bahama Los Altos Rectangular Nesting tables.
The standard — or table style — end table is perhaps the most common — and surprisingly varied — of the many types available. All an end table needs to qualify as a standard table is an unadorned tabletop — meaning a tabletop without a lip, hook or other feature — and a set of legs without tiered shelving. Standard end tables are simple and functional only as a table given that they possess no usable storage. However, standard end tables should not be confused with the C-shaped end table style described below. Our favorite standard end tables from LuxeDecor are the Barclay Butera Newport Breakwater Sandstone 25'' Square Lamp End Table and the Tronk Design Hudson Walnut Round End Table, both featuring intriguing linear and geometric designs.
(Left) Uttermost Zafina 13 Square Gold Side Table (Center) Gus* Modern Tobias Walnut / Black 22'' Wide Rectangular End Table (Right) Caracole Classic Bamboo Martini Whisper of Gold 19''W × 13''D Oval End Table
Another naming no-brainer, C-shaped end tables are shaped like the letter “C,” with a protruding base unit about the same width and depth of the tabletop. C-Shaped end tables are available in a number of styles — from the small, sharp-edged table pictured above on the left to the delicate curved table pictured above on the right. In all C-shaped tables, one side of the table is left out or cut away, resulting in a bay of empty space. The feet of C-shaped end tables tuck neatly beneath the base of most couches, sectionals and armchairs, making them particularly suitable for small spaces. However, while the surface of a C-shaped table might fit over the seat cushions of a couch, it typically will not clear the arms.
Erin Mayer explains the functionality of C-shaped end tables in the article “The best C tables” for Business Insider. Mayer writes that “C tables are the polished, grown-up versions of fold-out snack tables, smartly designed to provide a surface for eating or working, without taking up too much floor space.” C-shaped tables are particularly helpful for those working remotely from their couch, as most can fit a laptop and — most importantly — your morning cup of coffee.
Like standard end tables, column or stool end tables function solely as a table — not as extra storage in the way that tiered tables do or as a usable work space as C-shaped tables do. Some, however, can double as an extra chair for company if additional seating is needed. Column or stool end tables tend to be more sculptural than other types of end tables, intended as a focal point or true decor piece in one’s living room. Cylindrical column end tables are often referred to as “drum end tables.”
However, this is a bit of a misnomer as the term “drum table” — according to the Britannica entry on the style — historically referred to a “heavy circular table with a central support” which terminated in “four elegantly tapering legs” with claw feet. As such, the more appropriate term for such tables is a “column” end table. Our favorite column end tables include the Bernhardt Linea Cerused Charcoal 20'' Wide Square End Table and the Moe's Home Collection Natural 12'' Wide Square End Table. We love the Bernhardt end table for its dark-stained triangular planes and the Moe’s table for its unique, living edge design cut from natural teak. One might choose a sculptural column end table for a space that needs an infusion of style and artistry but lacks space for non-functional pieces.
Trunk tables are expected to be particularly popular in 2021 because they correspond well to the antique- and vintage-inspired furniture trends capturing the attention of decorators and homeowners alike. Trunk end tables — hallmarked by a lifting tabletop and ample storage — are perfect for those who wish to create a travel-inspired interior. In her article “10 TRUNK COFFEE TABLES FOR A CHARMING LIVING ROOM” for Elle Decor, Monique Valeris extols the many virtues of trunk end tables. She writes that trunk tables provide that “lived-in look” designers are searching for this season. Valeris continues on to note that “classic trunk coffee tables not only boost the style factor in your space—they also serve as a spot for storing everything from reading material to throw blankets.”
Our favorite trunk end table from LuxeDecor is the lovely Woodbridge Furniture Bordeaux 23'' Wide Rectangular End Table. As the listing outlines, the Bordeaux end table is a “wonderful storage box with handsome styling…[whose] rectangular lift lid opens to expose a finished compartment for media or other storage.” Somewhat unusual for a trunk table, the Bordeaux’s case “is also fitted with a small drawer and graceful tapering chamfered legs.”
Despite the lack of in-home entertaining we participated in last year, decorating with trays was a major home interiors trend in 2020. Not to be confused with the folding — and arguably somewhat tacky — folding TV tray, modern tray-style end tables are sleek, stunning and perfectly usable. The raised lip on tray end tables prevents magazines, laptops and poorly balanced lunches from sliding off the top while also adding visual interest. We recommend tray-style end tables for living rooms with slightly slanted or uneven floors. Our favorite tray end tables from LuxeDecor are the Four Hands Marlow Antique Rust 18'' Wide Oval End Table and the Gus* Modern Porter Walnut / Black Leather 21'' Wide Round End Table. The Marlow end table is special because it resembles both a bistro table and a C-shaped end table, making it quite versatile for both indoors and out.
(Left) Wildwood Lamps Gray 24'' Wide Rectangular End Table (Center) Bobby Berk for A.R.T Furniture Natural 24'' Wide Round End Table (Right) Hooker Furniture Melange Black with White Onyx 18'' Wide Round Blythe Accent End Table
Tiered end tables are another self-explanatory style. Available in practically any and every silhouette imaginable, tiered end tables feature a main tabletop followed by descending tiers — either one or more — until they reach the floor or the table’s feet. A tiered end table is an excellent choice for a small space or one crammed with lots of stuff, as the backless shelves reduce visual clutter. In fact, designers frequently recommend furniture with copious negative space or transparent elements like glass or acrylic. Jenny Zhang endorses this tip in her article “14 Easy Ways to Make a Small Room Look Bigger” for Square Foot.
Zhang writes that those trying to make small spaces feel larger should “choose furniture that gives the impression of facilitating light and air flow.” Any furniture that reveals the “floor space underneath” or other elements behind it “makes a room feel more spacious.” Our favorite tiered end tables from LuxeDecor are the Wildwood Lamps Gray 24'' Wide Rectangular End Table, the Bobby Berk for A.R.T Furniture Natural 24'' Wide Round End Table and the Hooker Furniture Melange Black with White Onyx 18'' Wide Round Blythe Accent End Table.