Call them cocktail tables, coffee tables, or occasional tables, these gems of your living space are essential for entertaining and everyday living. More than functional, Gabby’s newest introductions are also quite pretty to look at. So pour a cup of coffee, mix a cocktail, or fix yourself a glass of tea and get to know the latest offerings that are both chic and timeless.
Really. What Are They Called?
Though coffee tables, cocktail tables, and side tables all fall under the large umbrella of occasional tables, it’s likely that tea tables and coffee tables were the earliest occasional tables. Tea tables herald from the Japanese chabudai—a short-legged table used in traditional Japanese homes and tea houses. Used for serving tea, dinner, or as a place to do needlework, the chabudai sat low to accommodate floor seating.
In The Encyclopedia of Furniture, the coffee table is described as a, “low wide table now used before a sofa or couch. There is no historical precedent…,” When it first came into vogue, the coffee table was taller. As televisions came into fashion in the1950s, the table height was lowered. Manufacturers recognized that the shorter tables wouldn’t obstruct the view of the screen.
The side table has also gained popularity in the last century. These handy little tables, positioned within easy reach of seating, offer a convenient place to set a drink or book.
Vintage, Mid-Century, and Antique Influences:
No matter what you prefer to call them (or what you plan to serve on them), occasional tables are now a mainstay of our homes and culture. And while they don’t have deep roots in the history of furniture, Gabby has created new versions with vintage and antique details ensuring that these new pieces will easily transition into any décor.
Side Tables: Fresh style, classic materials:
Faux shagreen and gold come together on the Brooke Side Table and Cecil Drinking Table for sleek, sophisticated style. Shagreen, the skin of rays or sharks exhibits a pebbly texture. Though the skin was used in different cultures and countries for centuries, shagreen is typically associated with the Art Deco period (1910-1940). Brass and gold may have hit their pinnacle of design success during the glitzy 1970s, but the metals resurgence in today’s designs still bring touches of glamour without the gauche. Today’s brass and gold fittings are more brushed than polished to temper the shine and evoke an industrial yet elegant feel.
Jill Brandenburg writes about the brass revival for Design Lovers Blog: “Brass is the perfect metal for adding an element of luxury, timelessness, and artisanship into 21st-century interiors. Our favorite design schemes combine a mix of natural materials, clean modern lines and monochromatic color schemes enhanced with small injections of warm brass.
Brooke Side Table and Cecil Drinking Table: The combination of shagreen resin and gold on the Cecil Drinking Table offer an elegant, interesting conversation piece to any room. The pedestal style of the Cecil Drinking Table makes a statement with its blue shagreen and gold trim. Try using a pair in a symmetrical room design for extra punch.
Based on vintage and antique designs, the Brooke Side Table top is covered in a shagreen resin and showcases a brushed brass base finish. At once sleek, modern, and easy to move around a room, this occasional table works well with other metal finishes and dark finishes. And, at a little over a foot and a half in diameter, it’s perfect for holding a book and a beverage.
Sydney Coffee Table: Looking for even more bling? Meet the Sydney Coffee Table. It’s sleek black finish with half round circle base and perfectly square top will ground any space with its modern-meets-graphic styling.
Cersei Side Table: The perfect compliment to transitional and industrial styles, the Cersei Side Table showcases a weathered gray wood top on a black metal base with circle motif.
Cedric Side Table: It’s amazing how much a finish can affect the look of a piece. Here, the Cedric Side Table exhibits movie star glam with its brushed brass gold on wrought-iron finish and sleek white faux bone top. We think a pair of these tables would look especially good on either side of a Gabby custom headboard.
Clinton Side Table and Jasper Table
The circle motif dominates the Clinton Side Table (left) and Jasper Table (right). These two occasional tables would be a perfect match for coastal, industrial, or farmhouse décor. Their washed wood finishes recall sun-bleached driftwood. The dark metal base on Jasper and black metal accents on Clinton add another dimension.
Jasper Table: This round table with its interlinking circle design makes a graphic silhouette in any room. The white washed wood top and distressed metal finish on the base make the Jasper Table both modern and vintage.
Clinton Side Table: With its turned wood center, the Clinton Side Table shows off the ancient craftsmanship of working with a lathe to create a carefully shaped base. Graceful proportions meet casual finishes for a transitional look suited to most any style décor.
Jae Round Split Ottoman
Everybody loves an ottoman. This multipurpose piece of furniture can function as seating, a coffee table, or just a nice spot to rest your feet. We especially love this split design for the added versatility. Perfect as a stand alone, we also think it would look great pulled apart flanking a rectangular coffee table.
Kendall Cocktail Ottoman and Kenzie Cocktail Ottoman, Custom Tailored:
Custom designs always suit an individual’s tastes. Adding that little something extra can make a furnishing totally unique to a living space. Much like Gabby’s line of customizable upholstery and headboards, the Kendall and Kenzie offer several design and size options.
Meet Nancy and Lillian:
Two perfect choices for mixing with antiques or transitional styles, the Nancy Nesting Table (above left) and Lillian Table (above right) are modeled after early 19th-century designs.
Nancy Nesting Tables: The design for nesting tables may go back centuries, but their contemporary history originated in Germany with the Bauhaus art school. Favored for their ability to maximize space with minimal intrusion, nesting tables offer two tables for the space of one. Gabby’s brass finish on the iron table base adds a bit of glam, highlighting curvy bases. Vellum tops recall leather bound antique books. Though nesting tables are mostly associated with modern design, the fluidity of these tables makes them ideal for casual or formal settings. Another favorite Gabby nesting table is the Lionel Nesting Table. It’s similar to the Lillian Table in styling.
Lillian Table: A fresh take on the octagonal table, the Lillian Table offers an octagonal base shelf and round top. Finished in natural oak, the table’s finish reflects early American influences. Legs turned to resemble bamboo add a bit of the exotic. The brass inlay ups the style quotient making this table an excellent fit with most any style home.
Meet Ronald and Samuel:Wood Topped Iron Coffee Tables
Ronald Coffee Table: Repurposed barn wood and a black iron base roots the Ronald Coffee Table in industrial chic footings. The weathered patina of the planks is amplified even more with the starburst pattern on the oval frame. Tailored and trim, we think this table would look equally great in a city loft or country house. The bottom shelf is a bonus for stashing books or baskets.
Samuel Coffee Table: More flamboyant than Ronald, the Samuel Coffee Table offers a top loosely designed on the Celtic cross. Playing to the curves, a black metal base is swayed inward for support. A perfect 48-inches in diameter, this coffee table is ample enough for display and entertaining. We think it would look great between facing sofas.
Two More Favorites:
Klismos Stool: So it’s not a quite table, but we think this Klismos Stool is perfect for sitting next to a coffee table or pulling up next to a chair to rest a book. The Klismos-style legs have endured through every period of furniture making it the perfect transitional piece to add to any collection. And, with a variety of customizable finishes and fabrics, there’s little doubt it might just become your favorite seat in the house.
Sarah Chest: This three-drawer chest is begging to nestle between a pair of twin beds. Or, choose two to sit on each side of a Gabby upholstered customizable headboard. This wood piece offers just enough flair with vintage styling in serpentine drawer fronts and a dentil crown moulding along the top edge. Finished in antique white, we would love to see this in a beach house, farm house, or cottage.
Looking for ideas to style your ottoman or coffee table? We’ve rounded up some tips from Gabby designers to help get you started.
- Start with a large tray—especially on an ottoman. This helps break up the visual expanse of a large surface and offers a second layer to build your design vignette.
- When layering, consider the design principles of something high, something medium, and something low. Our favorite elements include a stack of design books, a hurricane lantern or large candle, a fresh bouquet or greenery, and an unusual found object that speaks to your personality.
- Consider your coffee table an ever-changing tableau. Your coffee table is a great place to play with different and elements in your room. Introduce pops of color to tie in art or accessories.