Selecting the Perfect Accent Table for Transitional Spaces

No matter what you call it – end, side or accent table – it’s all about the selection. And whether it serves as an occasional table for cocktails or bookends a bed or sofa, this little table is perhaps one of the most utilitarian pieces in a room. Born out of necessity, the end/side/accent table can deliver a powerful punch to any interior.

Here are a few considerations when making your choice.

Size It Right
If the tables are going to flank a sofa, make sure the height and depth are similar to the sofa arms. And if they are serving as bedside tables, make sure they are no taller than 24” unless your bed is very tall. And take into consideration room for lamps, accessories and the many items – both functional and decorative – that make their way on the table.

Shape Also Matters
If you have an oval cocktail table, opt for square end tables and vice- versa. It’s always good to mix up the shapes, otherwise its very boring.

Symmetry versus Mixing It Up
There are two schools of thought — some designers favor balance and symmetry while others find it predictable and boring (personally I have the former for a bedroom and the latter for living and den areas).  If you do decide to forgo the matching table theory, try a chest on one side and an oval table on the other.



Place Your Attention on Accents
The accent table is usually smaller in size and a great companion to the side chair. Make sure the height is similar to the chair’s arms and not directly in the traffic flow of the room. It’s also a great way to mix in materials –gilt, bronze or silver is always a nice complement to wood. Marble and stone tops are a wonderful way to bring in a contemporary look and when it comes to woods, branch out with painted or distressed looks.  And be careful not to use too much iron in a room – a pair of wood tables and iron accent and coffee table is sufficient.

photo: Jean Allsop; Design: Jan Ware Designs

And lastly, STYLE
 A traditional sofa next to a mid-century sofa (and vice-versa) is always a match made in heaven. Never be afraid to mix styles (within reason as I am not sure Art Deco and English Country pieces could co-exist!) and at the end of the day, break a few rules and go with what you like.

About Cathy WhitlockCathy is a lecturer, consultant, magazine features writer and the author of the books Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper Collins, 2010) and re-de-sign (Fairchild Books/Conde Nast, 2009).  A contributing writer for The Hollywood Reporter, American Airlines Celebrated Living and Traditional Home, her design, film, travel, celebrity and lifestyle profiles have appeared in Architectural Digest, Capitol File, Glamour, Veranda and The Huffington Post. She also served as Editor-in-chief of LuxPop! and content developer for the luxury site RubyLUX and is currently features editor for Manhattan’s Array Magazine.

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