End Tables - Interior Design and Decorating 101

When you are planning a home's interiors, one of the elements that must be addressed is tables for lamps to sit on, drinks on coasters when friends and family are over, and the decorative element that makes the table more of a focal point than just for function.  Through this article you will learn the different characteristics that go into designing and using end tables that are used in the home and office.

Materials used in End tables

Solid Wood Construction

This is by far the strongest construction method, most pleasing to the eye, and more costly than other materials that make up these occasional tables.  Most name brand end table manufactures use solid woods such as oak, cherry or mahogany in their designs.

Veneered Composite Wood

This type of construction can be very high quality, but it all depends on the quality of raw material that the veneer comes from.  Most for all practical purposes, the veneered top over a composite wood end table is less expensive than a solid wood item.  Using this type of furniture construction, a designer can specify the wood that because of cost constraints would not be affordable in solid wood end tables.  Example would be ribbon mahogany that has become very rare in recent years.

Particle Board and Veneer

Manufactured particle board veneer designed furniture construction can also look great depending on the quality of veneer used. But, be where that particle boards tensile strength is not as strong as either solid wood end tables or composite types.   In moist environments, particle board construction tend to soften as it ages.

What is a Veneer?

It is a thin slice of wood or other material applied over a base acting as a decorative element for the base.  There are three different kinds of veneers used in the construction of end tables.

1.  The best is the wood veneer, which is a thin slice, usually under 1/16" thick, of actual wood, most of the time being a hard wood.

2.  The next is a vinyl veneer that is made out of a thin polymer with a photographic process to simulate the characteristic of real wood.

3.  The third type of veneer used in end tables is a printed product, which actually mean the look of real wood but it is a photo print directly onto the board surface.  This is the most affordable type of veneer used in end tables today

The differences in quality of the end product may be noticeable from wood veneered end tables down to a photo veneered end table.  Consumers need to know what they are purchasing.

Other Materials

Many newer materials are being used in the design of end tables that are not traditional resources like wood and marble.  Iron and glass are two that stand out that have really made their mark as a go to material when designing quality end tables.

Styles of End Tables

Even more elementary than a style of an end table, is what type of look does the customer like and will it work scale wise in the living room.  End tables or side tables as they are sometimes called, can be made square, round, rectangular, oval, or even octagonal.  Then there are side tables that nest into each other, meaning they stack over a small end table to save space, but can be brought out and placed around the room as needed.  These nesting tables are great for smaller condos and living spaces.  Or they come in larger scaled nesting tables for larger environments like a great room, but the designer still like the clean uncluttered look of using  nesting  table.

Look intently at the room you want to place an end table  to determine which styles fits best. 

Questions to ask yourself.

1.  Do I want dark or light wood? Helps decide on what look a person likes.

2.  Is the location of the room small or large?  Helps to determine scale.

3.  Will the end table or side table go into a corner, in the middle of the room, or against a straight wall?

Understanding the basics of end table construction and Interior Decorating that is covered above, should give a consumer the information that is needed to shop and purchase an end table that will meet the needs within the home for many years to come.