The Essential Guide to Vintage Side Tables
Nothing adds vibrato to a room like a vintage side table. While it’s certainly not the elephant in the room (we’ll leave that business to the sofa), vintage side tables are an easy way to plug a space with texture and score extra storage space in the process. And who doesn’t love that?
Perfect for housing drinks and table lamps, vintage side tables (also known as accent tables or end tables) befriend club chairs effortlessly and add supreme function to a couch. Although they often come in matching sets, be aware that pairs do have a knack for making a room look overtly formal. So if Scarlett O’Hara isn’t your muse and you favor a bohemian or shabby chic vibe, try mixing and matching used side tables. By sticking to a similar color palette and general sense of scale it’s surprisingly easy to nail a look that looks expertly curated.
Prior to buying, it’s also wise to consider how a vintage end table will be used. Oftentimes—and especially if storage is a must—a vintage accent table can be fashioned out of an unexpected item. Below, we’ve broken down some types of vintage side tables to consider, including some objects that might not be traditionally considered.
Pick Your Sides
Ah, the nesting table. Maybe it’s their sweet and homey name or the fact that they feel undeniably BOGO-like, but these dainty tables pull at our heartstrings. Typically consisting of a larger table that houses one or two smaller tables in its canopy, vintage nesting tables come in all styles, ranging from English traditional to contemporary. These theatrical tables are perfect for grand sofas that would easily dwarf a more petite side table, or space-pressed interiors where a coffee table might not be in the cards. Pull the smallest of your nesters from its pack and place in front of the sofa for an instant cocktail table.
True, the average side table can butler a drink just dandy, but by upgrading to a bar cart you’ll have all of your spirits within arm’s reach too! In addition to holding your bottles, bar carts are also an excellent place to stow pretty coffee table books or magazines. Best yet, most bar carts have rails surrounding each shelf, making them ideal for minimizing party mishaps.
When you figure that nightstands stand alert on either side of the bed quite impressively, why not translate them to the living room? Nightstands typically come equipped with drawers or an interior cabinet, which colors them perfect for relaxed living rooms that double as playrooms. One imperative to keep in mind when using a vintage nightstand? Scale. Nightstands tend to be blockier than your average vintage accent table, so ensure that you’re not overpowering your other furniture by measuring twice and buying once. To help aid your search, keep an eye out for leggy nightstands. The longer a table’s legs, the less likely it will be to add mass to a sofa.
Bring the outdoors in with a vintage garden stool. These versatile stools—usually crafted of ceramic—are essential for a room in need of a bolt of color. We love the look of a deep, turquoise-washed stool next to a clean white sofa, though cobalt blue or red would work magic as well. Garden stools might not offer up a bounty of surface space, but fanciful details like cut-outs and textural hobnails make them serious room jewelry. As a bonus, they also can double as seating.
Make it Insta-worthy with Details
Once you’ve decided on your side table it’s time to layer on the details. We’re talking the obvious—lamps—and the not-so obvious—ever notice that an end table is the perfect place to lean a small-scale painting? Other items we love are coasters stacked at the ready (opt for coasters with pretty finished rims to ensure that they look just as great stacked as they do laid out for mugs of tea), candles, and greenery. Alternatively, a large bone or Lucite tray that’s flush with your accent table’s top can make protecting a precious surface like wood or marble terrifically easy, while also providing a glamorous touch. And lastly, adding a lidded basket or lacquer box to hide those unsightly remotes?— Well, that’s just ingenious.