The best designer favorite side tables

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Photo-Illustration: Bordered; Photos: retailers, Getty Images

When our design firm tackles interior projects, larger pieces of furniture (sofas and dining tables) tend to drive the design vision. The humble side table is often overlooked until the last minute. Which is a mistake! Because these small pieces of furniture are essential to accompany the players in any living space.

A side table can really anchor a group of furniture and make a setting look complete. We often approach the side table in one of two ways: either as a neutral addition to a set, or as a playful juxtaposition with other furniture – a change, for example, to bring in a color or a shape not found elsewhere. Side the tables, unlike night tables Where shelves, generally perform a limited practical function; they need a flat tray at least as big as a plate, but not much more. For this reason, they can be made from unconventional materials like ceramics and cork, and they are freer to be sculptural objects in themselves.

Here are a few side tables, all around $ 500 (except one that creeps up a bit, but I swear it’s worth it!) That range from calm and neutral to bold and fun. For this list, I looked for tables that had the top big enough to hold a book and high enough to sit next to a sofa.

Ceramic is a terrific material for indoors and outdoors, and we have used that small number in a range of spaces. With its chunky ribbed base, pleasant chalky matte finish, and candy hues of celadon and terracotta, this is one of the trendiest pieces on this list (you can see this piece’s influences everywhere. Sight Unseen 2020 American Favorites List), but I think the simplicity of its shape will give it some resistance. A great thing about side tables is how easy they are to pick up and move from room to room, and I can see this table at home in a kid’s room, patio or a living room.

Hand molded and enameled in Vietnam, this side table (also ceramic) appears to have been made of long snakes of clay. It is also good for indoor-outdoor use and has a more subtle and accessible shape than others more contemporary chubby terracotta tables in the market. We recently used this table in a tone-on-tone bedroom alongside burnt orange, cinnamon, and pink rose.

Designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba in 2013 for Kartell, this one already looks like a modern classic. It is a beautiful and durable gemstone-like plastic with simple details. The the tables the simple shape really sings about in vibrant hues of cobalt, safety orange and aquamarine. It’s a piece that can contrast with a curved sofa, upholstered chair, or vintage rug. It also works like a dream in front of a window, shining with daylight and projecting unexpected blocks of color with the movement of the sun.

On two slender legs, the thin wafer-shaped top of this table folds to create a third fulcrum along the wall. It is not often that a side table has such a playful personality, and I could see this as a fun living room conversation piece.

This table caught my eye as soon as I saw it on a late-night furniture hunt for an upcoming hospitality project. The roughness of the matte black sandblasted texture balances out with the feminine stacked shapes of the base. It’s so sculptural in itself that it can hold up a corner of a room. Plus my son thinks it looks like piles of Oreo coins, and I can’t pass up a food themed cabinet.

You might not be totally on board with Studio McGee’s transitional neutral suburban aesthetic, but her hits for Target only keep future and can fit almost anywhere. Just close your eyes, put away your snobbery and get on the McGee mastodon. I love this table for its plaster-like finish, which gives it a handmade look and the appearance of being a lot more expensive than it is. In a soft white that accommodates a wide range of spaces, this could be a room you will keep for a long time, moving it around as your home grows and changes.

Cork is a strong and rapidly renewable material. You might think it is more suitable for wine bottles and coasters, but once processed it can be used as furniture and even buildings. At present, our team is designing a pavilion for the Flatiron Plaza where the cork will be used as a seat for the cold winter months; it is a beautiful, durable and warm material that I like to use as often as possible. My partner has a decades-old solid cork table that has darkened over time, and while it can have chips here and there, time adds character to the material. I like this cork option because it is affordable, it has a very simple shape, and most importantly, it is a sturdy piece of cork that will last.

Aalto 60 stool

There are a million imitations of this stool, of children’s furniture in rainbow colors To The four-legged version of Ikea, but none beat the original, a poem of three legs, a disc and three screws. This piece is designed as a stack stool, but made a dynamite side table, too much. Originally designed in 1933 by architect Alvar Aalto, the table is now available with a rich range of shades and even padded tops (see this trendy checkerboard fabric). Believe me when I tell you this is a buy for life; it is beautifully designed and will be a timeless classic.

Just a few years ago, I felt very in the know when I brought back Hay housewares from Salon del Mobile, the annual blockbuster furniture show in Milan. Now, of course, Hay has stores across the United States. You’ve probably noticed some of their top sellers in startup offices where museum gift shops – many of their pieces share a modern sensibility and clean shapes in surprising colors and textures. The Slit table comes in a range of sizes, heights and finishes, but I prefer it in the tall version in gold.

Curved side table

You’ve probably seen Danish designers Kristina Dam’s work without knowing his name. His pieces illustrate contemporary Scandinavian minimalism; the furniture is graphic, elegant and sober in form and color. One of my favorites is the curved side table. Made of beige powder coated steel, it has pockets for storage, but looks great empty as a simple, bold form. This piece is a repeated module, also appearing in a long bench shape.

Sentrum side table

The Sentrum side table has the European feel of pieces from places like Hay, Muuto, and Menu, but I’d bet not many Americans have seen this piece before, which gives it a cache of where did you find this cache. . Produced by Danish brand Woud and designed by Maximilian Schmahl and Fabian Schnippering, the table is a sensitive and tough painted steel, available in a range of neutrals and my favorite, Burnt Orange. It has a cleverly designed base that can hold books, magazines, and knickknacks in two side pockets. The table is so attractive because of its balance between curves and straight lines: a circular disc tops an S-shaped base in the plane but sliced ​​to reveal clean diagonal cuts.

A cousin of the Kartell Max Beam side table, this piece was developed for MoMA. Rather than the slightly curved edges of the molded plastic of the beam, this side table has sharp, crisp edges formed from butt-jointed acrylic. It’s especially fun because it comes in wacky color combinations like green and orange and smoky and yellow. I love how transparent colors transform when layered, and how shadows and highlights take on unexpected hues.

This table comes flatbed as a simple, shiny three-piece jigsaw puzzle and peg. A rectangle, triangle and circle come together to form a striking leather laminate side table with gold edging. I liked it so much, bought one for our dining room, where it currently contains a potted rubber plant – and found that it can be used as an extra seat for a small person at the rigor.

It is a side table as a performance art. Each Akron Street Tenon table set comes with an oak mallet to be used to attach the table legs to the top of the table, asking the end user to be a part of the manufacturing process. After inserting the three bases, you hammer in contrasting colored wooden corners, leaving a trace of the table’s craftsmanship and celebrating the wedged tenons and mortises of traditional woodworking craftsmanship. The table really sings in an unusual smoked oak finish; the wood is classic enough to be comfortable in any home, but the wobbly, childish shape of the top and the rare smoked oak finish make it very contemporary.

It’s the only side table on the list that exceeds the $ 500 mark, but I just couldn’t help myself. Every time I bring this table to a job site there are oohs and aahs, and in a recent photoshoot for a project I carried it from room to room because it worked in almost all planes. From the fantastic New Zealand furniture brand Resident, and stocked in the USA by Spartan Shop in Portland, this piece comes with a set of solid screw-on legs and a thick, chunky top. The trick to its asymmetrical shape is that the screws are eccentric on the base cylinders, allowing you to rotate the legs as you see fit. For a compact layout you can twist the legs inward, but I think it looks best when one or two of the legs are pushed out.


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