by Staff Writer
Once you have a sofa, the next most important pieces of living room furniture are accent tables. But do you know which ones to use in your space? Sofa tables and end tables both offer distinct benefits for your home, but they're often lumped together. In order to choose the best furniture for your living room, you'll want to learn the differences between sofa tables and end tables.
Use: While both types of accent tables can add an extra bit of style to a room, they serve very different functions. The two major jobs of a sofa table are decoration and storage behind your sofa. These tables bring a sense of style to a room as well as provide a place to store books, magazines, lamps, and other living room miscellany. End tables offer balance to your decor and a place to hold smaller but more widely used items, like TV remote controls and beverages. End tables are excellent for keeping your living room in order. You can reach directly for these items when your end table is situated next to your favorite chair or sofa.
Size: Another aspect in which sofa and end tables differ is their dimensions. Generally, sofa tables are tall and long, mimicking the size of the couches they complement. End tables, on the other hand, are usually shorter and more compact to complement smaller spaces.
Placement: While both sofa and end tables will rest near your couch, they're designed for separate locations around your furniture. Sofa tables have your couch's back; they're designed to be placed directly behind your sofa. Again, the things you place on your sofa table will be mostly decorative. Since it's situated behind your sofa, you probably won't be reaching for anything on the sofa table while you're sitting down. End tables, on the other hand, as their name suggests, should flank your sofa or your favorite chair near its arm rests. You'll want to put widely used items on your end tables since they'll be within easy reach.
Materials and style: Two areas in which sofa and end tables are similar are style and the type of materials they're made of. Whether you're looking for something modern or classic in wood, metal or leather, you'll be able to find sofa and end tables to suit your home decor. For a traditional living room, look for a matching set of sofa, coffee, and end tables. If you prefer contemporary style, sofa tables and end tables with sleek straight lines and glass tops fit the bill.
Published April 28, 2010
Updated December 1, 2014