Once used solely to back a sofa to soften its harsh lines a bit, the sofa table is a great choice for today's homeowners, largely because it adds additional table space without taking up a lot of room.
While many people still place the table at the back when it extends into the room, you can also place it between the sofa and the wall to give the sofa a bit of breathing room and create a lovely display space that will capture the attention of your visitors.
With a simple makeover, you can turn these wallflowers into a real showpiece in the home, letting it shine front and center, right along with your other primary furnishings.
If you're unfamiliar with sofa tables, let's review them briefly. Created in the 18th century, sofa tables are a tall, thing and long table. They are about two-thirds the length of the sofa and the top comes up to the edge of the back of the sofa, and ideally, just a little bit lower.
A lot of people just leave their sofa tables a blank canvas. Perhaps they put a lamp there, or a photo or two, or to accent the fireplace and mantle. But there's so much more you can do with sofa tables. You can help set the tone of the entire room with the right d?�cor or setting. You can create something that's very romantic, timeless, rustic or even exotic. The choice is really yours.
When you are thinking about a theme, you can start with what is going on in the rest of the room. If you already have a theme, then you want your sofa tables to pick up these influences. You can do this through color, texture, pattern or material.
For example, let's go with a romantic theme. You can start with a lace doily, runner or tablecloth for your sofa tables. If you want to go with a romantic turn of the century look, add a kerosene lamp to the table and perhaps an antique stereoscope with a few image cards placed under it. A couple old books in a stack can also be a nice touch.
If you have a nice collection of themed pieces from your travels, be sure you continue your collection on your table. Choose a dominant piece for it, such as a large sailing ship if you're doing a nautical theme or a tribal mask if you have an African themed room.
Candles are always a great choice for this table. You can go with a couple of large candles or a single candelabra to draw the eye and anchor the space. Hurricane lamps work particularly well for this kind of table, as does a large spray of flowers. If you've noticed a theme here, it is to use something tall on the table so that it rises above the back of the sofa, dominating the space.
If you're on a budget or just starting out and don't really have a sense of what to do with the d?�cor on the table, take a field trip to Cost Plus World Market or Pier 1 Imports. These stores always have great decorating ideas and you may just find what you're looking for on a visit there. Another good place to visit is areas flea markets, second hand stores or antique malls where you can see a bunch of different approaches to decorating. Something may click that you see and you can go from there to build a unique look for your own table.
You can never go wrong with family photos or other personal touches like that either. It adds a real homey touch to the area and lets people know something about what's important to you at the same time. If you're meeting someone for the first time and not sure what you're going to talk about, photos on your sofa table will be a guaranteed conversation starter.