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tea table
  • tea table

    Some accent tables, like this "Sweet Tea Side Table" from Universal Furniture's Paula Deen Collection, are just small enough to hold a drink.

  • Bassett

    Accent tables can provide function and flair to a room. Photo: Bassett Furniture

  • pull-out

    Pull-out tray tables are a multi-purpose option. Photo: Paula Deen Colection, Universal Furniture

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Pull-out tray tables are a multi-purpose option. Photo: Paula Deen Colection, Universal Furniture


Quality Checklist

  • Look for as much solid wood as possible.
  • Check the finish in terms of sheen or darkness.
  • Finish quality will vary by price point.
  • Keep in mind that quality is also in the eye of the beholder.
  • If it’s a piece that needs to be assembled, look for ease of assembly.


Mix, Don’t Match

Accent tables offer the perfect opportunity to add flavor to a room. Don’t worry about matching your existing wood finishes or colors exactly. Instead, pick a table that relates to the style or existing pieces in the room, without blending in too closely.


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  • How to Buy Accent Tables

    Accentuate your decor with the ideal accent tables.

    by Phyllis Rose

    Accent tables are an easy way to bring a little style and fun into a room. An endless array of fresh colors, unique shapes and innovative materials make shopping for them a breeze.


    Mix it Up

    Forget matchy-matchy when choosing an accent table. Today’s decorating style is more eclectic, so pick a table that spices up your room. Look for tables that pick up on other colors or design elements you have, but don’t feel limited by your existing pieces.

    “You can mix-and-match with your furniture a little as long as there are some colors in there that go with something else in your room,” says Brandy Anker of India Handicrafts.. “I don’t think all furniture has to match completely.”

    That might mean drawing a little contrast from the finish texture of a piece that you have or a slight color variation that might still tie into a cherry-themed room, suggests Greg Waylock, president of furniture manufacturer Bailey Street.


    Find Your Finish

    Whatever the color palette of your room, there’s an accent table finish for you—ranging from rich painted colors to natural wood tones. Many finishes are available from espresso to high-gloss painted wood. Dark wood looks, such as  espresso finishes, are popular and will fit in almost anywhere, says Rick Ronza, sales manager for Carolina Accents.

    “We’re also seeing a big surge in painted wood—high-gloss paint,” says Ronza. “On one hand, it’s hard to imagine people hanging onto those for many, many years, but it’s kind of a trend right now. ”High-gloss colors making a statement right now include green, red, black, white and orange."

    “Color is a great way to brighten a room and tie in a theme you have going on in the living room to a theme you have going on in the kitchen or dining room or the bedroom,” says Waylock. “A lot of people will use color to tie all that together.”


    Choose a Material

    From wood to aluminum, the variety of materials in accent tables makes it easy to find one to suit your style.

    Most accent tables today are manufactured in Asia so they’re often made from plantation-grown hardwoods, says Waylock. The hardwood is the basic component and then, depending on the price point and quality, it may be combined with medium density fiberboard (MDF) and a veneer overlay.

    “As you see a lot of companies using wood veneers and very expensive wood veneers, a lot of times they’ll adhere that to MDF because MDF is a composite material that does not warp," says Waylock.  

    Rubber wood is also popular for tables because it’s a "green" product, says Ronza.

    There are bright silvery aluminum tables, too, like those from India Handicrafts, which specializes in aluminum products.


    The Perfect Pick

    While adding visual interest, accent tables can also serve a purpose. They are the perfect complement to a side chair. There are small tables just large enough to hold a drink, a book or catch keys and mail. Nesting tables can be pulled apart and used separately and then put back together to save space. 

    Pull-out tray tables and game tables are also increasingly popular, says Waylock. The tray table has two trays folded up underneath that are easily pulled out for temporary use. A game table’s flip-top center allows people to play checkers or backgammon. “They can cover it up so no one knows it’s a game table,” says Waylock. “It’s just a spare table to have in the den.”


    Price Points

    Whatever your budget, there’s a table for you. Inexpensive accent tables are available for $99 or less; upper-end pieces can be priced at $1,000 and above. The most popular price point is between $200 and $300. When shopping for an accent table, take a photo and measurements of the space it will fill, so you can visualize it in the store.

    "Because of the economy, accent tables have become a big trend," says Ronza. "Maybe they can't afford to completely redecorate, but they can add these pieces and change the entire look of their room without paying a fortune."