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What Are Sofa Tables?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2014
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A sofa table is a multifunctional table often found in fashionable living rooms or parlors. Designed to rest against the back of a sofa, these tables are tall and often quite narrow, allowing for excellent space-saving designs. A coordinating sofa table can be found to match nearly any design style, while the storage and usage possibilities of the table can add to the relaxation and simplification of any room.

Sofa tables are meant to serve as a table behind a high sofa, thus the table top is usually set even with the sofa back. Although sizes vary, most sofa tables are between 40-50 inches (102-127 cm) high. In order to be more convenient for the sofa sitter, tables are often quite narrow, so that a person sitting on the sofa can reach the entire surface.

Drawers are an important component in many versions of the sofa table. Some feature pull-out drawers that extend from underneath the table surface, while others feature additional small drawers that stack above the table top. These functional drawers are excellent for the storage of small items and can greatly reduce clutter throughout the room. Along with its narrow width, convenient drawers help make the sofa table an excellent piece of furniture for those concerned with saving space.

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Although the history of sofa tables is somewhat lost, they have been in use since at least the 17th century. Antique lovers may enjoy hunting down hand-crafted tables from the great designers of the 18th and 19th century, when sofa tables became a staple of fashionable homes throughout Europe and the United States. Originally, sofa tables often doubled as writing desks, as their many drawers allowed for the storage of pens, ink and papers. While antique sofa tables will be made almost exclusively of wood, modern versions often use contemporary design material such as metal, glass, or less expensive synthetic woods.

Modern sofa tables often serve as resting places for snacks, drinks, and items convenient for sofa users such as television remotes, sewing or knitting supplies, and magazines. The height of the table makes it convenient for mixing drinks, and many people choose to double the functionality of the table by using it as a bar as well as a sofa table. By adding a small cabinet underneath the table to hold bottles, drinks can easily be poured and served from the convenient central location of the table.

Because of its basic design principles, the sofa table adapts well to almost every style of interior decor. Traditional versions are still made of wood, but can be customized to fit popular home design styles from tropical to California Arts and Crafts. Newer styles often fit well with industrial or modern design by featuring utilitarian design and glass tops. The versatility of design, as well as the multi-functionality of the sofa table, make it a popular and enduring furnishing throughout much of the world.

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