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Sofa Table Style | Five Area Designers Create Practical, Pretty Looks

Photography by Michael Patch

Practically speaking, a sofa table makes the area behind your sofa more useful, providing an easy-to-reach place to stash books, storage items and a light source. It can also provide a great opportunity to show your style and display your interests. Here, five area designers share their vision for transforming a table into a stylish and functional vignette.

Kathy Potts of Decorating Den Interiors says, “When we decorate, our goal is to add visual interest and accentuate the furniture and architecture of the space.” Here, she takes inspiration from the table itself, incorporating gold, brown and natural elements to highlight the table’s wood and brass details. A bronze lamp and 3 decorative orbs of different sizes and textures anchor each end of the table. In the center, a glass bowl handmade in Italy is left empty to allow it to shine on its own. A metal tray on the lower level of the table holds a mix of metallic, rope and rattan spheres, tying together the colors and textures on top. Potts notes that a pair of buffet lamps are the perfect starting point for styling a sofa table as they add visual height and symmetry. She also encourages incorporating some negative space. “This keeps the surface from getting too crowded and allows the furniture to shine,” she says.

Jackie Barringer of Portobello Road embraces summer vibes in this sofa table vignette. Summertime, she says, is the time for “laid back living. Everything is lighter, brighter and airy—nothing too serious.” Here she uses a vintage drawer repurposed from a retail thread cabinet to corral a silverplate bowl holding a live fern, as well as shells and a glass orb. A birdhouse on the other end of the table provides a rustic edge, while an iron candelabra adds height and sophistication. A McCoy planter holds another spot of greenery. “Indoor/outdoor living lets you bring in your favorite garden or vacation elements—memories gathered over time,” she says.

Lia Melder of Reid’s Fine Furnishings follows the lines of the table to group accessories into three sections on the surface and the shelf beneath. “I wanted it to look put together without being cluttered or too empty,” she says. She incorporates a wide variety of items because of this table’s length, but says, “It’s perfectly fine to leave a spot empty.” A palette of neutrals, blues and greens celebrates summer, with succulents adding a bit of greenery and texture. Blue vases and hand-glazed planters add shine, while the fish planter contributes a dash of fun for summer. A retro clock is another conversation piece, while books, bookends and decorative boxes lend visual weight and varied textures. She encourages trial and error when styling your own spaces, urging homeowners to take a step back and reassess from a distance. “If it doesn’t look right, rearrange things and check it out again.”

In this vignette, Troy Deacon of High Cotton Fine Home Furnishings and Gifts has embraced a classic, sophisticated look using a mix of elegant materials. Lamps in white and bright-blue handpainted glass anchor the look. “Lamps on either end of a sofa table give it balance and symmetry,” says Deacon. A sterling silver tray holds a cache pot with a live plant for softness and a pop of color. A magnifying glass is an unexpected object while a trio of silver plated birds in various sizes adds interest, with one perched on a small stack of decorative books for height.

Sarah Girten of Sarah Girten Interior Design says she chose items for this table that will work well for all seasons, but also complement any added seasonal touches, like summer ferns and other plants. “We used a mixture of layers and textures to give the sofa table life, but not be too busy,” she says. Decorative boxes and a tray on the table’s lower shelf can be called into service for storage and serving; on the surface, a lamp adds functionality while other decorative items add interest and fun. “We mixed colors and metals to create a whimsical and playful setting, from the turquoise elephant to the adorable dog riding the bike,” she explains. “Who said decor had to be boring?”

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