What Is a Sofa Table?

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A contemporary and functional sofa table is anything but hidden behind the couch.
Image Credit: Nikki Bidgood/iStock/Getty Images

The sofa table dates back to the late 1700s and is, basically, a long drop-leaf table. The table was often placed in front of the sofa to be used by two people sitting snugly together. It also had a drop leaf at either end and at least one drawer in the center, features that made it a versatile piece for decorative storage. Fast forward to the early 2000s -- the sofa table is now mainly hidden behind the sofa or used as a room divider in homes with open floor plans, but it's still marked by versatility and style.

On the Table

Sofa tables have evolved over the years. Gone are the drop leaves, but most tables still have drawers. All are high enough to display decorative and functional items, such as lamps or flower vases, behind a couch without being obtrusive. The designs of sofa tables vary as much as their use. The tables are sleek with just the top shelf or storage workhorses with a sturdy tabletop and substantial center shelf. Add an antique sofa table to your eclectic living room, or add a sense of continuity by purchasing a table as a set with matching end tables and sometimes a matching coffee table.

Turn the Table

It may be called the sofa table, but your sofa table no longer has to be your sofa's companion piece. Tuck a usable, but mismatched, sofa table behind the sofa as a stand for table lamps. Sofa tables are invaluable resources as room dividers for open living spaces and can create a seamless transition from one space, be it a hallway or dining room, to the living room area. Amplify the sofa table's usefulness by tucking floor poufs or small stools underneath to provide extra seating that's easily accessible when needed, or decorative storage bins for shoes or children's toys.

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Kris Gleba

Lowell, Massachusetts-based writer Kris Gleba has been writing home decor articles since 2008. She enjoys all aspects of small home living, from complete gut remodels to ingenius home decorating that incorporates style and function. She has previously written for the “Athol Daily News.” She holds a degree in professional writing from Fitchburg State University.