Giving your living room a facelift without redoing the whole decor or spending a fortune – it’s a bit of a conundrum. It might come as a surprise, then, that all it takes to transform a space is one new table, while a surface you didn’t know you had can easily bring life back to a tired scheme.

And, when it comes to getting the most out of your surfaces, you don’t have to be an expert curator or artistic visionary. You just have to be aware of your space, your tastes and your needs – and we’ll do the rest, both in our app and in the handy tips we’ve got for you here:

How to use… THE TABLE

The first surfaces to spring to mind for their popularity throughout the home – the coffee tables, side tables and console tables of our times are changing. Evolving in both style – mid-century pieces with gently tapered timber legs have firmly ousted the sharp-edged glass table – and function, there’s so much more you can do with a table than the typical coaster-and-mug scenario. It’s time to get creative.

The coffee table

  •      Tables with shelves

When your bookshelf turns into a plant sanctuary (we don’t blame you – witness our plant obsession here), your coffee table makes the perfect hardback book guardian– especially if there’s shelving under the tabletop. Protect your literature in style by dotting small succulents around the shelf perimeter for an eye-catching botanical fortress below your coffee cup.

  •      Sturdy, solid tables

Kiss goodbye to seating shortages if you’ve been wise enough to invest in a sturdy coffee table (think thick legs or a floor-length body). With the right cushions and guests of a reasonable weight atop it, you can move your table to the edge of the room and transform it into a bench.

  •      Deep tables

The saviour of the small space, a coffee table with depth means you can use it for its primary function – coffee (and tea and chocolatey snacks) – and convert it into a TV stand by positioning it against the wall, depth protruding. Perfect when you can’t have both but want an easy solution.

  •      Unique styles

The coffee table is the heart of all things sociable – a place to showcase your personality. So be it a geometric brass table proving your penchant for Prohibition-era styles, or a pared-back surface for travel souvenirs or vintage heirlooms, this living room centrepiece is the best way to set the tone and express yourself. Make use of wooden trays to group ornaments together neatly.

 

 

View our blog on how to choose, arrange and accessorise your coffee table.


The side table

  •   Nesting tables

Nesting tables are deceptively good at creating surface space you didn’t know you had for those unexpected guests – or when you’ve overdone the hors d’oeuvres. Usually coming in twos or threes, you can tuck them under each other to save on space, while relying on more than one surface when the need strikes. Try opening them out with a plant on each, in order of size.

    

  • Mirrored side tables

Mirrored side tables bring light, airiness and the illusion of added space – great for small rooms. Plus, they’re really easy to wipe clean if you get over-excited with your wine.

  • Characterful side tables

Side tables with a strong bias towards a particular aesthetic or colour introduce another dimension or theme to your space, or add to your palette. So their purpose can be decorative – not just functional. If using them as end tables next to a sofa, just remember to choose a table a similar height to the sofa arms for a harmonious flow.


How to use… STORAGE

If you’re blessed with enough trinkets to require some serious storage, chances are you’ve got some boxes, chests and trunks somewhere. Consider using the exterior of your storage staples as well as their handy capacity inside to create a beautiful surface for lounges and living rooms.

  •      Chests and trunks

A storage solution to rival all others, the trusty trunk keeps your wares safe inside and, at the same time, makes for a great surface – and even a coffee table. Often patterned or worn for an arty and bohemian look, the storage chest is a resting place for books and throws, an extra seating area or simply an accessory. We like them with soft textiles and a flowering plant on top, using texture and colour to balance out a heavy, chunky look.

  •   Ottomans

Ottomans are the Holy Grail of the practical home – the ultimate in stow-away storage, particularly for clearing away clutter or housing new bedding sets. They’re essentially upholstered storage boxes with hinged lids which, when closed, provide both a bench for extra perching possibilities and a surface to stack non-fragile bits. Aesthetic: traditional American


How to use… THE EXTRAS

Once considered ‘nice-to-haves’ for extra dinner party points, but now essentials for the home that loves to host, the bar trolley and the wine rack are your best friends when it comes to adding special surfaces into the mix.

  • Bar trolleys

The drinks trolley is back with some serious gusto. Finding fame and fortune in the Art Deco era, they are the ideal surface no matter what the room. Why? Because they can be moved across the home, depending on your need. When in use, they’re your best bet for bottles and glasses (of course) – while when the party’s over, place vases, incense-holders and other trinkets down. They’re often petite enough to tuck away in a corner.

  • Wine racks

Wine time finds itself on our agenda to such an extent that furniture brands are now rolling out wine racks which double up as side tables. Often topped in marble as an opulent surface for glasses, open bottles, cocktail shakers and more, these bottle-holders add luxury, as well as practicality, to your next glass of red.