Occasional tables, those little pieces that serve practical purposes in your rooms, can be one of the hardest things to find. When choosing a table you need to ensure that it meets both your practical and design requirements.
Before taking the plunge consider what the table will be used for and where it will sit in your scheme.
If you need a lamp table consider whether the base will hide electrical cables; if not, it can look extremely messy. However, a neat trick is to secure excess cable under the table with electrical tape. Run the remaining length to the plug down the outside of a leg situated against the wall, securing this in place at the top and bottom of the leg with an adhesive tape or poster tac that will not damage the finish of the leg if removed.
Consider the proportion of your table in relation to the lamp base, shade and surrounding furniture. Ensure that the table top does not swamp the lamp, but has a degree of visible free space to allow both pieces to work in harmony.
If it is holding a lamp, but also acting as a side table, the top must have enough additional space around the lamp base to fit the inevitable mug of coffee.When using a side table in conjunction with an armchair or sofa, it must be high enough for you to comfortably put down a cup without having to rise out of your seat. This will guarantee ultimate relaxation and no niggles! Sit on your sofa, height when making your decision.
To help you start your search, here is a small selection of my favourites.
The Lyon range from Willis & Gambier stockists reflects French rustic design, but updates it with clean modern lines in solid white oak and oak veneers (£419; http://www.wguk.com/).
Bring a little of the outdoors inside with the quirky Twig Table by Julian Chichester which features a Cerused Oak table top and organic free form Golden Bronze legs (£1,017; www.julianchicester.com – 020 7622 2928).
A more chunky wooden finish is evident in the exotic Ebony Side Table, which is part of the Puji Designer range (£645; www.puji.com – 020 8886 3000).
If you are looking for something different, how about the Acrylic Side/Lamp Table from Purves which is designed to resemble a floating cloth? Each table is original as they are all handmade in Denmark (£229; www.purves.co.uk - 020 8893 4000).
Alternatively, why not embrace Napoleonic splendour with the new wooden or brass drum tables from Halo? Great fun and impossible to tell from the real thing! (£369; www.haloliving.co.uk or contact Jamie Hempsall).
Look hard enough and you should find something to suit your needs. However, if you are still stumped, consider asking your local upholsterer to cover an MDF cylinder in a fire retardant fabric, personalise with a row or two of decorative studs around the top or base and add a glass top for a truly individual design.
Alternatively, seek out a local craftsman to design and manufacture a piece designed to your exact specifications.
Jamie Hempsall is a BIDA member and one of the region's leading interior designers. He is able to supply any of the above items. If you have any queries on furniture he is happy to hear from you. Contact him on 01777 248463 or visit his website www.jamiehempsall.com