What is an End Table?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 March 2020
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An end table is a frequently seen piece of furniture in living rooms and family rooms. As the name implies, an end table normally sits at the end of a couch, or it can be placed next to a chair. It can be used as a place to put down drinks, to display magazines or coffee table books, or as a permanent residence for your TV and DVD remotes. The end table can also be dressed up with flower arrangements, candles, lamps, or a tabletop fountain.

Many people prefer the end table to the coffee table because it can be kept out of the way. This may translate to fewer stubbed toes or accidental tripping. An end table may also be great for homes with young children, as they are most apt to hit their heads on low coffee tables or have accidents on or around furniture in their paths. With an end table securely placed next to a couch, such accidents can be reduced.

The end table can vary considerably in price, make, style and materials. Many are made of wood, and wood choice is variable. Obviously more expensive and rarer wood will translate to a more expensive table. Some end tables may be very simple four-legged constructions with merely a wood top and legs. Others may have shelves to hold magazines, or may feature marble or glass tops. An end table might have quite elaborate wood carvings or be a very simple affair.


Creative folks may purchase wooden or particle board cubes, spray paint them to their color of choice, and use these as end tables. Ottomans with rollers and flat tops make an excellent end table substitute. Virtually any small table can be an end table if you wish to call it one.

Budget end tables are available at stores like Target and Kmart. These tend to cost under 50 US dollars (USD), and are likely to be made of the least expensive wood types, or particle board with wood laminate. You may want to set your price a little higher to get an end table that is durable. Many furniture stores also sell end tables in sets, one for each side of a sofa, and this can save a bit in cost. You can also look at unfinished furniture to get better quality at lower prices, though you will have to finish the wood yourself.

When searching for an end table, especially on a budget, don’t overlook garage sales and freebie ads on Internet sites like Craig’s list. End tables show up frequently at very low prices and can be in excellent condition. If you’re not on a budget, there are hundreds of end table styles and varieties, which can suit every taste and furnish every room with aplomb.



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