skip to main content
Continue shopping
< Continue shopping

Buyer's Guide to Occasional Tables


Today is International Coffee Day, a day that celebrates one of the nation's favourite beverages. But what is a cup of coffee without a surface to place it on? That's where occasional tables come in.

What are occasional tables?

Occasional tables are small tables that perform a practical and/or decorative function within your home. They can be used in any room of the house and come in different sizes and styles to suit your space.

Different types of occasional table

There are many occasional surfaces available, all of which perform different functions around your home.


Coffee tables

The largest of the occasional tables, a coffee table serves as the centrepiece of your living room or sitting room. It can be used to store books, magazines, electronic tablets and other entertainment, but its primary purpose is for resting drinks. As such, it should be easily accessible to everyone in the room regardless of where they are sitting. Your sofas should be about 30-45cm away from your coffee table: your guests will have plenty of leg room, and their drinks will be within reach.

A coffee table is especially well-suited to a sitting room, as the sofas can be oriented around the coffee table to encourage conversation. They also work well in large living rooms. If your living room is small, narrow or awkwardly shaped, however, you might want to opt for lamp tables or nested tables instead to make better use of the space available.

End tables

Also called lamp tables or side tables, end tables are small surfaces that are typically placed beside a sofa. They are often used to keep useful items like phones, tablets and glasses close at hand, and are a convenient place to put drinks. Finally, they can be used for table lighting, perfect for reading by or simply relaxing before bed.


Console tables

Console tables are tall, long tables that can be used in hallways, living rooms, landings and dining rooms. Some have drawers or a shelf for added storage. In hallways, they are typically used to store items such as mail and car keys, but more generally they are used for adding lighting or decoration in the form of vases, table lamps, photos and ornaments. As they are narrow, they can be used to punctuate a corridor or alcove without taking up too much room.

Sofa tables

Sofa tables are a form of console table, and sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. However, sofa tables are specifically designed to go behind a sofa, particularly in a living area where the sofa is situated away from the wall. This makes it excellent for lounge diners and other open plan living arrangements, because it works as a room divider, helping to split your room into different areas. Sofa tables can be used for accent lighting or general storage.


Nesting tables

A nest of tables is a collection of two or three small end tables that can be nested together. This means you have two or three extra surfaces which only take up the floorspace of one — a great solution for compact living and smaller living rooms.

Sometimes, the tables slot together rather than fitting directly beneath one another. These types of tables are for style purposes rather than saving space, so they may be larger than the average set of nesting tables and will take up more room. They may also feature finishes in contrasting materials, textures or colours.

Laptop tables

A modern addition to the occasional table category, laptop tables make it more comfortable to work, game or browse the web from your sofa. Designed to be positioned over your lap, they feature a table top just large enough for a laptop computer and typically have a cantilever base so as not to restrict leg room.

As they are a similar size to an end table, they can double up as an extra surface for beverages when required.


Shop our occasional tables

Lee Longlands have occasional tables in a wide range of materials and styles to suit your interior. Explore our selection here, visit one of our showrooms or give us a call on 0333 200 1552.

Back to Blog Articles

Never beaten on price
  Call us: 0333 200 1552
back to top