Small tables have big impact on decor

Those looking to update their living space for fall without going all-out might want to consider some of today's smart, sophisticated new side tables.

Not that occasional tables are new; Eileen Gray and Charles Eames created elegant, iconic versions in glass, chrome and walnut that are still staples of contemporary dÃcor. But there are many witty, practical and pretty new designs worth checking out.

Liberty Howell is the designer and owner of Glimmerglass Furniture in Bedford Hills, N.Y. She creates exquisite little tables by printing updated versions of traditional textile and wallpaper designs, like those of William Morris, on clear glass, then affixing them to etched aluminum legs. She'll customize a table with a client's own pattern, or even a photograph.

Why work with small tables? "We can combine patterns in unusual ways, yet the smaller dimensions mean the patterns aren't overwhelming," says Ms. Howell. "As accent pieces with lots of visual interest, they add a punch of color and brightness to a room."

Indeed, a punch is what so many of these little tables pack, whether they're cloaked in luscious color or crafted from interesting materials such as acacia wood, wire, even high-density plastic.

Side tables are the most versatile furniture pieces. A pair of them easily replace a larger coffee table. Flank a sofa, or place one fabulous table in the entryway to make a striking first impression. These examples run the gamut from the sublimely simple and inexpensive to all-out glamour-at-a-price. Think of them as functional art.

SOURCEBOOK:

- www.moderndose.com -- Trellis Table $225, Circle Table $499, Clearview Table $345, Opie Table $485

- www.anthropologie.com -- Neema Table $128-$248

- www.tuckerrobbins.com -- ZigZag Table $1,950-$2,700, Beaded Pouf $1,800, Peruvian Ceramic Table $990, Acacia Dice Table $1,950

- www.glimmerglassfurniture.com -- Seaweed Tables $2,900, Papillon Table $1890

- www.westelm.com -- Mirrored Table $249, Angled Table $159

- www.roomservicehome.com -- Juno Table $299

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