End tables typically feature space for a lamp, room to set a glass or coffee cup and, often, a lower cabinet or shelf for storage. The depth of an end table is generally the same or less than that of its companion chair or sofa, and end tables are typically between 1 and 2 inches lower than the chair or sofa arm. Tables with a minimum width of 22 inches in diameter accommodate a standard-size lamp.
End table styles vary greatly, from sleek tables of glass or acrylic and metal to ornate wood pieces with carving and detailed hardware. Stone, ceramic and glass tops work well for holding beverages. They don't require coasters and clean easily. Tables with wood or fabric tops are ideal for displays and for remotes or books.
End tables that feature storage space provide multiple use options. An end table with a bottom cabinet can hide DVDs and electronics, magazines and children's toys. An end table with a removable lid or large cabinet can hide an afghan, and one with open shelves provides space for books or displaying knickknacks. Some end tables also feature a two-leg design that enables the end table to become a dining or work surface in front of a sofa or chair.