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Making A Case For Nesting Tables: A Stylish Solution For A Smaller Living Space

I remember when I was growing up my grandparents had a set of nesting tables. I loved them in the way that kids do because the smallest one was just the right size for me. But even though I’ve since grown out of hosting tea parties for teddy bears on teeny tiny tables, they remain among my favorite type of accent tables – both for looks and for functionality. I tend to prefer smaller living spaces, and nesting tables can do the work of three accent tables in the space of one.

Three For The Size Of One

Nesting tables typically come in sets of two or three matching tables designed to slide together so all three fit inside the largest table. Simply put, that means you can have up to three tables in the space of one. You can easily pull out an extra one to use as a TV table, a footrest, or drink tray. Or, like I used to, they can serve as a full set of play furniture for a child that packs away seamlessly when it isn’t in use. This is especially nice for smaller living spaces where you might not want a full set of furniture all the time. If too many tables would make your everyday décor look crowded, opting for a set of nesting tables allows you to have the functionality of more pieces without having to permanently commit the space to them.

Stop The Overflow

Maybe my personal favorite use for nesting tables, though, is in a sitting area. Anywhere in my house that I can sit and read or drink tea invariably tends to overflow a little. My nightstand is piled with books, and my little kitchen nook is overrun with tea paraphernalia. But put a nesting table next to your favorite arm chair and you instantly get double the space or more. If your reading lamp and coffee mug are taking up all of the top table, just pull out the next smallest one and you have an instant, easy spot to put down your book, reading glasses, or whatever. When you’re finished? Just slide the smaller table out of the way. It won’t take up physical space or visual space; when you stow them, nesting tables take up the same amount of space and have the same profile as a single table.

Shop Accent tables by Nuevo Living:

Try Out Tiers

But nesting tables aren’t just for emergency utility. In fact, just pulling each of the three tables slightly out from one another creates a fantastic tiered effect that works well alongside a sofa or in a dedicated reading nook. A set of nesting tables can accommodate not only a traditional lamp or vase, but leave room for remotes or magazines, too. Each level is far enough apart to keep items separate while still forming a continuous, stepped table top. I really love the look of this because it offers a small, simple twist on the traditional accent table. Even very simple wood nesting tables look totally unique when telescoped in this way, and offer more surface area than your average accent table, too.

Shop Accent tables by Uttermost:

Easy Coordination

Of course, the flip side of all this is that nesting tables don’t always have to be nested. You can also use them as three separate, perfectly coordinated tables. The sizes are somewhat different (though less so when the tables are thinner). But because nesting tables are identical by design, placing them throughout a living space is a nice, easy way to get a coordinated style that continues throughout the room. Even placed relatively close together, nesting tables have the perfect variation in height and size that designers recommend for most other décor (like for flower arrangements, décor groupings, or mantel decorations). The staggered levels help draw the eye, creating a unique visual detail even if you don’t bother to put anything on the tables at all, and even if the table itself isn’t particularly elaborate or colorful.

Modern Materials

Finally, while I admit that I’m a bit of a traditionalist (I like my nesting tables made of wood), nesting tables have also been really nicely appropriated by modern designers. The styles are a little simpler, often made from a single piece of plastic or metal bent into a squared U shape. But it’s the materials that shine. With metal, the shine is literal – a sleek stainless steel surface that can add a nice industrial touch. But my favorites? The clear acrylic ones, and I’ll tell you why: when clear plastic is slightly staggered, it creates a cool optical effect you won’t get any other way. The plastic gains a blue green hue the more layers are intersecting, which adds a beautiful depth to a really rather simple piece – which is really what modern design is all about.

Shop Accent tables by Zuo Modern:

But what do you think of these nesting tables? Do you prefer a more modern look, or something more traditional? And would you use them primarily as one table or as a trio? Let me know in the comments below!