Following a year of adapting to a fully remote lifestyle, most of us are lucky if our living room layouts weren’t constantly flip-flopping in response to the many interior design trends sweeping our Instagram feeds. There were those of us who ate our meals in front of the same arrangement of candles and books, displayed on coffee tables that doubled as our desks on a good day; swapping one small decor item for another was likely (definitely) the most eventful part of our week. Rearranging our living spaces became an activity no longer relegated to major moves, but the majority of us probably aren’t looking to revamp couches on a monthly basis. Finding a smaller piece that offers a dose of colorful, quirky design (one that oh so subtly distracts us from yet another workweek) is an art form all its own. And there’s one item stealing that spotlight: the side table.
We’re seeing a huge uptick in tables with full-fledged personalities: Design retailers Article and 1stdibs reported increases of 64% and 20% in side table sales this year respectively. Our new obsession with childlike pieces with personality is a reminder that we have not completely graduated from a year of finding friendship in our household items. From the foamy Monsters, Inc. aesthetic of Nicholas Devlin to side tables best described as farmers market chic, we’ve rounded up seven of the funkiest side tables adorning our homes.
We were first introduced to Nicholas Devlin’s work through regrams of his Claybot 5000. This particular piece was inspired by a friend’s favorite childhood TV show and melting ice cream, and he carries this festive, juvenile energy across all of his work (like his slime-like mirrors). His latest side table invention combines form and function, with the tip of the table serving as a lamp. “I wanted the lamp to hover, like the cartoon lightbulb above a character’s head [signaling] they’ve had an idea,” Nicholas explains of his latest concept. “We have an impulse to project human characteristics onto objects, and I definitely have fun with that.” Built from paper pulp, Nicholas’s lightweight pieces are meant to be moved about your apartment to grab guests’ attention.
Sophie Collé is the cat-loving, cow-print-clad carpenter we want designing the most adventurous of side tables. Sophie describes her work as “Barbie furniture;” her tables have names like Miss Strawberry Milk and Miss 1984. “I think that a lot of adults forget to have fun,” she says, trying to articulate where she thinks this desire for whimsical pieces comes from. “When I shifted my style to reflect my true design interests, the joy poured out of the pieces without me even trying.”
Dave’s Clubhouse provides a full cast of characters, with side tables whose faces range from flowers with bees to strawberries, and a duck pond. Playful artistry is commonplace in Dave McPeters’s household. Life partners with artist Lorien Stern, he has translated what started as a small business selling drawings and tees in 2014 into a brand offering lamps, side tables, and other accents that add a burst of youthful energy to any living space. Dave’s Clubhouse delightfully brings us back to the days when we holed up in our playrooms with zigzag scissors and construction paper.
Yolk cofounders Pernille Iben and Morten Linde run a family-first business, with two of their three children working for the studio. And their work as a family translates almost directly into their side table collaborations. They’ve described their Lolo tables as a “family of objects” and arrange their Who Am I pieces to physically resemble three wonky personas. “Yes, they are human-like,” the couple says of their decor. “It feels like you kind of know them and can relate to them, and therefore care for them.” The duo’s background in psychotherapy lends itself to objects infused with emotion. Each handcrafted item would have had a fair shot in the casting call for Rolie Polie Olie.
Based out of Melbourne, Australia, Mike Sullivan started “giving it a go” with his furniture when the pandemic hit last year. He has since grown from making squiggly timber plant stakes in his shed to his Crazy Legs side table. Crazy Legs is made for those of us who appreciate the work behind smoothly cut wood, while wanting to have a little bit of fun. “These shapes and colors are a play on nostalgia and an homage to our childlike imaginations and memories,” Mike says. “I love seeing all the energy that radiates from [my] creations.”
Rooted in escapism, the Antoine cocktail table by Brite Bodies pays homage to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s celebrated French tale The Little Prince with a surface that riffs off a Fender guitar silhouette. “There’s a playful irreverence to our approach,” says Brite Bodies cofounder Krista Sharif. “This table really captured that quirky direction.” Both Krista and cofounder Kate Hayes are moms who have taken design notes from their children, and their collection certainly brings an elevated silliness to any setting.
Known for his signature mirrors, Swedish designer Gustaf Westman has graciously extended his work to the Curvy table. Gustaf’s work is defined by playful squiggle accents, but what gets us going the most is the matte finish in yellows, pinks, and cobalt blues. A marriage between Alice in Wonderland and our middle school doodles, Gustaf’s side tables are an elegantly bold living room staple.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest