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From Home Furnishing Business

Table Talk

By Sheila Long O’Mara

Family rooms and living rooms would be lost without them. The occasional table helps complete a room by offering a perch for lighting, a favorite book and family photographs.

Those occasional tables — cocktail, end and sofa tables — also often serve as places to dine and hold beverages during casual get-togethers. They are an important part of homes and this year, the category has done well for furniture retailers by posting an increase in overall sales.

Last year, occasional tables accounted for $3.18 billion in sales, a 3 percent increase when compared to occasional tables sales of $3.09 billion in 2013. In 2014, occasional tables accounted for 15.48 percent of the overall industry’s total sales of $87.56 billion.

Looking back further into 2012, occasional table sales reached $3.05 billion. The increase from 2012 sales to 2013 sales in the category was 1.1 percent.

Home Furnishings Business’ most recent consumer survey showed revealed end tables as the big seller within the occasional table category this year. Slightly more than half (50.8 percent) of the consumers participating in the survey bought end tables within the last 18 months. That number is up from the 32.1 percent who purchased end tables in last year. In our 2014 survey, cocktail tables were the big purchase with 39.3 percent saying they bought that piece.

Sofa and console tables held relatively steady at 18 percent between surveys, and the purchase of nesting tables fell from 10.7 percent to 6.6 percent.

Traditional styling took the lead with consumers this year with 38.3 percent saying their purchase fell into the traditional family. Last year’s survey revealed that traditional styling garnered 27.5 percent of the dollars spent. Contemporary styling slipped a bit between surveys. This year, more streamlined, contemporary designs were purchased by 42.5 percent of those surveyed compared to 27.7 percent this year.

Country designs were in third place among styles that consumers bought this year with 14.9 percent opting for a more rustic feel for their homes.

Today’s tables on the market offer a variety of options including lift tops that can function as computer or tablet desks, as well as making for easy dinners in front of the television. Storage and seating are other available options.

Surveyed consumers crave the function, and the desire for tables that solve storage or other needs will continue to grow. According to the survey, function continues to trump styling in how consumers shop the category.

This year’s survey showed 68.1 percent of respondents put function first. Last year, function first garnered 57.5 percent of the responses ahead of styling.

When it comes to pricing, this year’s consumers were willing to pay a bit more for their table purchases. Thirty-four percent said they would pay between $250 and $499 for a grouping of occasional tables.

That’s up from last year’s survey that showed only 30 percent fell into that price bracket. Last year, 42.5 percent said they would be willing to pay $250 or less for a table group.

Bump up the pricing to between $500 and $999, and 31.9 percent remain willing to pay. Only 4.3 percent think an occasional table grouping should cost $1,000 or more.



$3.18 billion

2014 total sales of occasional tables


Increase in occasional sales from 2013 to 2014


Percentage of 2014 industry sales for occasional tables


Want More?

A more in-depth report on occasional tables is available for purchase by calling Natalia Hurd at (404) 390-1535 or via e-mail at

What Suppliers Say

Legacy Classic’s 3100-466 Console

This multi-use console from Legacy Classic transitions easily for use in a variety of ways—an entry console, a sofa table or even in a dining room as a serving console. The piece features a drawer for storage, a bottom shelf and a touch lighting feature. Suggested retail is $1,499.

Ashley Furniture’s Norcastle

Traditional styling and a dark rich finish, give Ashley’s Norcastle a sophisticated look and feel. A cast filigree design is displayed under beveled glass. Suggested retail is $349.

Universal Furniture’s Put Your Feet Up Table from Paula Deen Home

Casual and comfortable, the Paula Deen Home Put Your Feet Up by Universal is warm and inviting. It offers great functionality with its versatile lift-top.

Suggested retail is $599.

The Egerton Cocktail from A.R.T. Furniture

A.R.T. Furniture’s Egerton cocktail offers a unique sliding top that provides additional storage, as well as a leaf extension for versatility in scale and function.

Suggested retail is $729.

Hollywood Swank table from Aico

Part of the Michael Amini and Jane Seymour Design collaboration from Aico the table features a scalloped-edge, polished stone top sitting atop a metallic painted finish apron and legs. Both the cocktail and end tables have smoked inlay glass tops. Cocktail retails between $999 and $1,199.

What Retailers Say

Harvey Ellis Storage Cocktail from Stickley’s

“I think it is so popular because it has storage capability and is a good medium scale so it works well with sectionals or sofas in television viewing areas.” Retail is $3,882.

Kelly Von Hemert

von Hemert Interiors

Costa Mesa, Calif.

Flexsteel’s Chateau Chair-side Table

“The size and color of this table” is perfect. The casual feel of the table works in a number of environments, and the two-tone finish adds a nice contrast. Retail is $249.95.

Dianne Ray

Garden City Furniture

Garden City Beach, S.C.

Ashley's T719 Cross Island Lift Top Cocktail Table Group

"It has a great oak finish with a blend of Mission and vintage casual styling … We show it on our floor three times—once each with motion, leather and with stationary (upholstery)."

Randy Coconis

Coconis Furniture

South Zanesville, Ohio


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