This Small Space-Friendly Side Table Will Make Your Sofa Work Smarter

published Apr 13, 2023
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Overview of light filled studio apartment.

When mapping out a design strategy for your home, it’s important to study your floor plan to create a space that works best for you and your lifestyle. Living in a studio apartment can make this task tricky; if you’re not careful, you could end up with one fairly small room full of big, bulky furniture that feels both cluttered and impractical. That’s why planning out every inch of space — and buying smart, small space-friendly furnishings — can pay off in spades. Finding ways to make your essential furniture pieces work harder for you can be a game-changer, too. Just ask Lisa Denmark, a clever New York-based renter, who was able to steal back a little square footage in her studio by using her sofa as a side table with one purchase. 

Denmark lives in a 350-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn, New York, that’s small but warm and super-cozy; she just needed to put some extra thought into optimizing the space and making it feel like her. “I originally thought I’d move here but continue looking for a ‘better’ (aka bigger) place,” Denmark says. “But I’ve had to get creative with decorating and furniture and ended up putting so much love into my apartment I couldn’t imagine leaving it anytime soon.” 

Throughout Denmark’s home, you’ll see the clean lines and pared-back palette of Scandinavian-inspired design mingling with soft textures that add a layer of comfort to the equation. Most of her major furnishings, like her bed, desk, and storage cabinets, hug the perimeter of the room, which has allowed her to carve out space to partially float a loveseat in a living room-like setup. One thing she didn’t really have space for? Traditional side tables.That didn’t stop her from adding a place to perch a laptop or a drink, though, thanks to an ingenious, clear acrylic c-shaped table that she essentially cuffed onto the arm of her loveseat like a bracelet. 

At first glance, you might miss the clear, ledge-like surface hanging over the arm of her sofa — and that’s kind of the point. Visually, the piece recedes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not putting in the work when and where Denmark needs it to. In fact, the c-shape of this table allows for its base to slide completely underneath the sofa, meaning it takes up virtually zero floor space — but the tabletop itself is very much there. Hooked over the sofa’s arm, this surface serves as a stable perch or worktop; you don’t have to worry about the unevenness of the upholstery beneath it causing any spills (if you’ve ever tried to put a drink on a cushy sofa arm to no avail, I see you!). Right now, a stack of books sits in this spot, but it could easily be used to hold a cup of coffee, a snack, or a small laptop or tablet.

When starting from scratch while decorating your home, it can be tempting to buy things you think you need, like typical side tables, but Denmark strongly urges against this practice. “I have made so many bad (and expensive) decisions because I just wanted to fill the space with certain furniture or decorative pieces,” she says in her house tour. “It took me a while to really understand that I shouldn’t jump and buy something unless it’s something I really want and need. It will save you so much money if you shop for your personal home vs. what’s trendy,” Denmark says. By getting creative with what’s traditionally on a living room shopping list, she turned what could have become a cluttered spot into a super-useful, airy setup. The true hero in this cozy corner has to be the clear acrylic table, though, if you ask me; it turned a perfectly fine sofa into an even more functional piece of furniture.