Occasional tables are perfect for adding a little bit of stylish function to any room. We all know the standard uses in the living room with coffee tables and end tables, but where else around your home could you use an occasional table?

We have looked at five slightly less conventional places to add function and storage to your home with the use of a beautiful and classic table.

Use a cocktail table as a coffee bar or home bar.

A cocktail table can live up to it’s name when used as a coffee bar or small home liquour bar in a room meant for entertaining. Use the top of the table for things like coffee machine, mugs, wine glasses, etc. Fill the storage below with various syrups, coffees, teas, liquour and wine bottles. Be sure to keep this table looking clean and organized, since it will be on display for your guests to see.

Use a console style table as a small home office.

Whether it’s bills, school papers, a personal business or work from your office, almost everyone has a need for some type of office space. Using a console table can create a space saving and convenient home office in nearly any room in the house. One popular choice for this is to set up an area in the kitchen. However, with the console table taking up very little space, you can create this mini office in your living room or bedroom.

Using smaller tables to configure a larger surface.

Using a few smaller bunching tables to create one larger surface can be a great way to give a unique feel to your living space. It gives you a lot of flexibility with how you organize your space and allows you to change up the layout as often as needed. For instance, with little ones at home, this option makes it much easier to simply pick up your tables and move them, creating a larger and safe play area.

Console table as a bedroom vanity area.

It any women’s bedroom, it’s great to have a space to call your own and get ready. However, you don’t necessarily want to have that space take up a large portion of the room. Using a small console table is a beautiful way to create a vanity area right in your room, giving you a space that is feminine and functional. Add a dainty stool and you’re all set.

Console table between couch and window or wall.

Adding a narrow console table in behind your couch is not really a new concept. Many people do this as a way of dressing up the back of a couch that is sitting in the middle of the room. Adding a console table in behind a couch that is against a wall or a window is new and is a quickly growing trend. This unique position for a table stops the couch from looking so boxed against the wall and provides excellent function for holding candles, a lamp, photo frames or décor.

Use a console table between couch and wall/window to add decor and function.

(photo: 346 Living)

Check out the complete line of occasional tables from Durham Furniture and see if one could fit a unique need in your home.


When dealing with a smaller space in your home, one solution might be to find furniture that can be more than just furniture.

Functional furniture was born out of a need for homeowners to be more creative with the space that they have available to them. There are many great choices when looking at multi-functional items, with many having the ability to be more than one thing in that room. The key to this style of furniture is to find pieces that still look great in your home and don’t specifically show that they are performing more than one task.

In the case of bedroom furniture, the multi-functional aspect is typically created to provide additional storage. While many pieces of bedroom furniture are created for storage in the first place (dressers, nightstands, wardrobes, etc), there are still great opportunities to create more space within a smaller room.

The primary target for additional storage in a bedroom set often begins and ends with the largest piece of furniture; the bed. Obviously the main function of a bed is to provide you somewhere to lay your head at night. However, in smaller homes such as condos, apartments and townhomes, you may be looking to have that bed provide more than just a spot to sleep on. Many functional bedroom furniture sets include various options for under-bed storage. This storage can serve as a place to keep extra clothes, books, etc.

At Durham Furniture, we have created a line specifically for use in smaller spaces. PerfectBalance features bedroom sets that are designed with both space and style in mind. Nearly all of the collections in that line offer options for under-bed storage. You can choose from self-closing drawers or a unique storage lift bed.

If you are looking for additional space in your bedroom, without sacrificing style, than functional furniture is likely where you will find what you need.

Fine extra space in your bedroom with functional furniture!

One of the biggest challenges that you face when, purchasing a new home or new furniture, is how to make it all work. If you happen to be into Feng Shui, then you have some pretty clearly outlined rules. However, if that is not your thing, then you are left to your own discretion for how to coordinate each room.

Setting up the solid wood furniture in your bedroom can be particularly tricky because it is likely to have some of the larger pieces, such as your bed, a big dresser, etc. Each room can be a unique case depending on variable placement of doors, closets, windows, etc. That being said, there are some basics to bedroom set up that you can use as a starting point to build around.

Choosing a location for your bed.
This is often step one when looking to set up your bedroom. The bed will obviously be the largest piece of furniture in the room and should play a central room in positioning all other components to your bedroom set.

When the space allows for it, the general rule for a double, queen or king bed, is to place in center along the wall opposite of the main door to the room.

Avoid placing your bed under a window, as the early morning light and drafts can be disruptive to your sleep.

Selecting nightstands.
Choose bedside tables that match your bedframe for a more unified and uncluttered look. You also want to make sure that you select nightstands that fit comfortably with the room you have.

Keep in mind the functionality you want to have when looking at bedside tables. Will you use it for storage and require drawers? Is the top large enough for a lamp, books, remote, etc? Many bedroom sets come with some variables when selecting matching nightstands, so choose ones that will suit your needs.

Choosing and placing dressers.
The key to keeping a great look in any bedroom is to eliminate the clutter. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that you select a dresser or dressers that will meet your storage needs. Many bedroom sets come with select styles and sizes of dressers that you can coordinate with.

When space permits, place your longest dresser along the wall that runs beside your bed. If a closet, door or window prevents this, than you can look at the wall opposite your bed, as long as your room is deep enough. Always be sure to allow a comfortable pathway between each piece of furniture. When setting this path, stand in front of the dresser and open several drawers all the way. This will give you the true width needed to access your storage comfortably.

With no two rooms the same, it can be difficult to know which of these rules will work best for you. A good starting point is to try to draw your room and place furniture with as close to a proper size ratio as possible. We have provided a few example layouts to help you drum up ideas.

Great ideas for how to set up your bedroom furniture based on your room style.

A few ideas on how to set up bedroom furniture if various room styles.

When it comes to furniture, there are many different designs to choose from. Often times, these designs can be categorized into two specific styles; contemporary or traditional.

Contemporary Furniture

Contemporary furniture is designed to follow key current trends in more modern décor.  This style tends to appeal to people who like to stay up to date with the latest fashions and want a fresher look in their home.

Contemporary furniture typically features cleaner lines and bolder geometric shapes. This style focuses more on simplicity and function over embellishments and extras.  There is less detail on the furniture and it is often manufactured to be slightly smaller than traditional pieces. This allows it to blend nicely into a room, without overpowering the entire space.

Contemporary furniture works well with bolder patterns, brighter colours and more trendy pieces of home décor.

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One of our more popular contemporary styles, the Soma Collection has clean lines and modern hardware.

Traditional Furniture

Traditional furniture follows a much more timeless and class design, giving it a look that never goes out of style. This style of furniture appeals to people who prefer a more regal and elegant look in their home. Traditional pieces are often manufactured larger in size, giving them the ability to make a grand statement in a room.

The darker woods and attention to smaller details is what sets traditional furniture style apart. With this style, you will find more caved embellishments, giving the pieces more character that resembles previous centuries.

Traditional furniture can be beautifully framed with the use of neutral fabrics, metallic hues and classic decorative items.

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The Cupola Series features beautifully detailed carvings, making it a perfect traditional furniture set.

Which furniture style is right for you?

While many people might have an idea of the style of furniture they prefer, some have a harder time deciding what might work best in their home. Both styles offer a unique and distinct look that can make it challenging to choose.

Understanding the overall look of you home and the vibe that you are trying to create will go along way in defining your choice of style. If you are looking for classy and timeless, then traditional furniture might suit you best. If you want your home to have a modern look that is on-trend, than you may want to focus more on contemporary furniture pieces.

At Durham Furniture, we offer a number of solid wood bedroom sets in both contemporary and traditional style. Come compare and choose a furniture set that suits your home best.


While there are many different home décor trends that have been present so far in 2013, they almost all fall within one consistent general category; classic. Naturally, there may be some exceptions to this, however even a lot of the images being shared on sites like Pinterest, harken back to previous eras. There is definitely a growing love for creams, soft pastels, antique pieces and retro inspired accessories.

To quote interior designer, Miles Redd, “life in the 21st century means taking the best of history and making it work for you.”

Here is a closer look at some of the key 2013 trends in home décor.

Spa like, neutral colour pallet
Many people have designed their most used spaces, such as bedrooms and dining rooms, using a soft and very light pallet of colours. Using off-white paint and wall papers, cream coloured linens and beige accessories, you can easily create an oasis that resembles your favourite spa retreat.

There are a few variations on this trend that can add a bit of personality to an otherwise neutral room. You can add pops of colour using accessories around the room. Popular choices this year have been yellow, deep violet, emerald green and aqua blue. This can be added with pillows, vases, flowers and other décor items.

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Our Southhampton collection, beautifully accented with hints of metallic aqua blue.

Elegant design elements
This year has seen a continued rise in classic, element design pieces used throughout a room. These can be seen in wallpapers and fabrics (pillows, curtains, etc.) that boast a classic floral or regal style print with hints of gold and cream. Previously spotted in your grandmother’s home, these prints can take on a very modern-classic blend when paired with the right décor.

“Enough with the plain. I think people want pretty, and I predict a surge in demand for classic fabrics.” —Interior Designer, Leta Austin Foster

Classic & timeless accessories
Fitting in with the classic look is the use of vintage, or made to look vintage accessories. Many interior designers have reported the increase in the use of brass and gold in the form of items such as lamps, bowls, vases, ceiling fixtures, etc. These décor items add an element of old Hollywood glam and blend nicely into the overall classic theme.

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Our Lorraine collection, decorated with antique frames and brass lamps.

Antique furniture
As makers of classic solid wood furniture, this trend is a little closer to our hearts. Where as the previous trend was to fill your home with modern furniture, homeowners are now moving towards pieces that look as though they have been passed down through generations. Furniture stay trends are showing more antique finds and solid wood pieces that have a more tradition feel to them.

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When looking at furniture for their home, many people arrive at one key decision: whether or not to purchase solid wood furniture. With many lower-end, veneer, metal or plastic options available, many customers are left evaluating if the extra cost of solid wood is worth it.

Solid Wood Furniture

Few can deny the fact that solid wood furniture looks beautiful. It can bring a feel of classic and quality décor to your home. However, it is also a more costly initial investment.

Well-built, solid wood furniture is incredibly durable and designed to last for generations. It can withstand the wear and tear that comes from daily use and often requires minimal maintenance. However, with durability comes weight. For those who may move often, solid wood furniture can be far more difficult to maneuver.

Throughout the generations, if a solid wood piece does start to show its’ age, it can be beautifully restored. Due to the durability, solid wood can be refinished. The same can’t often be said for other furniture choices.

There is also a major benefit in the sustainability factor of buying furniture from a company who uses ethical sources for their building materials. While plastics and veneers can be heavily processed and filled with chemicals, solid wood can be sourced from replenishing North American forests and manufactured in a way that is much more natural. This is particularly true when looking at a line of furniture that is manufactured in Canada or the US.

Veneer Furniture

An alternative to solid wood furniture is veneer furniture. Veneer furniture often a much lower investment to purchase. It is more readily available in the budgets of many people, specifically first time homeowners.

Due to the fact that it is manufactured instead of harvested, veneers can be designed to give the appearance of a wider variety of wood finishes. You can often find pieces that have been made to look like a more exotic species of wood that may not be available in many solid wood collections. Veneer also can provide a more uniform finish and be easier to match to when adding pieces to a previously decorated room.

That being said, the problem lies with what is underneath the veneer. Many manufactures use a combination of MDF, particleboard and other materials as the core of their furniture. These materials are mixed with chemicals and glues to be formed and provide strength. While this core makes them lighter and easier to manage, it also makes them more susceptible to damage that often cannot be repaired.


If price is the main factor for a consumer, then choosing veneer may be the short-term solution. However, as time goes on, solid wood furniture proves to offer more durability and a longer life. With lasting beauty that can be shared within your family, solid wood can prove to be much more economical in the long run.

While lower-end choices may have a smaller price tag, the problem remains that much like many other products, cheaper options can result in some sacrificed quality. What you save in the short term may end up costing you more in the future when pieces need to be replaced.

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Durham Furniture has been making solid wood furniture of the highest quality and enduring value since 1899, getting our start as a community initiative to provide employment for the Town of Durham’s young people.  A group of businesspeople raised more than $10,000 in capital from local citizens and secured an interest-free loan and other concessions from the town council. The Town purchased a six-acre site on Lambton Street for $500, which remains the present site of Durham Furniture today.

We are incredibly proud of our long and noteworthy history, including a specific famous piece of solid Canadian maple furniture, originally commissioned for a young Queen Elizabeth and still used at Buckingham Palace today.

All of our furniture is made from sustainably harvested solid wood at our plant in the Town of Durham, Ontario, Canada. Durham Furniture employs about 200 craftspeople who work in our century-old red-brick factory.

Our products include traditional, transitional, contemporary and cottage styles, and are sold by fine furniture dealers across North America. Durham Furniture is featured in exclusive luxury hotels and in countless beautiful homes across Canada and the United States where it is passed down from one generation to the next.

Our proud legacy of quality, integrity and dependability places us among North America’s premier manufacturers of fine furniture.

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The original Durham Furniture factory. Still fully operational.

While timeless style and classic tradition will always remain present in our manufacturing, we realize that the ways that we can communicate with our customers are always changing and evolving. Through the use of social media, we can connect with people. We can have a conversation with our customers, and help answer any questions that they might have in an even more timely fashion.

We also realize that we have a lot of valuable insight from our position with in the furniture industry that we can share with our customers. The Durham furniture blog will cover everything from furniture selection, maintenance, staging, interior design, and so much more. We invite you, our readers, to post comments and engage us in discussions. If there is a specific furniture question you have, please feel free to let us know and we can look into covering the topic here on our corporate blog.

This is an exciting time for Durham Furniture. We know we will embrace digital media with as much integrity as we do with our brand and manufacturing. We look forward to getting to know you and to have you get to know us.

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