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Manicuring Tables - What, Where, And How

Tables now run the gamut from the most basic laminate or plastic tables with extendable lamps to custom-made triple-station works of art with vents, armrests, chrome lamps, and padded client cushions.

Your manicure table can be anything you want it to be, thanks to the myriad offerings of manufacturers and furniture makers. Most table makers are more than prepared to customize a table to your specific requirements - some even have architects on staff to provide you with drawings the very day you phone in your specifications.


You may want to furnish yourself with the bare minimum: a table that’s the correct height for you, that has lots of elbow room, and that has enough space for your products and implements. You also need room for proper lighting - you can save space if your lamp attaches to the table. All the companies we spoke to offer a “basic” table. Basic tables range in price from about $60 to $200, may include a lamp or a single drawer, and have limited color choices. Mr. Beauty Equipment Ltd. In Freeport, N.Y., has a one-drawer, basic table in while with black trim with an extendable lamp for $57.99.

Sema Inc. in Carol Stream, Ill., offers a range of affordable non-vented tables. The laminated and sturdy tables range in price from $200 to $400. Salon Deport in Pompano Beach, Fla., makes a one-drawer nail table that’s less than $100.

The less expensive tables do not include ventilation systems. You should buy a vented table unless your salon has adequate ventilation Jim Fago, owner of Interstate Design Industries in Corona, Calif., estimates that even the best table ventilation system only removes 30% of airborne dust and fumes. If your salon’s exhaust and air purification systems are of high quality, you may be able to get away with using a non-vented table.


 As you go up in luxury, you get more locking cabinets, caster wheels, ventilation systems, tissue holders, built-in wastebaskets, special tabletop and armrest materials, multiple technician stations, more drawers, and a variety of table colors, shapes, and designs.

Paula Gilmore, nail technician and educator at Tips Nail & Image Center in Redwood Shores, Calif., advises technicians to get bids from different companies and cabinet-makers. “That way you get a good contract with a guaranteed finish date. Negotiate what you get if your table is not finished on time.

Table manufacturer advantage Salon Designs in St. Petersburg, Fla., goes the extra mile to please its customers. The company will talk with you to determine your needs, make suggestions, and even provide you with a temporary loaner table to tide you over until your order is delivered. Left-handed tables and triple-station tables with ventilation that come with stools and padded client seats (the company calls them “magic chairs”) are among the many choices.

Interstate Design Industries offers both ready-made and custom tables that range in price from $249 all the way up to $2,500. Ventilation is an option on all table styles. There are 35 styles and an unlimited choice of colors. What do you get for $2,500? A manicuring and retail workstation. The company’s high-end table includes retail displays, storage areas, vents, and elaborate add-ons.

New Tech Furnishings in Tucson, Ariz., designs ergonomic technician desks. Its ND-100 and ND-200 tables have cut-outs for client and technician, so both are seated closer to the table. Padded armrests are on both sides of the table.

Many companies offer angled (“winged”) tables so that all table space is within arm’s reach. Dina Meri’s (Costa Mesa, Calif.) Boomerang table is angled and has a storage cabinet off to one side. The company’s newest Futura line features curved shapes and wood finishes. The EL-71 Futura has a storage cabinet mounted on a swivel system with 180-degree movement. Pibbs Industries in Flushing N.Y., has an angled table with two storage cabinets, one on each end Salon Interiors in Hackensack N.J. has the Arc, a curved table that gives you the advantage of easy reach and adds an impression of flow and movement to your salon.


Do you get the feeling that most major (and minor) manufacturers are more than willing to accommodate your specific requirements? You betcha. If have just a vague notion of what you want, they’ll offer recommendations, suggestions, and guidelines. But why is customizing such a given?

For one reason no one company could stock all the choices and options to be found in manicure tables. There are as many as 350 laminate colors alone (the chemically impervious, durable, and sanitizable coating on most manicure tables). There are different table heights and widths to accommodate different technicians’ body structure as well as to fit in with differing salon decors. But far and away the main reason is the technicians themselves. “I want something that looks a little different from the norm,” you say. That means custom. “Nail technicians are artists- they all have their own likes and dislikes,” explains Fago.

Tables now come in many finishes, including laminated plastic, wood, metal, and granite-look finishes. Professional Salon furniture in Santa Clara, Calif., offers a complete line of tables and custom cabinetry. A lighted accent strip (offered in five colors) comes on the Spectrum table; its Sierra and Valentino tables come in mar bleized and faux granite finishes. The La Mesa, the company’s newest table, is also its least expensive. The particle-board table, covered in formica, comes with a vent and a gallon-size storage area, and is offered in 16 solid and marbleized colors.

Kayline Enterprises in Long Beach, Calif., has a Malibu table that is designed to fit tight spaces and tight and budgets. The workstation has all the features of more expensive tables-laminated tabletop, client armrest, adjustable lamp, and a disappearing lockable door. Belvedere Company (Belvidere, Ill.) has a nail table the Round-about, that can be rolled out of sight when not in use.

One interesting idea in a nail tables comes from Bottoms Up in Acworth, Ga. The Bottoms Up table gives technicians the option of doing nails while standing. Owner Freddit Westmoreland says this can quicken client service time since you can move more freely, it lessens fatigue, and it encourages better posture; the table allows you to stand or sit, and there is a crossbar you can rest one foot on.


If your design requirements are so unusual you can’t find a manufacturer to assist you, you can go the route of finding a local, experienced cabinetmaker or an architectural design firm that can design your table from scratch.

“That’s what Gilmore did. “I have a three-technician table made out of solid wood. The table is heavy and won’t roll around the salon floor. And the formica covering is marbleized, so that spots don’t show and it looks good for a long time. The table is a neutral color so that it matches any décor, in case I move. The table is shaped in the form of a triangle, with a pedestal in the center where you can put polish displays.

“While I sit at one of the three stations, I can watch the other two technicians without being obvious. That way I can help them if they need it.

“I came up with another idea that worked well. I wanted to avoid wells and Plexiglas organizers because they eventually get ruined, so I hard trays made out of the same material as the table covering so that they look good and match the table. The trays can be used for holding towels, pedicure tools, or personal items, and can be carried over to the sink and cleaned and they will last,“ she says.

One company that can assist you in designing your table is Visionary in Irvine, Calif. Visionary has an on-site cabinet shop and an architect on staff. The company specializes in design construction and table fixtures (including armrests) and offers laminates, veneers, and metal table finishes.  

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 Ann Spilo, chairperson of the board of Spilo Worldwide and recipient of the ABA’s lifetime achievement award, died in April, 2003
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