After a long time of thinking about what to do, I finally got a chance to do something about it. I got rid of most old stuff and replaced it with sleek, white wall-mounted cabinets.
I bought a wrong size cabinet and by the time I got to assembling and installing them it was too late to return it, so I used it as end table with storage on Maureen's side of the sofa. That let me double up the black end table on my side, which solved the problem of crap falling behind the single end table.
The doubled up end table also let me find a place for a cool Buddha lamp I bought at a flea market a few years ago, which had been taking up space in my office ever since. We needed another light in the TV Room, so the Buddha lamp not only got a place but a purpose.
The black end tables no longer went with the rest of the room, so I was going to paint them to match the walls, to make them blend in. Then I thought, why not tile them? That's what I do.
For the lower end table, I placed whole black tiles around three sides of the table for a frame effect. I placed an 11 by 17" piece of paper under frame tiles and sketched out a lucky cat on it. I used that as a guide to cut tiles with my wet saw. It took about two hours to make the sketch, plan the cuts, and cut the tiles.
I had some blue tiles in my inventory that come pretty close to matching the wall color, so that I used them for the background.
For the upper end table, the Buddha lamp and a surround sound speaker on it would just cover over a fancy design. So I tiled it simply to fit in with the lower end table. That one took no time at all.
The unified end tables don't blend in, but they do look cool. And since they look cool, standing out is good.
None of this was taught to me, I just intuitively know how to do it. I wouldn't of had the skills or thought processes to have done this when I was younger. This is an instance where being middle aged is pretty nifty.
Sketch with first cuts fitted in.
All tiles cut for lucky cat.
Tiles laid, waiting for grout.
It was a nice day, so I grouted it outside. This is the bottom half finished.
Finished project. Two end tables with a unified appearance.