top of page

Side Tables: Versatile and Stylish Additions to Your Home Decor

Updated: Nov 15

Cane side tables


Side tables are an essential element of home decor that often go unnoticed, yet they play a crucial role in both functionality and aesthetics. These small, versatile pieces of furniture are designed to complement larger items such as sofas, beds, and chairs, providing a convenient surface for placing items within easy reach. From holding a cup of coffee to displaying decorative items, side tables serve a variety of purposes while adding a touch of style to any room.

The importance of side tables in home decor cannot be overstated. They not only enhance the overall look and feel of a space but also offer practicality and convenience. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, rustic, or contemporary design, there are side tables available to suit every taste and interior style.

This guide will explore the different types of side tables, including their features, materials, and designs. It will also provide valuable insights into factors to consider when choosing a side table, such as size, functionality, material, style, and compatibility with existing furniture. Additionally, we will discuss the various placements and uses of side tables in different areas of the home, from the living room to the bedroom, dining area, and even outdoor spaces.

Furthermore, this guide will offer inspiration and tips for styling and decorating side tables, suggesting complementary accessories and decor items that can enhance their visual appeal. We will also provide practical advice on maintenance and care to ensure that your side tables remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Whether you are looking to add a finishing touch to your living room, create a cozy bedside setup, or elevate your dining area, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of side tables and make informed choices that align with your personal style and functional needs. Let's dive in and discover the possibilities that side tables bring to your home decor.

II. Types of Side Tables

When it comes to side tables, there is a wide array of options available, each with its own unique style and characteristics. Whether you prefer a classic and timeless look or a contemporary and sleek design, here are some of the most popular types of side tables to consider:

A. Traditional Side Tables:

Rattan round side table

Traditional side tables are known for their elegance and timeless appeal. They often feature ornate detailing, curved legs, and rich finishes. These tables can be made from luxurious materials such as solid wood, mahogany, or cherry, showcasing craftsmanship and attention to detail. Traditional side tables add a touch of sophistication to any space and work well in formal living rooms, classic bedrooms, or traditional dining areas.

B. Modern Side Tables:

wooden aesthetic side tables

For those who gravitate towards a clean and minimalist aesthetic, modern side tables are the perfect choice. Characterized by sleek lines, geometric shapes, and a focus on functionality, modern side tables embrace simplicity and contemporary design. They are often made from materials like glass, metal, or acrylic, offering a sleek and polished look. Modern side tables are versatile and can complement a variety of interior styles, from urban lofts to Scandinavian-inspired homes.

C. Rustic Side Tables:

rustic side table

Rustic side tables exude warmth and a charming, countryside feel. These tables embrace natural materials and textures, showcasing the beauty of wood grains and imperfections. Often crafted from reclaimed wood or distressed finishes, rustic side tables bring a sense of authenticity and character to a space. With their earthy tones and organic shapes, they work well in farmhouse-style interiors or spaces that aim for a cozy and inviting ambiance.

D. Contemporary Side Tables:

Contemporary side tables encompass a broad range of designs that reflect current trends and innovative styles. They often feature sleek lines, unique shapes, and a fusion of different materials. Contemporary side tables can be made from wood, metal, glass, or a combination of these elements. They offer a modern and artistic flair, making them ideal for eclectic interiors or spaces that embrace cutting-edge design.

Each type of side table has its own distinct charm and appeal, allowing you to choose the one that best complements your overall decor style. Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of traditional side tables, the clean lines of modern designs, the rustic charm of reclaimed wood, or the contemporary allure of innovative shapes, there is a side table option for every preference and interior style.

III. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Side Table

When selecting a side table for your space, it's important to consider several factors to ensure it not only enhances the overall aesthetics but also serves its intended purpose effectively. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when choosing a side table:

A. Size and Dimensions:

First and foremost, consider the size and dimensions of the side table. Take into account the available space in the room where it will be placed. Measure the area to determine the appropriate size, ensuring the side table neither overwhelms the space nor appears too small and insignificant. Consider the height of the table as well, ensuring it complements the adjacent furniture and is easily accessible.

B. Functionality and Storage Options:

Think about how you plan to use the side table. Will it primarily serve as a surface for holding drinks and small items, or do you need additional storage space? Some side tables come with drawers, shelves, or built-in compartments, providing convenient storage options for books, remote controls, or other essentials. Assess your functional needs to choose a side table that offers the desired level of functionality.

C. Material and Durability:

The material of the side table plays a significant role in its durability and visual appeal. Common materials include wood, metal, glass, or a combination of these. Consider the durability, maintenance requirements, and the overall aesthetic of the material to ensure it aligns with your preferences and the style of your room. For instance, solid wood side tables bring warmth and natural beauty, while metal and glass tables offer a sleek and modern look.

D. Style and Aesthetics:

The style of the side table should harmonize with the overall decor of the room. Consider the existing furniture, color scheme, and design theme. Choose a side table that complements the style, whether it's traditional, modern, rustic, or contemporary. Pay attention to details such as the table's shape, finish, and decorative elements. Strive for a cohesive look that enhances the visual appeal of the space.

E. Compatibility with Existing Furniture:

Ensure that the side table you choose blends well with the surrounding furniture. Consider factors such as the material, color, and design of the adjacent pieces. Aim for a cohesive and balanced look by selecting a side table that coordinates with other furniture items, creating a harmonious atmosphere in the room.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a side table that not only meets your functional requirements but also complements your room's style and enhances its overall aesthetics. Take the time to explore different options, keeping these factors in mind, to find the perfect side table for your space.

IV. Placement and Uses of Side Tables

Side tables are versatile pieces of furniture that can be placed in various areas of your home. They serve multiple purposes and can enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of a space. Here are some common placements and uses of side tables:

A. Living Room Side Tables:

1. Pairing with Sofas and Armchairs:

One of the most popular uses of side tables is to accompany sofas and armchairs in the living room. Placing a side table next to a seating arrangement provides a convenient surface for placing drinks, snacks, books, or remote controls within easy reach.

2. Using as a Coffee Table Alternative:

In smaller living rooms or cozy seating areas, side tables can be used as an alternative to a larger coffee table. You can place multiple side tables together to create a visually interesting arrangement. This allows for more flexibility in rearranging the furniture and provides individual surfaces for each seating spot.

B. Bedroom Side Tables:

1. Bedside Table Options:

Side tables are commonly used as bedside tables, providing a practical surface for lamps, alarm clocks, books, and other nighttime essentials. They can be placed on either side of the bed, offering symmetry and balance to the bedroom decor.

2. Creating a Cohesive Bedroom Design:

Side tables in the bedroom not only serve functional purposes but also contribute to the overall design aesthetic. Consider selecting side tables that match or complement the style of the bed and other bedroom furniture, creating a cohesive and harmonious look.

C. Dining Area Side Tables:

1. Supplementing Dining Table Space:

Side tables can be used in the dining area to supplement the surface space of the main dining table. They can hold extra dishes, condiments, or beverages during meals, ensuring everything is within easy reach without cluttering the dining table.

2. Displaying Decorative Items or Tableware:

A side table in the dining area can also serve as a display surface for decorative items such as vases, candles, or artwork. It can also be used to showcase beautiful tableware or store additional dining essentials like napkins or placemats.

D. Other Areas for Side Tables:

1. Entryway or Hallway Side Tables:

Placing a side table in the entryway or hallway provides a convenient spot to drop off keys, wallets, or mail upon entering the home. It can also be an opportunity to display decorative items like a welcoming floral arrangement or a small tray for storing essentials.

2. Outdoor Side Tables:

Side tables designed for outdoor use can be placed on patios, decks, or in garden areas. They offer a place to rest beverages or small plates during outdoor gatherings, creating a functional and stylish outdoor seating area.

Consider the specific needs and layout of each area in your home to determine the most suitable placement for side tables. Whether it's providing surface space for everyday items, enhancing the aesthetics of the room, or creating a functional display area, side tables can be utilized in various ways to elevate your home decor and improve the overall functionality of your living spaces.

V. Styling and Decor Ideas

Side tables not only serve functional purposes but also present an opportunity to enhance the overall style and aesthetics of a room. By styling your side tables thoughtfully, you can elevate their visual appeal and create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. Here are some styling and decor ideas to consider:

A. Choosing Complementary Accessories and Decor Items:

1. Table Lamps: Place a stylish table lamp on the side table to provide both ambient and task lighting. Select a lamp that complements the style of the table and the overall decor theme of the room.

2. Decorative Objects: Add visual interest by incorporating decorative objects such as sculptures, vases, or figurines. Choose items that reflect your personal taste and contribute to the desired ambiance of the room.

3. Books and Magazines: Stack a few well-chosen books or magazines on the side table to create a focal point and add a touch of sophistication. Consider selecting books that align with your interests or showcase beautiful covers.

B. Tips for Creating Balance and Symmetry:

1. Pairing: If you have two side tables in a room, create symmetry by pairing similar or matching side tables on either side of a sofa or bed. This provides a balanced and cohesive look.

2. Height Variation: Play with varying heights to add visual interest. Place taller items, such as a vase with flowers or a tall lamp, next to a shorter decorative object. This adds dimension and creates an engaging arrangement.

3. Grouping: Arrange accessories in groups of three or odd numbers for a visually pleasing display. This can include a combination of items like a lamp, a small plant, and a decorative box or tray.

C. Incorporating Plants and Greenery:

1. Potted Plants: Add a touch of freshness and natural beauty by placing small potted plants or succulents on the side table. Choose plants that thrive in indoor conditions and complement the overall decor style.

2. Terrariums: Create an eye-catching display by incorporating terrariums or glass containers with small plants or decorative elements. These add a unique and captivating element to the side table.

D. Mixing and Matching Side Table Styles:

1. Eclectic Mix: Don't be afraid to mix and match side table styles for an eclectic look. Combine different materials, shapes, and finishes to create a curated and individualized aesthetic.

2. Unconventional Choices: Consider using alternative items as side tables, such as a vintage trunk, a stack of vintage suitcases, or a repurposed drum. These unconventional choices can bring character and personality to your space.

Remember to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics when styling your side tables. Keep the overall room design in mind and aim for a cohesive look that complements the surrounding furniture and decor elements. Experiment with different combinations, textures, and heights to create a visually pleasing and personalized arrangement that showcases your unique style.

VI. Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of your side tables are essential to ensure their longevity and keep them looking their best. By following a few simple guidelines, you can preserve the beauty and functionality of your side tables. Here are some maintenance and care tips:

A. Cleaning and Dusting:

1. Regular Dusting: Dust the surface of your side table regularly using a soft, lint-free cloth or a feather duster. This prevents the buildup of dust and maintains its appearance.

2. Gentle Cleaning: For routine cleaning, use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner suitable for the material of your side table. Apply the cleaner to a clean cloth, and gently wipe the surface. Avoid excessive moisture or soaking the table.

B. Handling Spills and Stains:

1. Act Quickly: If any spills occur, promptly blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb the liquid. Avoid rubbing the spill, as it may spread or push it deeper into the material.