How to Decorate with Side Tables

LB overhead

Despite their small size, side tables are among the most flexible and functional pieces of furniture around. They’re more than just a place to set your drink – these versatile players can provide much-needed storage, serve up food and drink in style, and occasionally, can even pinch-hit as extra seating. Plus, their modest proportions and low price-point makes them an easy way to play around with different finishes, colors and shapes in your decor.  Don’t limit yourself to matching sets – mix and match them throughout your space to achieve exactly the look and utility you’re after. Here are some things to consider when choosing side tables for your home:



Keep your space looking tidy and clutter under control with side tables that offer extra storage options. A table with a lower shelf or two can hold a stack of books, a tray of magazines or a basket full of small toys. One with a drawer will keep your remotes and reading glasses close at hand, yet neatly out of sight. And a petite cabinet that cleverly doubles as an end table will let you keep video games and other stray items discretely tucked away behind closed doors.

Addison Tray


Make entertaining at home a breeze with side tables that can handle serving duties, too. Place a bar cart alongside a chair or sofa – the top can keep frequently used items within reach, while the bottom will chicly house bottles, glasses and barware. Look for one on casters, so you can easily move it around during a party, then right back into place again. Or choose a table with a lift-off tray top – perfect for passing around hors d’oeuvres and other tasty treats when company drops by.

Ravenna Garden Seat


Extra seating always comes in handy, especially when space is at a premium or you welcome guests frequently. Fill two needs with one piece by using a small, flat-surfaced stool as an end table. Bring it forward for seating as needed, then return it to its spot beside a sofa or chair when everyone has gone. Garden stools are an especially popular, yet perennially classic choice – they’re available in a wide variety of colors and styles, and are suitable for use indoors or out.



With their small size and inexpensive price-point, side tables are the perfect area to take some chances with your decor. Use them to introduce a bright splash of color, incorporate unusual dimension and texture or showcase an unexpected design element. You can take risks you wouldn’t take with a larger, more prominent piece of furniture. Side tables are also an ideal way to display other important elements of your design, such as gorgeous (and essential!) table lighting and treasured accents like favorite framed photos, a found piece of coral or a bowl of freshly cut flowers.

Where do you use your side tables and do you use them for display? Tell us in the comments below.


How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    August 20, 2013


    Can you tell me where I can find the carpet that appears in the 4th photo on above page?

    Thank you.