Wood, metal or acrylic? What shape side table? Shelves or drawers? What is the best height for end tables? With so many elements to consider, choosing the right side table can be daunting. So, we’ve created some simple guidelines to help you get the casting right.
Determine the right height for end tables
First, let’s tackle one of the most important considerations: height. Ideally, a side table should be equal to or just below the arm of the seat it’s next to. Not only does this positioning create a nice visual flow in the room, the table is within easy reach for setting a drink down or turning on a lamp. Standard sofa arm heights can range between 24 and 32 inches, so get out your measuring tape.
Narrow down the overall look
If you’re already on the hunt for the perfect accent table, you know how hard it can be to settle on a look. When in doubt, it helps to think in terms of adding contrast to a room. Take a look at your existing furniture. Do you have a lot of upholstered pieces or bold patterns? You might want to offset the soft edges and visual texture with a more clean, streamlined design. If your aesthetic slants modern, go with something more chunky and ornate.
Select an end table shape
Next, something as subtle as table shape can make a huge difference in the look of your room. Just think of your side table hunt like a Jenga game. What fits the space best? From round tables to square tables, each shape has it’s pros and cons. Here are a few things to consider about each shape table.
- Perfect for small spaces
- The eye is naturally drawn to round objects
- Offer more surface space for decor
- Fit naturally tucked into corners
- Enhance overall look or aesthetic
- Bring balance to a square room with boxy furniture
Consider end table storage & function
You’ll want to make sure the functionality of the table you choose is tailored to your needs. If you think you need extra storage space for remotes, games, tablets, books or magazines, look for a table with drawers or open shelves. Also, make sure your end table has enough surface area for accessories like lamps, coasters, and other decorative accents.
Layer end tables for a cohesive look
Generally speaking, we think every seat should have its own side table or share one with another seat. If you’re worried about layering multiple side tables, remember that there’s no law that says the style, shape or finish has to match. In fact, we prefer a more mismatched, collected look for extra depth, dimension, and personality. Whatever side table you end up with, we know you’ll love the finishing touch and polish it adds to your room.
Need more furniture inspiration? Check out our YouTube channel or read these related posts to learn more:
- 15 Best Living Room layout Tips
- Small Living Room Ideas to Make the Most of Your Space
- The Truth about Coffee Tables and Why You Need One
- Why You Should Incorporate Different Furniture Heights Into Your Room
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This post was updated in April 2022.