In addition to a coffee table, every living room needs at least one side table. This extra surface provides a place to set drinks, snacks, books and anything else you want within reach. But it's more than just functional. The right end table decor can make a bold statement, add a pop of color, create visual interest or help tie together the rest of your design scheme.
So, what should you put on an end table in your living room? The possibilities are virtually endless, but you'll find tasteful ideas and tips on what to consider when selecting and decorating a side table here.
33 End Table Decor and Side Table Ideas
Despite the small surface, end table decorating isn't always a quick and easy feat. If you're looking for more curated inspiration than what you might find scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, you've come to the right place.
Ahead, side table ideas for every design style, home size and budget.
Cordless Indoor Lantern
Layered lighting is crucial for creating a welcoming, relaxing ambiance. If your living room could use another lamp or two but you're worried about cord clutter, consider a cordless indoor lantern for your end table decor. This minimalist-modern lantern is powered by a rechargeable battery and features a frosted shade for filtered illumination. The wooden handle matches the white oak side table beautifully too.
Love a minimalist look? Give your bedroom a refresh with the guide to Decorating a Minimalist Bedroom.
Nesting trays are one of the simplest side table ideas. They can be stacked into each other or placed throughout your living room on various surfaces. Offering both style and functionality, you can put things like reading glasses, crystals, a TV remote, an extra charger, salt rocks, or a scented candle on the trays.
The Rule of Three
Based on the design theory that the human eye is attracted to triangles, the rule of three calls for three objects grouped together. And if you place more than three, just make sure it's an odd number. This home brings the outside in with organic elements throughout. The theme extends to the end table with a small plant, wicker lamp and glazed clay container.
If your space could use more greenery, check out the Top 16 Indoor Plants For Clean Air in Your Home.
As noted, creating a cozy living room atmosphere is all about layered illumination. With this in mind, you can pair a traditional lamp with a scented candle for your end table decor. The lamp will offer a less harsh alternative to your overheads and reading light when you need it. And the candle will provide a pleasing, flickering flow.
Read our blog to learn How to Make Your Home Smell Good beyond scented candles.
Greenery With an Aromatherapy Bonus
Some of the best side table ideas are actually pretty simple. This living room features a vase of fresh eucalyptus atop a statement round metal table. Besides offering a muted touch of greenery, eucalyptus has been shown to provide calming aromatherapy benefits. What's more, the leafy branches can last up to eight weeks.
Feng shui principles incorporate natural elements such as plants, leaves and flowers. Explore more Feng Shui Interior Design Ideas in our article.
Color-coordinating your books doesn't necessarily mean arranging an entire bookshelf in rainbow order — though a colorful arrangement can look lovely. If your living room palette is a bit more neutral, select just a few titles in complementing hues. Even if the spines aren't the right color, removing the sleeves will often reveal white, black, grey or brown bindings.
This handsome walnut piece also works as a nightstand. See our guide to explore more Bedroom Furniture Essentials.
Assorted End Table Decor
Sometimes, you need to play around with different arrangements to figure out what works best. With this in mind, consider purchasing a medley of items, like decorative dice, a marble tic-tac-toe board, candles, coffee table books, small plants and nesting bowls. Then create different groupings to see what's best for your end table, coffee table and living room shelves.
Speaking of coffee tables, here are 27 Ideas for Decorating a Coffee Table in Your Living Room.
If you spend a lot of time reading in your living room, a side table can house all the essentials you want on hand, whether it's a place for your glasses, magazine storage, a drawer for your book or a charging dock for your e-reader or tablet.
You're wise to keep a throw blanket within reach as well, and a basket is the perfect place to stash it. Here are 23 more Basket Decor and Storage Ideas.
Coasters are one of those side table ideas that are both practical and decorative. Whether you stack them up, keep them in a special holder or place them around on different surfaces, you'll add a tasteful touch while safeguarding your furniture from condensation rings.
A stylish stack of coasters is an easy and affordable way to elevate your home decor. Here are 25 more Tips to Upgrade Your Apartment.
Catch-All Tray and Coffee Table Books
Catch-all trays make excellent end table decor. From reading glasses and extra matches to phone chargers and remote controls, these versatile containers can hold anything you want to keep within reach while making your space look more organized and tidy.
This type of tray is also perfect for desks. For additional ideas, see our roundup of 8 Things to Keep at Your Workstation.
Whether you use them for flowers, fill them with dried grass or keep them empty, small vases look great on side tables, hutches and credenzas. Featuring soft bends and organic curves, this hand-molded ceramic set is beautifully asymmetrical.
Vases are also a go-to for dining decor. Check out these Stylish and Functional Kitchen Table Ideas.
Traditional Yet Fresh
A small vase of flowers is all this round end table needs in terms of decor. With curved legs and carved mahogany construction, it's reminiscent of 19th-century European furniture. The traditional aesthetic nods to the coastal grandmother trend but keeps things fresh with velvet upholstery in a grassy-green hue.
Neutral Nesting Tables
Nesting tables can be positioned side by side, placed apart or tucked into each other when you want to save space. Crafted from light oak wood, this end table decor idea is perfectly neutral with a pared-down appeal.
If you're partial to simple color palettes, explore these Neutral Bedroom Color and Decor Ideas.
Porcelain Oil Diffuser
An essential oil diffuser fills your space with aromatherapy mist in the scent of your choice. Like fragranced candles, it can also double as home decor. This visually pleasing porcelain side table idea is just over 3 inches wide and 7 inches tall. That’s the perfect size for an end table.
Can You Sleep With the Oil Diffuser On? Read on to find out.
Rustic Reclaimed Trunks
If you have a DIY spirit and appreciate rustic decor, you can make end tables for a living room out of reclaimed trunks. The weathered finish and antique brass hardware offer a time-worn appeal, and the trunks themselves provide extra storage.
For more rustic interior design tips, see our guide on How to Create a Tasteful Modern Farmhouse Bedroom.
Functional Conversation Piece
You don't necessarily need any end table decor when the table itself is a conversation piece. Though the ivory and gold colors are neutral, this eye-catching sculptural number appears as if an elephant is holding up a drink tray.
Whether your tastes lean eclectic, modern, art deco or traditional, you'll find something that speaks to you in our Guide to Design and Decor Ideas for Your Home.
Novelties, Knickknacks and Containers
You can create your own unique side table idea with an assortment of containers, decorative novelties and other knickknacks. Think small wooden boxes, baskets, trays, lidded canisters, mini sculptures, driftwood — you name it. For best results, stick to the rule of three.
Side Tables on All Sides
When considering living room table decor ideas for multiple surfaces, you'll want to keep cohesiveness in mind. This space surrounds its L-shaped sectional with a matching sideboard and side table, plus a trunk-style table on the other side. While it features a medley of decorative elements, each piece follows the black, white and green color scheme.
Sideboards are a great choice for foyers too. Learn How to Create a Modern and Inviting Entryway in our blog.
Sculptural Lamp With Shelved End Table Decor
Not all decor has to go on the surface. This curvy stacked oakwood side table features two cubby-style shelves, offering plenty of space for stacked books, a basket and even a small bowl.
Looking for bedside inspiration? These are the Best Nightstand Decor Ideas and Tips.
As long as the image complements the rest of the room, a framed picture is an excellent choice. While the subject isn't particularly important, be sure the colors don't clash with your other decor. And you don’t necessarily have to use a photo — sketches, abstract art and magazine cutouts work for this side table idea too.
On the topic of framed art, here are 37 Ideas for Decorating a Blank Wall in Your Home.
Soft Glam Assortment
If your interior design taste is more feminine, lean into the aesthetic with your end table decor. Starting with a tall lamp with a simple shade, this living room followed the rule of three to create a triangle with a leafy gold foil sculpture and a floral arrangement atop a short stack of books. A pom blanket spilling out from a basket below adds a soft finishing touch.
Blush and other pinkish hues are more versatile than you may think. Here's How to Style Clays in Your Home.
Space-Saving Pendant Light
Instead of getting a table lamp, you can save surface space by hanging a pendant light over your side table. In addition to creating a streamlined, minimalist look in this living room, this side table idea calls back the white of the catch-all dish.
Want more tips? We rounded up some of the Best Living Room Lighting Ideas.
Narrow Side Tables for a Small Living Room
If your living room is on the smaller side or you're decorating a reading nook, look for a narrow side table. Despite its easy-to-fit design, this end table decor item has two surfaces for placing objects.
Did you know mirrors can make a compact space look and feel bigger? Learn How to Decorate With Mirrors Across Your Home.
Dried flowers are one of the easiest side table decor ideas. They don't need any water and last a year or more, depending on the drying process. All you need is a small vase, and you're good to go.
Get expert tips on Spring Floral Arranging With Yasmine Mei.
Statement Task Light
A modern task lamp can make a statement and provide extra illumination for reading or mood lighting. This metal fixture calls back the black art frame and sofa legs while adding contrast to an otherwise neutral space.
Task lights make good bedside lamps too. Here are 28 Bedroom Lighting Ideas to consider.
If you're interested in cost-saving side table ideas, a repurposed stool is a solid choice. Though the surface will be slightly taller than a traditional end table, you can place a plant, vase or a small stack of books on top.
A stool can also come in handy in the bathroom. We rounded up 56 Decor Ideas for Styling Your Bathroom here.
Stone furnishings have an inherently high-end, luxurious flair. If you like the look but don't want to go all out, take notes from this end table decor idea. It features an asymmetrical marble side table with farmhouse-inspired white painted floor planks and a traditional slipcovered sofa.
Minimalist Japandi Slats
Combining the clean lines of Scandinavian decor with the sleek yet straightforward functionality of Japanese design, Japandi exudes minimalist elegance. This slatted side table idea is a stunning example of the aesthetic.
Our Mt. Washington for Parachute ceramics collaboration was also inspired by modern Scandinavian and traditional Japanese styles.
This brass side table is the perfect balance of eye-catching glam and industrial practicality. The angled shelf provides convenient storage for books, magazines or charging tablets, and the surface can be used to serve drinks or snacks.
Read our article to learn How to Create a Modern-Industrial Style Look for Your Home.
Rattan Living Room Accent Tables
Natural woven materials like wicker, rattan and jute can work well for living room accents. In addition to side tables, you can find ottomans, floor poufs and braided area rugs to complement your end table decor.
What Is a Jute Rug? Read our blog for styling tips and care considerations.
Flaunting continuous powder-coated metal legs and a deep wood veneer on top, this end table emanates mid-century modern design. The decor keeps it simple with a pair of palm leaves in a tinted glass bottle. This leaves plenty of surface space for glassware, coffee cups and reading materials.
Want to fine-tune your personal decor style? Here's How to Create an Interior Design Mood Board.
Bare But Never Boring
Some of the best side table ideas don't need any decor at all. This living room features two different styles and materials, but the circular shapes make things look cohesive. And although the surfaces are bare, the finished look from this end table decor idea is anything but boring.
If you like to keep things clutter free, you'll appreciate our guide to Getting Organized.
Consider a Bench
Benches can work well in living rooms, too, offering a surface for decorative objects and an extra spot to sit when you need it. You can place one behind your couch, against a wall or near a window.
For more ideas, see our guide on How to Style Your Home with an Indoor Bench.
Living Room Decor and Free Design Consultations From Parachute
After exploring these curated side table ideas, you should be ready to create a functional, visually pleasing arrangement for your living room. Parachute carries a stunning selection of wooden nightstands and end tables made with durability and long-lasting versatility in mind. When you browse the collections, you'll also find thoughtfully designed benches, candles, diffusers, rugs, curtains, throws, catch-all trays, vases, baskets and bins.
If you still need help with your end table decor or want tips for selecting styles or colors, a design expert from Parachute is ready to assist. Book your complimentary consultation today!
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Kim KY, et al. (2014). The effect of 1,8-cineole inhalation on preoperative anxiety: a randomized clinical trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 820126. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/820126