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The Complete Guide to End Tables

The Complete Guide to End Tables

From elegant accent pieces to casual snack stands, end tables create an engaging, functional grace note for your home. Whether you want concealed storage or a stunning display piece, the right end table suits your style and makes everyday life a little smoother.

End Table Styles

The right end table puts the perfect punctuation on your decor. Look for classic wooden construction, scrolled legs, and rich tones of mahogany, cherry and walnut for traditional end tables. For an easygoing mid-century modern end table, you’ll want light-colored wood, low-slung shapes, and natural finishes. You might try a rounded side table with splayed wooden legs for your retro home.

Lean into details like mosaic tops or an end table plant stand for a free-spirited, eclectic vibe. The unique twist perfectly complement Bohemian style. To strike a contemporary note, look for end tables with gleaming, angular glass-tops. Distressed metal and reclaimed wood lend your space that no-frills industrial style. Chunky wood or wrought iron frames also fit a sturdy rustic or industrial aesthetic.

A delicate wooden table with a few ornamental details adds a sweet touch to farmhouse or shabby chic decor. You can even soften it with an end table runner for a vintage flourish.

See Top End Table Styles for Your Living Room for more inspiration.

End Table Shapes

An end table’s height should generally be within two inches of your sofa arm, but the possible shapes are unlimited. End tables tend to have square or rectangular lines, shapes that make the most of usable space. Half-circle end tables sit flush against your wall or furniture. Combined with a compact footprint, this makes them perfect for small spaces. Try a round end table to emphasize your favorite photos or a show-stopping table lamp.

Want to take a step off the beaten path? Choose an end table with a live edge for a subtly natural look. It blends beautifully with the gentle curves of transitional or mid-century modern rooms.

If you’re trying to find an end table shape that works with your space, check out How to Decorate with a Large End Table.

End Table Features

End tables with additional features give you a versatile, functional accent piece. Look for tables with built-in shelves if you want easy access to your book or an effortless display for family photos. Stash your remote controls and electronics in an end table with a top drawer and built-in USB chargers. You can slip your magazines down into a sloped side basket to keep your living room tidy. C-shaped side tables are perfect for busy homes. Just turn them sideways to fit them over your lap for an instant desk or snack tray.

End Tables that Fit Your Budget

Online shopping lets you fit your end table to your everyday needs. Whether your end table will be emphasizing your living room’s contemporary details or enhancing its traditional elegance, alternative materials create a wide price range.

Materials like resin, MDF, and aluminum will be cheaper than real marble and hardwood. MDF, or engineered wood, offers a lower-cost option for classic looks. Craving the look and feel of real wood? Softwood end tables are easy on your wallet, delivering a quality look and texture at a lower price point than teak or oak wood.

If you don’t want to give up special features, sort by end tables on sale to find one that suits your budget, or investigate clearance deals to find an overlooked treasure. Overstock has Free Shipping on Everything* that lets you save with every purchase.

See How to Find an Affordable End Table for more tips.

End Table Materials

You want to make a statement with your choice of end table material, but it’s not all about style.

MDF furniture is heavy and durable, however it’s vulnerable to high heat and surface moisture. Use it with care if you want an end table to hold your coffee cup. Softwood end tables, like pine, can stand up comfortably to this everyday use. If you want an heirloom piece instead, invest in a hardwood end table, like long-lasting cherry and mahogany.

Want to treat yourself to a touch of luxury? Polished marble end table tops are the perfect update to your glam look. Crystal-clear acrylic is an affordable alternative. An acrylic end table is durable, and its non-porous surface makes it perfect for a rec room or casual living room. Its lightweight enough to reposition easily and wipe-clean care makes cleanup a breeze.

See the Best End Table Materials for Your Living Room for more details.

Best Placements for End Tables

Framing your sofa with end tables is a classic decorating choice, providing a balanced, symmetrical look. If you want to shake up your living room a little, pair a set of end tables in front of the sofa as a fresh alternative to your coffee table. Position end tables next to each chair in a snack-friendly arrangement that’s perfect for casual entertaining. In an open-concept area, end tables can pair with a rug and accent chairs to create an intimate conversational space.

Branch out from the living room. An end table can double as a nightstand or serve as a hall table for keys, mail, and other small necessities. Tuck a half-circle table at each end of the stairs to hold items that need to go up or down.

See Best End Tables for Each Room for more ideas.

Looking for larger upgrade? See Sofa Tables vs. End Tables to consider which one is right for your layout.