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How to Decorate a Side Table

Castlery   |   Mar 10, 2022

Adding a side table or two to your bedroom, hallway or living room is a fantastic way to enhance the look and the usability of your space. Side tables are the perfect solution to showing off your favourite family photos - or perching your mug of tea while binging the latest docuseries.

You can put side tables pretty much anywhere in your home that needs a little extra love. They can go up against walls, next to sofas, either side of your bed, by doorways and even under the stairs. In fact, the side table is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture around.

Once you’ve invested in your beautiful new side table, you’ll need to decorate it. To help you get it just right, we’ve put together some of our favourite interior design ideas.

Woman’s hand reaching for a book perched on her bedside table Functional and pleasing to the eye, the Seb Side Table has roomy drawers for knick knacks, plus ample tabletop space for your current read. Picture credit: @teeteeheehee

Light it Up

If there’s one thing every side table needs, it’s a lamp. Adding some lighting to your side table will ensure it looks great both during the day and when the sun goes down. It also allows you to create a beautiful pool of light and enhance your home’s nighttime look.

The best way to illuminate your side table is to add a table lamp, either a task light for reading or an ambient light for general brightening of a room’s atmosphere. Placing a task light on the side table by your armchairs will help you to create a cosy space where you can curl up with a book. This type of lighting is generally brighter and more directional than standard table lamps so is perfect for a reading nook or home work space.

An ambient light on the other hand will add to the overall atmosphere of the room and help to make it feel warm and welcoming when it’s dark outside. If you have side tables at either end of your sofa or bed, try to find matching lamps so your room feels balanced and well thought out.

Adding side tables and lighting to either end of small sofas is a fantastic way to create a focal point and make your seating area feel larger. Modular sofas can also benefit from having side tables at both ends as it gives you somewhere handy to pop your drink and makes your seating area that bit more practical.

Sleek walnut side table styled with a potted houseplant and books Compact in size, the Zane Side Table is the perfect sofa companion – keep your iced beverage within reach, or style it with decorative elements to spruce up your space. Picture credit: @cassierandolph

Add Colour and Personality

There’s nothing like a splash of colour to help bring your living room to life. You can add colour and a personal touch through plants, photo frames, and books placed on your side tables. In fact, these versatile furnishings can become your very own mini galleries, giving you the perfect place to show off your favourite objects and ornaments.

To make a feature out of your photos, display them in mismatched frames of different sizes. This will encourage visitors to stop and look at your best shots and bring a bit of variety to your side table décor.

If you’ve got green fingers – or plastic plants – adding a bit of greenery to your side table can work wonders. Real plants will help to purify the air in your space and make your living room or bedroom feel warm and homely, while artificial blooms will bring a bit of colour to your home even on the darkest winter days.

Last, but not least, you can decorate your side tables quickly and easily with a few books. If you have a nice big ‘coffee table book’ – like a book of photos, a wedding album or design magazine – place it prominently on your side table to encourage visitors to browse. Alternatively, stack some novels on your side table and give guests a choice of books to read.

A pair of rustic bedside tables styled in a cosy bedroom Unwinding before bedtime? Use ambient lighting to create a cosy atmosphere. @the.little.bird creates a calming bedroom sanctuary with the Seb Side Tables.

Give it some space

If there’s one rule to decorating a side table, it’s probably ‘don’t overcrowd it’. While adding plants, books, photos, and table lamps to side tables is a great way to enhance the piece of furniture and add personality to your living room, it’s important not to go over the top. Too many objects could make your side table look busy and your living room seem a little cluttered.

Make sure there’s enough tabletop space for a drink and other items that need to be within reach of your bed or sofa. This is especially important if you like to graze on snacks and drinks while you watch TV – popcorn anyone? - or take a glass of water to bed with you.

If you don’t have room for a lamp, plant, book and photo frame, prioritise your favourite objects and go from there. To help you work out exactly how much space needs to be left free, put a coaster on your side table before you start to accessorise it. This will ensure there’s enough room for your well-earned cup of tea when the job is done.

Like coffee tables, side tables provide a handy surface for lighting, drinks, snacks, and ornaments. Incredibly versatile, they can be placed anywhere in the house from the hallway to the downstairs loo and the living room to the bedroom.

Find out more and start searching for the perfect side tables for your home, by exploring our beautiful collection today.