grey wicker side table with books, flowers and blue accents

5 Fun & Easy Ways To Decorate Your Side Table

The coffee table, fireplace, and entertainment system all steal the show, but what about your side table? I often consider the side table the long-forgotten furniture piece. Although often overlooked, the side table provides lighting, a space to hold your drink, and serves countless other functions including decorative ones.

We’ve discussed how to decorate your coffee table, ways to make your living room look more expensive, and how to layout your living room. Now it’s time we drill down into the details and discover how to decorate your side table.


Decorating Your Side Table

Grey chair with metal side table & wood top decorated with lamp & plant stacked on top of blue book

Unfortunately, side tables are overshadowed by other pieces in the room and homeowners often neglect decorating or even really think about them. That’s why I’m excited to give you five fun & easy ways to decorate your side table regardless of whether it exists in your living room, bedroom, or sitting area.

The Empty Nest

white washed chairs with grey upholstery and gold and white side table under two painted canvas art pieces

Sometimes, when you don’t know how to decorate, the answer is to just not decorate at all. That’s why I call this one the empty nester. The blank slate works well for smaller side tables and allows room for those sitting down to place their drinks, eyeglasses, or other objects on the table without squishing them between decorations.

Plus, in its simplicity, it also provides a sleek addition to any room. The lack of decor allows your side table to make a statement itself while also avoiding the potential build-up of extra clutter. Let’s be honest, flat surfaces in our main living spaces are a go-to for collecting random paperwork, empty cups, and much more. Keeping it clean makes it easy to, well, keep clean.

Light Bright

Black lamps on small side table on either side of white couch

If you want something a little more than blank, but still like keeping it simple, this one’s for you. This is perfect for smaller tables in areas that need a little task lighting. This works for something like next to your sofa or in your bedroom where you may sit to read and may need somewhere to rest your drink and book. The simple, yet classic design looks good and functions fabulously.

The key here is to find a larger lamp. The base of the lamp should be no less than one-half of the table, but I personally recommend one that is just around half of the width of the side table. This allows the design to fill much more proportionate and full. If you find too small of a lamp things will look empty or unbalanced.

Simple Little Thing

light blue side table with open book displayed in eclectic farmhouse living room filled with pink, white, and blue

I love the idea of one simple decoration on your side table. This one differs from the solitary lamp because this works in spaces where there isn’t an outlet that is easily accessible and/or the table is too small to truly support a lamp. The key is finding an item that takes up at least 2/3 of the diameter of the table. This could be a book, magazine, plant, vase, diffuser, or truly any other item that you would like displayed in the space.

Dark brown wicker chair and matching side table with green plant in a white vase

This also works extremely well for your outdoor seating options. I love this with a plant or solar-powered lantern. It gives them just the right amount of brightness, color, and pizzazz while avoiding becoming too overcrowded. Adding a little something to your side table will really spice up your porch or patio if you choose the right size and color.

A Scent-Sational Choice

Bohemian lamp with scented stick diffuser on wood stump table top side table

Do you know what the secret is to finishing any room’s decoration? The perfect finishing touch is a signature scent and your side table is the right place to put it. Adding in a bit of layering you can mesh together a lamp, perhaps a picture frame or stack of books, and your favorite scent for a magnificent tabletop display. It’s practically *chef’s kiss* perfection.

There are a couple of options when it comes to scents, but here are my favorites:

  • Reed diffusers
  • Essential oil diffusers
  • Candles
  • Potpourri
  • Scented wax melts

Layers Of Love

Wicker top side table with floral arrangement, small greenery pot, and stack of books

Now we’re getting into what I call the fun designs. Layering is one of my favorite things to do in a home because I feel like it can really elevate a space and allow you to play with a ton of fun elements. This is especially true for side tables as you can stack, shift, and position unique pieces to create a miniature work of art within your masterpiece.

With layering on side tables, I recommend following the triangle theory. Basically, you utilize three main objects to create a visual triangle. As you can see the three items above (the flowers, plant, and books) create a right triangle if you connect the top points of each. It’s probably one of the most simple ways to arrange your items while maintaining the integrity of your design.

Decoration Overload

Pops of colored accents such as books, vases, plants, picture frame and lamp positioned quaintly on a marble top side table

Decoration overload is for those who like something a little quirky and a lot more playful. This is meant for larger side tables in places that need a bit more of an added pop. Let’s say for instance it’s positioned in a seating area against a blank wall or in a very plain living room with an ottoman and no decor. You’re going to want to incorporate different colors from the room, varying heights & textures, and then you will want to stack, shuffle, and sort them into a beautiful tabletop arrangement.

If you’re looking for a few pieces to start playing with, here are a few ideas:

  • Books
  • Vases
  • Plants or flowers
  • Candles, diffusers, or other scents
  • Picture frames
  • Decorative knick-knacks
  • Small sculptures
  • Decorative boxes
  • Coaster sets & holder

If you need additional help decorating your side table, drop a comment below. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top