This post was a reader request and I can’t believe I’ve never talked about this topic on the blog before… how to pair coffee tables and side tables. I rounded up a bunch of beautiful combinations and am sharing my designer tips for pairing them. Whether you’re refreshing your living room, shopping for your home office, media room, or are just ready to swap out some tables- consider this your design guide for all things table pairing! Click through for the post and my table roundup…
Let’s start with the tips, shall we? First I’ll say this- one of my pet peeves is a matching coffee table and end table. You know… those “room in a box” collections, where every piece of furniture matches perfectly? That doesn’t feel creative, interesting, original, or very designerly to me. I’d much rather see a contrasting layered look. With that in mind, here are my biggest takeaways for pairing unique coffee tables and side tables.
- Consider scale. This is where your sofa and other furniture in the space comes into play… make sure both your coffee table AND side table are an appropriate scale (and height) for the furniture in your room (most importantly- the sofa). For example, if you have a large room with a giant coffee table, your side tables will need to be larger to feel balanced and intentional.
- Make sure they feel cohesive. I always use family resemblance examples when it comes to interior design. Your coffee table and side table don’t need to be twins- or even siblings… just relatives. Maintaining a thread of consistency can come in the form of many things- shape, scale, material, style, or color.
- Remember contrast is a good thing. While we don’t want our tables to match exactly, a design mistake I often see is tables that look like they were supposed to match, but are barely different… which ends up looking like a mistake. You want to push the contrast making sure your coffee table and side table are noticeably different, to balance each other.
- Check the visual weight. On the note of contrast being a good thing, visual weight is an easy way to provide balance. For example, if you have a drum style coffee table that is visually heavy, try a side table with delicate legs or a pedestal base to balance the room (and vice versa). Delicate and airy versus substantial and heavy make a great combination.
- Keep materials in mind. My biggest piece of advice is to push the materials far from each other (a wood coffee table with a stone side table) or make sure they match perfectly if you’re going with the same material (the exact same finish of antique brass, but different size and shape).
Do those tips help? I’ve found a helpful tool is to see the tables side-by-side with your sofa before committing. Check out my handy photoshop tutorial for seeing items in a moodboard or design plan, if you’re interested in giving it a go. Another past post that may be helpful in pairing coffee and side tables is this designer trick post on how to conceptualize a room.
Click directly on the coffee tables and side tables below to be redirected to the source- or use the numbered links below the collage to shop…
01: stone side table // 02: palmer coffee table // 03: round end table // 04: tiered coffee table // 05: bamboo accent table // 06: oval marble coffee table // 07: walnut side table // 08: ivory coffee table // 09: brass accent table // 10: modern coffee table // 11: marble side table // 12: black wood coffee table // 13: mirrored side table // 14: cement coffee table // 15: marble martini side table // 16: square coffee table // 17: fluted side table // 18: reclaimed wood coffee table // 19: wood pedestal table // 20: rectangular coffee table
I just used a basic sofa for the collage, so the pairings can really blend with any aesthetic, plus you get a better visual. There are so many awesome pairings packed into this one, I couldn’t commit to choosing my favorites. Haha! I’m actually in the market for both a coffee table and side table for our new office space, and since I’ve already been on the hunt- this roundup was pretty easy to compile.
I’d definitely encourage you to choose tables with differing base shapes… that’s another big contrasting element that helps pairings look more balanced.
My friend Chloe shared this helpful post on how to get coffee table dimensions right, if you’re curious about scale and the mathematical formula.
Let me know if you have any table questions in the comment section below or would like me to elaborate on any of the design talking points! As always, I love when readers submit post ideas (like this one), so feel free to send over any topics you’d like to read about in the future. Happy Tuesday! Have an awesome day.