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  • Jen Fletcher

TIPS & TRICKS | 5 Ways To Style a Side Table

I look on Instagram and see the love and attention we go to, to style our shelves. We even have a ‘shelfie’ hashtag. But what about the poor old side table languishing in the corner feeling unloved? Many of us have them in our living rooms or we use them as a bedside table in a small or minimalist space. Now I’m pretty sure that ‘side-y’ or ‘tabl-ie’ is not going to become the new hashtag, in fact I’ve probably stumbled across some rude and obnoxious word instead in the urban dictionary, but in support of our 4-legged or even 3-legged friends, and with the help of the LOU stool by TIPTOE I’ve pulled together some ideas to style that little side table.

Firstly, the rules. Well I don’t actually like rules, so see these as just guidance to help you along the way.

1. As with any shelving and displays, odd numbers of objects are always more pleasing to the eye. When you see an odd number of things, your eye is forced to move around more, which makes for a more interesting visual experience. This may not just be what is on the table but the table in relation to other objects.

2. Try to create interest through different heights – it makes your eyes look at each object individually and can provide a more pleasing balance, if you’ve ever looked at your display and couldn’t work out why it didn’t feel right – this is usually the culprit.

3. Think through texture – smoothness of a book against ruffles of a plant and roughness of an aged pot again help to provide interest and give a tactile quality to a display.


A neat stack of books don’t need to be confined to the coffee table or the console table. If small enough, this can be effective and add height and interest to your side table. Pop a plant on top or a candle or even your lamp. Remember the rule guidance of odd numbers and heights and faff around until it feels right.


Flowers and plants always work. A dried flower display will give longevity, fresh flowers a pick-me-up and a plant gives ever-changing interest. I like to swap between all 3, providing plenty of faffing opportunities. Give thought to the vase or pot – sometimes it is really worth investing in a beautiful statement piece that is well made especially when it will be on display so much. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive, just something you love. Think about how the flowers interact with your decor, are you going for a minimal vibe, perhaps a cottage feel or even a contrasting pop of colour.

Lamp A stylish lamp can not only look great on a side table but is also super useful for lighting up a corner or providing some reading light in the evening. Generally I would advise to always ensure the shade provides a diffused light rather than a clear glass lamp or exposed bulb. This way you get a softer, warmer light that is still enough for reading – aim for a warm white bulb between 2000-2700k. Again, look at what it highlights below and/or above it – a well placed candle and even your glasses or handcream can give an effortless style, and yet still be useful – who doesn’t need somewhere to put these things?

Underneath Underneath a side table can be forgotten and yet it’s a great little place to style and store. It can also hide pesky trailing wires from a lamp up above or if you’re like us a whole extension lead with chargers and all sorts of gubbins! Stacks of books or magazines or a basket of blankets can add interest and texture to your side table’s underbelly and keeps them all in one place.

Pictures A picture highlighted by a lamp is such a classic and timeless way of styling a side table, don’t underestimate how much that can lift your spirits when you sit down in an evening next to it. Another trick is to add a picture above if your side table is placed next to a wall, this can be a great way of bringing your eye over to a corner and adding interest especially illuminated by a lamp.

Mix and match any of these 5 ideas to create your perfect side table.

Oh and one last thing! Always remember to leave some space for your favourite beverage, whether that be a cup of coffee or a glass of gin. It’s no good having a beautifully styled side table but no where to put that well deserved drink at the end of a hard day now is it? AD: PR product Tiptoe LOU Stool


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