Do End Tables Have To Match?

End tables are convenient additions to many living or family rooms. Put a lamp on them, display some magazines, or set your drink down. Or, simply use the table for decorative purposes to tie the rest of the decor together. If you have multiple end tables, do they need to match each other? We've checked with what design experts have to say about this.

End tables don't have to match each other. In fact, mismatching accent tables is trendy and can be used to give the room variety, showcase your personal style, and introduce different colors. On the other hand, if you want to be sure that the decor will flow smoothly, matching the end tables to each other is the safest bet. 

Picking out furniture for your living room is a big deal! That's why we've researched this topic and put together this handy guide to help you understand end tables. Please continue reading for more information on matching or mixing end tables, ideas for how to do it well, and answers to other commonly asked questions. Here we go!

A brown sofa with a brown throw pillows placed next to a small round end table, Do End Tables Have To Match?

Matching End Tables

Many living rooms use matching end tables. This is a safe way to make sure your decor complements each other instead of clashing. For instance, the living room below is going for a very specific style. The room is also dependent on symmetry, so it would be confusing with mismatched end tables.

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If you've found a style of end tables that you really like, feel free to put multiple in your living room.

Mixing End Tables

Contrasting end tables is a great way to show your personal style, give the room variety, and introduce different colors. Keep in mind that even while mixing and matching furniture, you want the decor to look intentional. Generally, the idea isn't to make things look haphazard or thrown together. Don't worry, there are ways to achieve this, even if you aren't a professional designer. 


Most rooms should have a balance of shapes and styles. Unless you're aiming for a very specific scheme, the room shouldn't be full of only sharp angles. It shouldn't be full of rounded pieces or full of tall and skinny structures. End tables are a flexible way to subtly vary the feeling in a room. 

Here are two end tables that contrast each other well. One is tall and round while the other is rectangular and shorter. They both feature gold accents and could provide sparkle to a drab room.

Click here to view this table on Amazon.

Click here to view this table on Amazon.


Alternatively, don't be afraid to mix colors and materials. A metal end table can be perfect for a room full of wooden items. Color can also be contrasted. This is especially true if you're using an end table as an accent color. This table provides just the right amount of turquoise color for a room. 

Click here to view this table on Amazon.

Combine it with a sturdy white table like the one below for a nice contrast.

Click here to view this table on Amazon.


One end table might serve a different purpose from the others. For instance, some end tables come with a bottom shelf or a drawer, making them useful for storage. Other end tables might be used solely for holding drinks and a table lamp. If you want one or two of each, that might mean they don't all match.

For instance, this large table with drawers is perfect for DVDs, video games, or remote controls.


Click here to view this table on Amazon.

But if it's too big to have multiple of them in one room, or if you'd like some variety, consider adding one or two of the tables below. 

Click here to view this table on Amazon.

What is the difference between an end table and a side table?

The difference between an end table and a side table has to do with where the table is placed in a room. An end table is positioned at the end of a sofa, loveseat, or section of chairs. A side table is technically placed to the side of a chair. Essentially, these are the same types of tables and can be used interchangeably. 

Have a coffee table that you want to pair with end tables? Read this article for advice on how to do that: Do Coffee Tables And End Tables Have To Match?

Where should end tables be placed?

End tables, as their name implies, should be placed at the end of a couch, sofa, or sectional. This table can be placed at either or both ends of the couch. This living room, for instance, has a table at the end of the couch furthest away from the window. They've placed a lamp on it and positioned it to spread the light throughout the room.

Bohemian themed living room with teal floral patterned walls, white baseboard, and yellow curtains

This room, on the other hand, has an end table between the couch and the wall. This is a great way to naturally put space between the couch and the wall, giving the appearance of spaciousness. 

A spacious contemporary mixed with a retro styled furnitures in a light gray painted living room

Alternatively, end tables can be placed beside a single armchair or between a pair of chairs. Technically, this would make the table a side table, though they are essentially synonyms. If you place a table between two chairs, it should be centered between both of them. This lets someone sitting in either chair be able to reach the surface. 

For instance, this designer has placed a table between these two chairs. It's within reach, is decorative, and looks good with the rest of the decor.

Two brown sofas with an end table in the middle on a brown and gray rug

Sometimes an end table's position needs to be dictated by the position of outlets and windows. This is especially important if you're going to use a table lamp or other electric pieces. Realistically, an end table should be placed wherever convenient. If that is a different location than the two listed above, that's fine! Make sure to pay attention to the balance of the room and the decor scheme. 

What is the best height for an end table?

The best height for an end table is flexible and depends on the height of the seat next to it. Ideally, the top of the table should be one to three inches lower than the arm of the seat. This makes it so the table can be easily reached by someone sitting next to it without appearing to tower over the seat. End tables are minor pieces of furniture when compared to chairs and sofas, so they should be less emphasized.

Looking for more ways to fill in blank spaces in your living room? Check out this article next: How Do I Fill Space In My Living Room? (9 Actionable Steps)

In Closing

If you have multiple end tables in a room, it's up to you whether or not to match them. Mixing them in terms of shape, color, and style showcases your personality, makes the room feel diverse, and gives you more options. Place end tables at the end of the couch, beside armchairs, or anywhere else that would be convenient.

Remember that this is your living room, so you should decorate it however you'd like! We hope, though, that this article has helped you figure out which option is best. Good luck!

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