End Table Vs Side Table: Which Do You Need?

Whether you're moving into a new home and are selecting furniture, or simply want to add or replace pieces in your current house, you know that tables can be essential. Used for both accent pieces and as practical places to set (or display)  items for your home, tables come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Knowing what type of table is important in making the best use of the room. With that in mind, when do you select an end table, and when should you use a side table? We've found the functional and design-oriented answers for you!

Whether you choose an end table or a side table depends on where you place it and how the table is used. While sometimes used interchangeably, the terms side table and end table refer to distinctly different pieces. An end table is shorter, has less tabletop surface, and is positioned near the ends of a sofa or next to a chair. A side table is taller, has more tabletop surface, and is positioned against your room walls. 

Now that you know the difference between the side table and the end table, we'll look at some popular styles of each one. We've researched both and have discovered the answers to some questions you might have about them. How do you choose the right end table? Can you use an end table as a nightstand? Can side tables double as a coffee table? To learn the answers to these questions, keep reading this post.

Wooden side table against the wall and wooden end table beside a couch, End Table Vs Side Table: Which Do You Need?

Popular styles of end tables and side tables

Furniture manufacturers seem to never run out of design ideas for models of either type of table. This section of the post will look at several popular styles of end tables and side tables and where you can get more information about them.

End Tables

The Stein World table has an ornate design and comes complete with a drawer to hold remotes, notebooks, or whatever else you deem essential for being at your side in the evenings. This model also has USB ports for charging your phones.

If you would like to view this Stein World model end table on Amazon, you can click here.

Borrowing from mid-century inspirations, this Nathan James end table is suitable for the end of your sofa or as a nightstand next to your bed. Its roomy top leaves plenty of space for a lamp and photos, and its cubby and drawer give even more storage area.

To view this Nathan James model end table on Amazon, click here.

To see the Furinno end table on Amazon, click here.

Side Tables

The Decor Therapy side table is a modern design that packs plenty of storage into a slick yet sizable drawer. 

To see the Decor Therapy side table on Amazon, click here.

The Crown Mark side table is a good piece for those looking for a more minimalist design. Sporting a low, bottom shelf, this table is great for books, displaying antiques, or photos.

You can view the Crown Mark side table on Amazon by clicking here.

This sleek side table is a perfect addition to home decor and is suited for just about any room in your home or office. The flip-top reveals a hidden storage space, perfect for keeping family mementos. 

To see this side table on Amazon, click here.

How to choose an end table for your space

Choosing the right end table doesn't have to be a chore. Matching the right one to your home's furniture and decor can be a challenging but fun experience. If you are in the market for an end table to accompany existing furniture, consider making it an accent piece. Select a color that is a varying shade of the color of the furniture it is placed next to. Have fun picking a style that also compliments the other pieces you've set in place in the room.

You may want to take a much more practical approach to select an end table. Getting an end table/coffee table set that matches has merit, as the set will tie the room together well. Having an end table for practical reasons may also include how you wish to use the table:

  • Does it need to hold a lamp? Consider one with a wider surface area.
  • Do you need a charging station? Some models have built-in USB ports, so you don't need to leave your charger plugged directly into a wall outlet.
  • Are drawers and shelves important? You'll be happy to know that of many end table models available, most come with at least one drawer, and others have cabinet space for storage underneath.

Modern living room interior with end table beside blue sofa

Can you use an end table as a nightstand?

Most end tables' size and design make them perfect for use as a nightstand in your bedroom. Many of the end tables on the market come with drawer space, making them an even better addition to your bedroom. Selecting one with USB ports can mean no more worrying about your phone dying in the middle of the night.

If you choose an end table as a nightstand, you may consider one with enough space on the top to hold your bedside lamp. While these end tables are usually smaller, you can easily find one with enough tabletop surface to hold everything you consider essential to be by your side while you sleep.

End table beside a bed with dark blue blanket used as a nightstand near a curtained window

Can you use a side table as a coffee table?

Side tables tend to be higher off the ground than most standard coffee tables. This doesn't mean that you can't have a side table double as a coffee table. But to make it seem like it blends in with the rest of the furniture well, you'd need to select a side table that sits lower, is rather wide, and fits it with a sofa that has a high back and seats. Generally, though, you wouldn't want to substitute a coffee table for a side table.

Thankfully, there are numerous coffee table models to choose from that have the same features and benefits as traditional side tables. Some models have drawer and cabinet space, while others will boast USB ports for charging devices. The YaheeTech coffee table has bottom shelf storage and a top tray that slides up and out, so it doubles as a home work station.

To view this coffee table from YaheeTech on Amazon, click here.

In Conclusion

This post has taught us that while end tables and side tables are sometimes used interchangeably, they are two distinct furniture types. Each style of table has other uses, however, and many people will often use an end table for a nightstand. While it's possible to use a side table as a coffee table, most of them have a height that makes them seem out of place when used in this way. No matter how you put these styles of table to use around your home or office, you will always have a wide variety of styles to pick from.

If you found this post to be helpful, we've listed some other posts about might inform you further:

Where to Place the TV in a Living Room?

21 Brown Furniture Living Room Ideas

 What Furniture Should Be In A Dining Room? [5 Must-have Items]

19 Black Leather Sofa Ideas For Your Living Room

What Room Should a Grandfather Clock Go In? [5 Options Revealed]

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