11 Small Side Table Decorating Ideas

Side tables aren’t just for putting coffee on or even holding your favorite alarm clock. If you want to make a statement in your home or set your living room up like a professional, you need to add a little decor to your side tables. This is especially true if you’re hosting an event where you want to show off your style. 

Getting that perfect ambiance is hard, especially if you want to make it possible to use a bunch of the space your table offers. That’s what we made a point of finding the best ways to decorate those small tables. Take a look at our suggestions below!

A pink room with green armchair, rug and side table, 11 Small Side Table Decorating Ideas

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1. Add A Small Lamp

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Cozy and rustic home interior design with high quality DIY euro pallet furniture

Lighting is the bread and butter of ambiance. That’s why many interior designers will tell you that you can never go wrong with adding extra mood lighting. To make this idea work, it’s often best to stick to smaller lamps with a shade that avoids over-brightening your area. 

A regular table lamp can work, but, honestly, smaller, statement-rich lamps tend to do better with this choice. If you’re a fan of neon signs or cool “touch” lamps, this is the time to add one to your home. 

Click here for a 3D moon lamp from Amazon.

2. Make It Succulent

A group of aloe, succulent and cactus in a variety of pots and glass containers illuminated with sunlight on an outdoor balcony

Potted plants are one of the most earth-friendly ways to decorate a house, and it’s not surprising to hear that there are tons of planters that are perfectly proportioned for a small table. Moreover, there’s a growing trend of getting statement planters as accents for your bookshelves, dinner tables, and patios. So, it’ll help continue a trend.

There have been a lot of studies that show that having extra plant life can help boost mood. This is true, even if the plants in question are fake. Amazing, right?

Click here for an elegant planter from Amazon.

3. Channel Your Inner Cafe

Empty wooden table outside restaurant cafe with chairs on sidewalk street and yellow flowers in flowerpot potted plant setting

Did you ever notice how many sidewalk bistros have smaller tables decorated with a petite tablecloth? It’s a thing, and it’s a very European way to handle a bare side table. This decoration idea has the added perk of being able to protect your table from bumps, scrapes, and spills. Needless to say, it’s a classic way to make sure entertaining guests doesn’t mess up your home. 

Fans of the “French cafe” look will love this idea. This is particularly popular as a patio decoration idea, especially if you’re the type of person who loves to dine outside. 

4. Clock It In

Alarm clock standing on night table at sleeping room

We now live in an era where alarm clocks are a thing of the past. However, that doesn’t mean that you should skip over them. If your small side table is doing duty as a bedside table, then a good way to add a style statement that has a pinch of function to it too. Alarm clocks are now considered to be a retro addition to your home. 

This might be a throwback, but with the right clock, it’ll look phenomenal. 

5. Sign Us Up!

Friends Sign decoration as home decor in home interior

One of the newer trends that spread like wildfire throughout homes is signs with welcoming, homey messages. In the picture above, it’s “Friendship.” In your home? It can be anything from a classic “Live, Laugh, Love,” or a more country “Welcome Home.” Either way, it’s a way to add a cozy element to your table. 

The cool thing about these signs is that they’re pretty low maintenance. Everyone likes them, and they remain versatile to this day. Just pick one with a message that speaks to you.

Click here for a carved wood table sign from Amazon.

6. DIY Reading Tray

Part of interior with couch and decorative pillows, white wooden table with books on it

Are you a fan of reading a nice novel over coffee? The right decorations on your side table might make that easier than ever to do. To make your own reading-friendly tray, buy a small basket for a stack of books. Add the book basket to your side table, and make a little extra space on your table for your favorite cup of tea. 

We’re not going to lie. This decoration is both functional and makes your home look intellectual. It’s a win-win.

7. Picture This

A grayscale shot of a photo frame backside

Even if you are a fan of elegant decor with a magazine-ready vibe, there will always be something missing if you don’t make your house feel like a home. And, what makes a place feel like home more than photos of you and your loved ones? While some might call this a sappy look, the truth is that it makes you feel a lot happier. 

You don’t need to go overboard with this vibe. As long as you have one or two photos up, you’ll get the uplifting vibe of family love around you. It’s a classic for a reason, after all. 

8. She Sells Seashells…

Tropical-themed chair and table with conch shell and palm tree

If you are a fan of nautical decorations, you may want to consider getting back in touch with nature. Seashells are one of the cheapest decorations that you can add to a side table in a beach house, and it’s easy to see why. This is a great way to accent a rattan table or add a more oceanic twist to a living room with a blue carpet

The important thing to remember, if you want to decorate with seashells, is to make a point of displaying them as a group. Elegant displays, or at the very least, getting one very large accent shell, will help keep things looking clean rather than cluttered.

Click here for a jumbo, all-natural conch shell from Amazon.

9. Vintage Accents

Vintage style interior with beige leather sofa with pillows, side table, black ceiling lamp, white brick background and tiled floor

Sometimes, the best way to decorate a living room involves taking a trip to the past. In this photo, we see an interior designer who was smart enough to go antiquing. This gorgeous duo of victrolas got turned into a striking pair of side table accents. They’re bold, eye-catching, and retro enough to make audiophiles and steampunks crack a smile. 

These record players’ gold hues add a nice touch, but you don’t have to stick to something this large if you don’t want to. Even an old fashioned phone can make a profound statement if you want it to.

10. Say It With Flowers

Pink and yellow roses in modern white vase on white table

The oldest way to add a splash of color and decor to a small table is to pair it with a gorgeous floral arrangement in a stylish vase. After all, it’s basically what vases were made for, right? The big perk of having floral arrangements as your decoration choice is that you can switch them out consistently and match the flowers’ color to the rest of your room.

Many people might dislike this option due to the risk of having flowers wilt and rot. However, there’s a quick fix for this: opt for faux flowers instead.

Click here for a beautifully painted flower vase from Amazon.

11. A Sculpted Look

Buddha sculpture with green leaf decoration on side board

Finally, rounding out our list of cool small table ideas is another classic option: a sculpture. We see the decorators chose a petite Buddha statue as a small side table accent in this photo. In your home, the sky is the limit. The truth is that countless artists make beautiful, eye-catching statues every single day. 

Buying a sculpture for your side table will offer a great way to add an artistic twist to your decoration. It’s an easy way to ensure that you’ll get tons of compliments from friends. 

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