End Table vs Side Table: Which One Is the Best Fit for Your Living Room?

April 27, 2023

When it comes to decorating a living room, choosing the right furniture is crucial. Among the essential pieces of furniture, end tables and side tables are two of the most versatile and functional options. Both are used to provide surface space and storage for various items such as lamps, books, and remote controls. However, their differences in size, shape, and placement make them suitable for different needs and styles. In this article, we will compare end tables vs side tables and help you decide which one is the best fit for your living room.

Size and Shape

One of the most significant differences between end tables and side tables is their size and shape. End tables are typically a bit larger than side tables and have a square or rectangular shape. They are designed to be placed at the end of a sofa or next to an armchair to provide a surface for lamps or decorations. End tables are usually about 24-30 inches tall, depending on the height of the furniture they are placed next to.

On the other hand, side tables are smaller and more compact. They come in various shapes, including round, oval, and square. Side tables are often used to hold drinks or snacks while sitting on the sofa, and their size allows them to be easily moved around to wherever they are needed. They are usually around 22-26 inches tall, which makes them a few inches shorter than end tables.


Another significant difference between end tables and side tables is their placement. End tables are usually placed at the end of a sofa or next to an armchair, which makes them perfect for holding lamps or other decorations. They are also great for setting beverages or snacks on while watching TV or chatting with guests. End tables can also be used in a pair, one on each side of a sofa, to create symmetry and balance in a room.

Side tables, on the other hand, are more versatile in terms of placement. They can be used alongside a sofa, next to a bed, or even as a standalone piece in a corner of the room. Due to their smaller size, side tables are easy to move around and can be used wherever they are needed. However, it is important to keep in mind that side tables should be placed near the furniture they will be used with, as they are not as tall as end tables and may not provide enough surface space for lamps or decorations.

Style and Materials

End tables and side tables come in various styles and materials, making them suitable for different tastes and d├ęcor styles. End tables are often made of materials such as wood or metal and can come in various finishes, including natural, painted, or stained. They can also have features such as drawers or shelves for additional storage.

Side tables can be made of similar materials but are also available in more unique options such as glass or acrylic. They can have various finishes, including mirrored or painted, and can also come in more modern designs. Due to their smaller size, side tables can be a great opportunity to add a pop of color or a unique design element to a room.


When it comes to functionality, both end tables and side tables serve similar purposes. They both provide a surface for lamps, drinks, and decorations, and can also offer storage in the form of drawers or shelves. However, due to their larger size, end tables may offer more storage space or functionality, while side tables are more versatile in terms of placement.


In conclusion, choosing between end tables vs side tables comes down to your specific needs and style preferences. If you need a larger surface space near your sofa or armchair and want additional storage, an end table may be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you need a smaller, more versatile side table that can be easily moved around, a side table may be the better option. Regardless of which one you choose, both end tables and side tables can add function and style to your living room.



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I enjoy designing and curating experiences both virtually and in 3-dimensional reality. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and currently practice professionally, but I also manage a few other ventures.
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