Whether you’re refreshing your lounge, styling your sunroom or updating the deck, accent tables serve an obvious practical purpose, as well as an important design element in creating a balanced and harmonious look in the room. While picking a matching coffee table and side table from the same range offers instant cohesion, there’s certainly room for a more creative approach to styling your spaces by pairing contrasting yet complementary tables. We’ve got a few things to consider when mixing and matching your coffee tables and side tables.
Accent tables that are too big for your space will make the room feel uncomfortably cramped, while tables that are too small will feel like dollhouse furniture and not achieve the anchoring effect that they should. The scale of your coffee tables and side tables should be (in the words of Goldilocks) just right, particularly in regard to the size of the sofa. If you have a large room, go big to create balance. If you have a more petite space, pick smaller tables, leaving a 50cm gap between the coffee table and sofa.
When mixing accent tables, cohesion is crucial. Your side tables don’t need to be twins (or even siblings), but they should be relatives. To achieve a sense of unity between your coffee tables and side tables, find an element of consistency. This could be in the form of shape, material, scale, style or colour. Two of your tables, for instance, could be completely different in terms of colour and material, yet they’re both round and, therefore, united.
While there’s nothing wrong with matching your coffee table and sides, if this is the look you’re going for, ensure they’re purposefully matched. Tables that are close in appearance but not the same look like a mistake. Alternatively, create visual interest by intentionally contrasting tables. Remember to have a cohesive element so they are noticeably different yet in balance. For a coastal or boho look, pair timber and rattan. For a more luxe look, you could match marble and metal.
Visual weight is also an important element to take into account as it affects the balance of the room. For instance, a drum-style coffee table that is visually heavy can be ‘lightened’ with a more delicate side table with narrow legs to achieve a balanced combination. Likewise, a ‘heavy’ centrepiece marble coffee table that anchors the room can be ‘softened’ with a couple of pedestal-base side tables to dilute the visual weight in the room.
If you like to keep your materials consistent (such as all timber), make sure they match perfectly (i.e. the same wood and/or the same collection). An assortment of slightly different pine tables, for instance, will look uncoordinated. Alternatively, contrast your materials to really have fun with mixing your coffee tables and side tables. Don’t be afraid to pair striking textures — such as oak and marble or mirror and metals — to create a visual feast in your rooms or outdoor spaces.
Of course, if the eclectic look is not for you, you can always opt for a matching set. Coffee tables and side tables in the same collection with give your living room a sleek, uniform aesthetic. Some of our most popular sets are the Edie Mirrored Coffee Table Chrome and Edie Mirrored Side Table Chrome, and the Luna Round Coffee Table Black and the Luna Round Side Table Black.
Your coffee table should be around two-thirds the length of your sofa and positioned around 45–50cm from it so there’s plenty of room to move. Coffee tables should be the same height or 5cm lower than your sofa so it’s easy to put drinks down. Side tables can sit more flush against the sofa as you generally don’t need to walk around them and should be the same height or around 5cm shorter than the arm of the sofa (hence, taller than the coffee table).