My Search for a New Side Table
I love my annual reader survey because I always come away with good post ideas from you. One person asked if I could break down my process when I buy something new for my home. How do I choose what style/color/shape to get for a room? How do I know where to shop? I thought it might be interesting to share some of the steps I take when I’m choosing a new piece for a space, in hopes that it will help you with your next home purchase.
And you’re in luck, because I actually have a new item that I need to buy for our home – a side table to go between the chairs in our living room.
RIP DIY Side Table
About five years ago, I shared this budget-friendly side table, using a leftover piece of material and hairpin legs. It gave the look of an elegant marble side table and I absolutely loved it. That table served us well for a long time, but it was on its last leg, literally. The legs kept falling off, no matter how many times I screwed them back in, because the screw holes were getting too big. It was time for this table to go.
We got rid of the table in the fall and ended up moving this glass circular table next to the couch. It’s actually perfect for this space. I love the size and the shape, and it’s a great spot to rest a drink or the remote control. But since we stole the table from the front window area, that space was now without a side table.
We ended up putting our pouf in between the two chairs, knowing that we would need to buy a new side table for this space, eventually. Well, that day has come!
My Search for a Side Table Between Chairs
Now, let me break down my super non-scientific approach to buying a piece for a room.
Let’s take a look at the room as a whole. When you’re designing a space, you want to incorporate lots of different shapes, textures, and colors. That’s what gives a room that layered look that helps it look balanced and interesting.
And I first must mention that we moved our coffee table out of this space last year to give the kids more room to play. It’s currently living in our basement storage room and we may bring it back someday. For now, this works best for our family.
In our living room, you’ll notice that the couch has a lot of straight lines with the back of the couch and the straight arms. The same goes for the armchairs in the front window. They all have a lot of straight lines.
By putting the round table next to the couch, it breaks up the straight lines and adds some interest to the room. The new side table between the chairs should also be round, to differentiate from all of the straight lines in that area.
So my first feature of the side table was decided…it would be round!
Now, when choosing furniture I like to notice how “airy” or “grounded” it feels in a space, which are two terms I’m totally making up. For example, the couch is very grounded, as it doesn’t have pronounced legs. It feels a bit stocky. The side table next to it, however, is airy. It has legs and an open feel. These two make a good match!
The armchairs in the front window area are definitely leggy and airy. Therefore, I think a more grounded and bulky side table might work for the space.
The Color & Material
Next up? The material and color for the new side table. For this exercise, I scanned the entire room to get a sense of the materials I already have in the space. I have a reclaimed wood TV console, an oak table, and another wood console table. So there is already a lot of wood going on. The side table next to the couch is glass, so I didn’t want another glass table in this space.
I also want the new side table to pop against the light gray armchairs, so I think a darker color would be best. I think every room needs a bit of black in it, and adding more is always a good idea. Therefore, I added black to my search parameters and eliminated any wood options that I found along the way.
The Price Point
Finally, the price point. You might remember this blog post where I dive into the real cost to decorate your home and where you should splurge and save. I mention that I spend more money on pieces that I’m going to actually sit on and use constantly, like my couch. I have no problem spending a bit more money on a piece like that.
A side table though? I don’t think there’s a need to spend a huge amount of money. It’s not something that needs to be super comfortable, since no one will be sitting on it, and it doesn’t need to be the best quality material, since it won’t be used a ton. Therefore, I set my budget at $150 for this piece.
Here are the main retailers I like to peruse when shopping for furniture…
- West Elm
- Pottery Barn
- Urban Outfitters
- World Market
- Facebook Marketplace
One More Shopping Tip
Whenever I find an item that I like that might be above my budget, I always use the Google Lens function to try to find a look-a-like version for less. This is also a great idea if you see a picture of an item and want to figure out where it’s from!
Simply right-click the image and hit the “Search Image with Google Lens” button. For example, I really liked this marble side table from Pottery Barn, but it was over my budget at $400. So I used this trick to try to find other options with the same look.
This page popped up with similar versions of this table. Unfortunately, they were all still pricey, but this is a good trick to use when you’re online shopping!
My Favorite Side Tables
While shopping, I saved some of my favorite side tables. Most of these don’t fit my specific parameters for my space, but they might work in your home!
Black Wood // Round Marble Table // Drum Accent Table // Nesting Marble Tables // Ceramic Side Table // Marble & Brass // Oak Side Table // Marble & Wood // Carved Wood // Acrylic Nesting Tables // Black Drum Side Table // Glass Brass
The Winning Side Table
Well, I found the perfect side table for our space but I can’t seem to find it in stock anywhere! It’s this drum table from Poly & Bark, a brand that many places carry, but I want it with the marble top and black base and that seems to be out of stock everywhere! They have a brass base available, but I think the black is much better for our space. I have my name on restocking lists at a few retailers, so hopefully, it will be back in stock soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for something that beats this one.
Living Room Sources
Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” (walls) & “Simply White” (trim) // Flooring Details // 9×12 Rug // Glass Side Table // Pouf // Couch // Olive Tree // Plant Basket // Floor Lamp // Wood Bowl // Leather Arm Chair (Article, no longer sold) // Gray Arm Chairs // TV Console // Faux Fern Plant // Olive Green Curtains // Blanket Basket // Gold Shadow Box // Colorful Couch Pillow // Front Entry Console
So that’s my side table search saga. I’m still not quite there, but I’ll keep you guys posted if I scoop one up. In the meantime, I hope it was helpful to pop inside my brain for a bit as I figure out new items for a space.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.