What Are End Tables Used For? (The Different Types Of End Tables)

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End Tables Complement Your Home Decor In The Same Manner As Earrings Complement A Beautiful Face…

However, when it comes to decorating the interior of living rooms, people tend to pay more attention to choosing the right sofa, storage unit, TV unit, but rarely do they pay much if not any attention to smaller units like end tables; you need to understand that these are equally significant pieces of furniture as you will most likely use them regularly, every day.

Don’t neglect end tables, they are quite important and useful. They can help you not only improve the look of your room but also they will contribute to its practicality.

In this article, we will give you information on everything you need to know about end tables, different types and styles, various ways you can use them, and how to combine them to make your living room look fabulous, so keep on reading… 

What Are End Tables And What Are They Used For?

End tables are tables that are couch height, smaller, and usually stand next to your sofa (or bed). There is no one universal dimension for the end tables, they vary and you can choose the ideal height and size depending on the space you have at your disposal and the height of your sofa.

Usually, they range between 20-30 inches; the right height is usually the one that matches the height of the top of the armrest of the sofa, or other seating furniture.

End tables are your support buddy, as they are convenient, functional, and usually easy to transport; they give you extra space to store the remote, a lamp, or that book you are currently reading, or they are simply there for you to place your cup of tea or coffee while you are lounging.


What Are The Different Types Of End Tables?

Just like any other piece of furniture, nowadays there are many different types of end tables you can choose from.

Below we will present to you different types of end tables surrounding the following 3 different criteria: based on their design, based on their style, and based on the materials they are made from, so we have:

Different Types Of End Tables Based On Their Design:


Nesting end tables

Your mom probably adored these, and if you look at them, you will think they are quite practical. The nesting table, is actually a “collection” of 2-3 tables, from bigger to smaller, and they originated in the 1980s.

Although you may think, cool, 3 in 1, what can go wrong with that, let’s be real, how often will you actually un-nest, and won’t that difference in height be an issue?

And if you consider that there are no shelves or drawers, it becomes abundantly clear that they are not as practical as you thought at first sight.

Drum end tables

Are one of the choices most people consider and that is because they come in so many different shapes and styles: from the good old white-worn-out coastal style to industrial, rustic, contemporary, country, even minimal; as the name suggests, these end tables are in “drum” shape, and usually don’t offer extra storage; yet some models may have side drawer or door for storing items.


Has a design that definitely gives priority to the functionality: the c-table is usually slightly taller and offers tray space over your sofa; its bottom simply slights underneath enabling you to use it as an eating tray.

It is practical, functional, and definitely worth considering if you live with family, need an extra table, or live in a smaller apartment.

Tray-top end table

Obvious of its name, the tray-top end table has a top that is serving as a tray. It can be useful if you buy one on wheels and if you cook often and need a tray and an end table; that being said, this table is not quite beautiful or fancy, and what it makes up in functionality, it usually lacks in looks.

Trunk end table

This end table offers a really good storage unit: you can open it and put inside everything you want; however, here is the tricky part – if you put many things on top of it, you will probably hate when you have to move everything from the top to open it up and get the things you stored inside.

The design is quite nice, especially those that mimic chests and go really well with edgier, rustic styles, and a ton of storage, but be aware of the hassle that comes along with it!

Table style

In the classical style, these end tables don’t have drawers or doors and they are smaller but higher than a coffee table usually they are one of the most preferred styles as they come in many different styles.

Storage Compartment end table

These end tables are usually quite practical as they offer you storage space in the form of drawers and doors. Usually, they are rectangular and more practical, classical; if you choose this design, make sure you won’t be blocking the drawers or doors with some piece of furniture.

Drop Leaf end tables

The drop leaf design of end tables is usually quite interesting: they have these “side leaves” which are extra table space which you can pull up and lock and get more space; usually, they are in a square or rectangular shape, and although this design works well for dining room tables, it is not so popular among end tables.

Casters/wheels end tables

There aren’t many of these as people usually avoid them, but we must admit they can be practical; caster/wheels end tables are end tables with wheels and can be quite useful if you constantly need to move things around.

Otherwise, their mobility may cause trouble for you, so think twice before buying this design.

Adjustable height end table

There are a few designs that offer you adjustable height. Although like casters they too are not so popular, you can still find them.

Usually, their look differs from the classical, elegant one we are used to, but some designs may surprise you, and may actually go really well with an interior in industrial style.

Different Types Of End Tables Based On Their Shape:

Depending on their shape, the side tables can come in any shape, and you can choose the one depending on your preference, needs, and style:

  • Round End Tables
  • Square End Tables
  • Oval End Tables
  • Rectangle End Tables
  • Half-circle End Table
  • Wedge (Triangle) End Tables
  • Free-Form End Tables

Different Types Of End Tables Based On The Materials They Are Made Of:


Wooden end tables

Usually, these are the most traditional and most popular as they can go with any design, style, and shape.

Glass end tables

These usually are in the regular table style or nesting or on a few occasions drum and c-table. Their top is usually made of glass and legs from metal, wood and rarely they are made entirely out of glass.

Metal end tables

These are made of metals, and usually, the base is made of metal and the top may be of wood or other material, like marble, granite, etc

Rattan/wicker end tables

These look especially good with that cottage style, however, although they are practical, easy to clean, and maintain, they have a flaw: if they are entirely made of rattan/wicker, you will need to add a tray on top of them if you plan on adding plates, cups on top of them.

Mirrored end tables

Usually, their base is made out of wood on which mirrors are added to give that new, modern mirrored look

How To Decorate End Tables?

Styling an end table is quite fun and you can transform them into beautiful accent tables.

Think of the end tables as your little helpers, you can use them to assist you with your daily activities, and you can decorate and style them according to your lifestyle.

A vase with flowers/plants accompanied by a few books will do well if you want to achieve that minimal, elegant look; if you want to go for a more rustic style then choose organic details such as crystals, terrariums, some interesting vases, or even a decorative item.

To get the trendy, fun, playful look you can add some interesting frame with your favorite quote, smaller vase, even a candle or some crystal decorations, perfumes bottles, etc.; if you want that modern, female sophisticated vibe, then choose everyday items with some eye-catching golden or silver accents, your favorite lamp, box, jasmine candle or a book. 

How To Mix And Match End Tables?

If you like to spice things up, you can mix and match tables; don’t be afraid to experiment, you can choose different types of end tables.

If you decide to do this, make sure that at least the tones of the wood (or of other material, the colors) are related; it is also important that they are the same height so that the items on them, especially in the cases with lamps are not different heights.

What Are Some End Table Alternatives?

If you want the practicality of the end table, but refuse to get one, here is a list of other items that can serve as alternatives to end tables:

Vintage suitcases, chests

– if there is an entire design of end tables based on these items, why not use the real items to serve as an end table? It will bring vintage vibes to the room!

Stack of books

– if there isn’t a big enough end table for all your books, why not make an entire bookshelf out of them? That’s better, right book lovers?

Floating shelves

– if your sofa is close to the wall, why not use floating shelves as end tables? You will not miss hitting your toes from the table’s legs.


– when you definitely can’t go more rebellious and industrial than that!

Folding chair

– in one moment you have an end table for your remote control and drink, in the next one, extra seating? Quite smart, right?

Trash can

– painted and flipped over, you won’t even recognize your old, metal, trash can, and you will bring eclectic vibes to your room for sure!

A pouf

– combine your favorite poof with a tray on top, and you will have a cute, little subtitle end table in no time!


Besides being functional and really useful, end tables also contribute to the overall look and design of your room.

If you make the right choice, they will complement your interior and tie together the overall look of the room; make sure that you choose one that goes well with the rest of the room, is not overbearing or too big and at the same time is practical and provides you with storage space for your smaller, everyday useful items.

You should also read: End Tables vs Side Tables: What is The Difference