Finding the ideal table to place between two chairs can elevate your living room or seating area to the next level. But with so many options to choose from, it can be tricky to select the perfect in-between table that complements your existing decor while serving both functional and decorative purposes.
By taking measurements, evaluating style and material, setting a budget, and more, you’ll be able to find a table that makes your chairs shine.
Measure the Space Between Your Chairs
Before even beginning your search, take time to carefully measure the gap between the two chairs where you want to place the table. This will determine the maximum dimensions the table can be without crowding the space. Consider the widest point between the outer edges of the chair arms, as well as the depth from the chair seats to the edge of where you want the table positioned. Leave a few inches of breathing room on all sides – around 2-3 inches between the chairs and table is ideal.
Keep in mind whether you’ll want to use the surface of the table while sitting in the chairs. If you plan to place drinks or books on it regularly, make sure it’s not so far back that it’s difficult to reach. But don’t size it so generously that your chairs bang into it every time you get up. Find the right balance based on your intended use.
Complement Your Existing Decor
Take a look at the current style and aesthetic of your space when choosing an end table design. Is your decor modern and sleek, traditional and ornate, or boho chic? The table should fit cohesively within the room’s existing vibe. If your chairs have a distinct style, like mid-century or coastal, try to find a table that enhances that look. If your chairs are more neutral, the table can make a decorative statement.
Also assess the materials used throughout the room – is there a lot of wood, metallic accents, glass surfaces? Avoid a table that’s too matchy-matchy, but consider finishes and colors that tie everything together. A vintage-inspired metal table can complement modern leather chairs, for example, by unified through texture. If your chairs are upholstered, a glass-topped table provides contrast while keeping things airy. Take stock of the big picture to select a table that adds to the overall aesthetic.
Select a Durable and Functional Material
Consider how frequently you plan to use and interact with your in-between table when choosing the right material. Will it mainly serve as a decorative accent between your chairs? Or will it see daily use holding drinks, remote controls, and other items? While glass-topped tables add lightweight visual interest, they may not hold up to wear and tear over time. On the other end of the spectrum, a 100% solid wood table may be overkill if the table is just for occasional decorative use.
|Durable but heavy, requires polishing
|Durable finish prevents corrosion
|Prone to scratches, extra care needed
Also think about day-to-day wear and tear based on your lifestyle and family. Rambunctious pets or young kids may be better suited for sturdy wood or metal. Retirees using the table solely for reading may prioritize style over hardcore durability.
Set Your Budget and Shop Smart
From inexpensive IKEA options to designer vintage finds, end tables can vary greatly in price. Set expectations by establishing a comfortable budget for your new table ahead of time. Remember, this is furniture that likely won’t get used or noticed as much as your main couch or dining table, so you may not need to splurge.
Once you have a budget in mind, shop smart by researching prices online and looking for discounts or sales. Quality materials like hardwoods or iron cost more than particleboard or plastic. But lesser-known stores like World Market can offer surprisingly chic tables for less than major retailers. Take measurements along so you can quickly assess if a table will fit the space.
Vintage and secondhand stores also yield excellent finds at low prices. And don’t underestimate just taking a tape measure along to neighborhood garage sales on a sunny weekend – you never know what great end table might turn up.
Read Reviews and Check Dimensions
Narrow down your options by browsing online reviews and checking specific product dimensions during your research. Reviews from other shoppers can give insight on aspects like stability, ease of assembly, and how the color looks in real life. Photoshop can be deceiving, so this is key.
Don’t forget to verify that the measurements will accommodate your space’s constraints. Watch for depth in particular – many end tables run deeper than needed for in-between chair use. An ideal depth is usually 16-22 inches. You want enough surface area but don’t need the footprint of a full-fledged nightstand. Measure carefully to ensure your purchase will fit nicely in the intended space.
See Tables In Person If Possible
While the internet makes shopping and research convenient, nothing replaces seeing furniture in person if possible. Visit local stores to get a firsthand sense of the size, stability, materials, color and style of different end table options. Sit in your chairs and actually imagine the table in the space. You’ll get a better idea of what works.
Seeing tables in person also allows you to compare options side-by-side in a way you simply can’t online. The wood finish or metal base may look completely different in reality than it did on your computer screen. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to thoroughly evaluate pieces you’re considering before purchasing.
Consider Secondhand and Vintage Finds
In addition to visiting retail stores, consider scouting secondhand spots for your perfect end table find. Since you likely don’t need the sturdiest, most indestructible option, gently used vintage pieces offer charm and savings.
Check thrift stores and consignment shops in your area, but also keep an eye on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and OfferUp. Search for dimensions similar to what you need. Even if a table needs some TLC, a good scrub or fresh coat of paint may be all that separates you from a stylish secondhand score.
Go frequently, because thrift inventory changes constantly. And don’t wait for the perfect table – if one catches your eye but needs adapting, grab it. The work you put into a secondhand find makes it feel even more special.
Consult Design Experts If Unsure
If you’re totally stumped trying to choose an end table for your space, don’t be afraid to recruit the expert eye of a professional. Interior designers can provide custom recommendations based on your existing decor, lifestyle and preferences. Describe the look you’re going for and provide photos of your current space.
Ask friends for designer referrals or look on Instagram for accounts with aesthetics you like. Many designers offer hourly consultations perfect for this kind of targeted guidance. Though not free, a small investment here can give you the confidence you need to select the perfect table.
Don’t Forget Logistics of Delivery
When purchasing a table online or from a store that doesn’t offer delivery, make a plan for getting your new piece home. Recruit a friend with a large vehicle or rent a small moving truck if needed. You don’t want to let logistics keep you from finding the ideal table.
Also consider doorway widths, staircases, and tight corners if you anticipate challenges getting a bulky table into position between the chairs. A glass top table will likely be lighter and easier to maneuver than a solid wood plank version.
And don’t forget to account for delivery fees if buying online. Shipping heavy furniture can really drive up costs, so read the fine print. Pickup from a local store may save you money.
Style Your New Table Beautifully
After searching far and wide for that elusive perfect end table, take time to style it thoughtfully once in place between your chairs. Here are some tips:
- Add a lamp for both form and function. Go tall and slim to take up minimal surface space.
- Start a collection, like decorative boxes, art books, or mini plants.
- Hang above or lean artwork against the wall behind.
- Style books vertically with hessian bands to save space.
- Layer on trays to corral remote controls and more.
- Rotate items seasonally – fresh flowers in spring, pinecones in winter.
Edit first before layering on accessorizing items. Clutter will make even the most beautiful table look messy. Add thoughtfully curated objects purposefully. This small surface area provides the perfect creative challenge to refine your styling skills.
Step back frequently to ensure your new table looks proportional from every angle. You don’t want the table itself or any objects on it to appear too bulky and overwhelm the space. Achieve balance based on your chairs and surrounding furniture.
Finding the perfect end table to complement your chairs provides the final touch to create a cohesive, styled seating area you’ll enjoy for years to come. Keep the intended function, measurements, style and budget in mind as you search. Consider materials that reflect your decor and lifestyle.
Take advantage of online tips and reviews, but don’t be afraid to still browse local shops and secondhand sources. Visit stores to evaluate options in person whenever possible. And don’t overlook the importance of properly styling your table once in place. With this comprehensive guidance, you’re sure to find a table that makes your chairs shine in no time.