Small Budget? Big Style! DIY Side Table Decorating On A Dime

Looking around your home, you may have an itch to upgrade your decor. But taking on full room makeovers requires time and money. A simpler solution? Focus on small styling projects, like sprucing up a side table. Side tables are little decorating canvases that can add so much personality to any space. The problem? Many ideas for elevating side tables feature expensive purchases and tricky DIY projects. But we’re here to prove you can decorate these petite furniture pieces with impressive style on even the smallest budget.

In this post, we’ll share our very best thrifty side table decorating tips and hacks. With a dash of creativity and a few dollar store supplies, you can completely transform a basic side table into a stylish focal point that looks far more high-end than its pricetag. Intrigued? Let’s dive in!

Assessing Your Side Table Decorating Needs

Before choosing any decor for your side table makeover, take some time to analyze the existing setup. This will help you craft a cohesive design plan tailored to your unique space and needs.

Take Precise Measurements

You’ll need your side table’s exact dimensions – length, width, and height. This allows you to shop for decor pieces and accents scaled to fit proportionately on your tabletop. An oversized vase overwhelms a tiny table, while a petite candle gets swallowed on an expansive surface. Measure first for a balanced finished look.

Evaluate Current Decor Style

Look at the surrounding room’s color palette, textures, and overall aesthetic. A farmhouse kitchen calls for different decorative objects than a modern living room. When styling your side table, select accents that coordinate with your existing style for cohesiveness. If you want to change up your room’s look, use the table to introduce that new style gradually.

small side table decorating ideas

Define Your Side Table’s Function

Determine how you need to use your side table. Will it be purely decorative, or do you also need it for functional purposes? For example, if you want to use the surface to hold morning coffee, opt for a tray to corral mugs, coasters, and creamers in an organized fashion. But if it’s display-only, you can fill the entire space with vases, books, and other decorative objects with more freedom.

Mind the Space Limitations

Take note of your side table’s footprint. A dainty table calls for equally miniature accents. Bulky items will overwhelm the small surface. When working with a petite table, favor vertical height over wide horizontal objects. And limit yourself to one or two key focal points – clutter defeats the purpose. Edit ruthlessly and stick to decorative essentials on downsized side tables.

Creating Your Side Table Decor Vision

Now that you’ve analyzed your side table space, it’s time for the fun part – dreaming up your ideal decor! Follow these tips as you envision how to transform your boring table into a beautiful accent piece.

Choose a Standout Focal Point

Every styled side table needs one star of the show – a focal point. This should be the largest or most eye-catching object, like a stacked book arrangement, gleaming candle stand, or vibrant floral bouquet in a ceramic vase. Place your focal point prominently in the center of your table, then build out the rest of your look around it.

Select Complementary Accents

To support your fabulous focal point, add smaller yet coordinated accents. For example, surround a crystal vase with votive candles, river rocks, and eucalyptus sprigs. Or display quirky figurines around a stack of antique books. These supplementary objects enhance the overall look when artfully clustered near your centerpiece item.

Incorporate Visual Interest

Create depth, dimension, and visual intrigue by using accents with varied textures, colors, shapes, sizes, and materials. Combine glossy ceramic vases with natural burlap bowls, and sleek metal frames with rustic wood candlesticks. An eclectic mix makes for a texturally rich, eye-catching table vignette.

Observe Proper Scale

As mentioned, editing is key for petite side tables. Resist overcrowding the small surface area. Taller vertical objects open up the space better than wide horizontal pieces. And always incorporate diminutive accents – a giant sculpture crushes a tiny table.

Edit Down to the Essentials

Limit your decor to one or two focal points plus a couple complementary accents. Anything more starts to look cluttered, disorganized, and visually overwhelming. Precision is better than quantity when styling side tables.

Thrifty DIY Decor Ideas for Your Side Table

Why splurge on expensive store-bought decor when you can DIY stunning accents on a dime? Here are our favorite budget-friendly ways to add personality to a plain side table using materials you likely already own.

Upcycle Old Books from Home

Stack a series of thrift store finds, vintage novels, or just books off your own shelves to create effortless height. Try alternating directions and adding bookends for a polished look. For stability, lay a tray down first, then artfully arrange book towers on top.

Create Photo Displays

Print out cherished photos and decoupage them onto dollar store frames for heartfelt accents. Or decorate flat frames with scrapbook paper, tissue, ribbons, lace, or wallpaper for a custom look. Your own photography also makes for original budget-friendly art.

Style with Faux Flowers

Forget about constantly buying fresh flowers. Fake blooms from the craft store give you floral style at a fraction of the cost and effort. Pop a pretty silk peony stem in a recycled teacup, or gather an eclectic bouquet in a squat vase for long-lasting beauty.

Spray Paint Dollar Store Finds

Raid the dollar store for ceramic vases, candle holders, and trays. Then elevate them with a dose of spray paint in your color of choice. This inexpensive upgrade makes bargain accents look far more luxe. Metallics and bold brights pack the most punch.

Repurpose Everyday Items

Use what you already have in inventive ways. Corrall remotes and keys in empty mugs or jars for concealed storage. Place books inside crates or baskets to get them off the table surface. Turn a macrame wall hanging into a woven piece of wall art leaning against your tabletop focal point.

Showcase Meaningful Collections

Display treasured trinkets, like sea shells from beach vacations, decorative spoons from your travels, or sentimental family figurines. Grouping a series of tiny decorative objects makes a big visual impact while showcasing what you love.

Focal point itemComplementary accents
Stack of booksBookends, small plant, table lamp
Ceramic vaseFaux blooms, river rocks, candlesticks

Maximize Functionality in Your Table Decor

While aiming for style, don’t forget your table also needs to work for your daily habits. Here are functional touches to build into your design.

Use Baskets for Concealed Storage

Woven baskets instantly add texture, but also provide a home for items you want to tuck away, like charging cords, coasters, and TV remotes. Look for baskets that fit your table’s height to optimize the hidden storage space.

Add Compact Lighting

If your side table is a spot for hobbies, reading, or drinking your morning coffee, lighting helps make it more usable. A small LED strip or minimalist table lamp saves surface space while letting you see what you’re doing.

Try Wall-Mounted Shelving

Get extra storage and display space above your table with floating shelving. This opens up your tabletop while adding coordinated decor. Great for stashing books, vases, or baskets near your side table focal point to continue the vignette.

Use Trays to Conceal Clutter

A decorative tray instantly makes any items look tidier and more pulled-together. Use trays in finishes like wood, ceramic, woven, or hammered metal to corral smaller accents. when it’s time to dust, just pick up the tray and everything comes with it.

Layer in Textures

Fold a cozy throw blanket over part of the table for tactile texture. Try natural textures like a cotton crochet blanket or chunky knit wool. Just drape and fold thoughtfully, allowing some of the table surface to still peek through.

Putting It All Together

Now that you’re feeling inspired to DIY decorate your side table on a dime, it’s time to pull your look together. Follow these steps:

Gather Your Thrifty Materials

Hit up dollar stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and craft stores to collect unique accent pieces and project supplies on a budget. Or, look around your home for items to repurpose as decor.

Style Your Focal Point

Start by placing your bold focal point object in the center of the table – this anchors the look. A vase full of faux blooms, ringed candle stand, or stacked book pyramid are eye-catching options.

Add Supporting Accents

Next, artfully arrange complementary objects around the focal point. Place them slightly behind, in front, and on both sides to create alluring vignettes.

Edit Until Clutter-Free

Stand back and look at your tablescape. Remove pieces until the look feels decluttered. Remember – stick to just one or two focal points and a few thoughtfully placed accents.

Make Adjustments

Tweak item placement and play with heights until you achieve a visually balanced, welcoming look. Finesse the details with subtle rotations and small shifts.

Enjoy Your Styled Table!

Even with a strict budget, you’ve created a personalized side table focal point with real decorative impact. Let yourself feel proud when admiring how great your newly decorated table looks in its space!

Who knew you could make such a decorative statement on a small side table with just a couple cleverly chosen dollar store finds and flea market style? As we’ve shown, elevating side table style doesn’t have to drain your wallet. With resourceful thinking and a dash of DIY spirit, even compact tables can become the eye-catching focus of any room’s decor.

We hope these budget-friendly decorating hacks sparked some ideas for your own petite side table. Remember, limitations can be a blessing in disguise when decorating. Necessity breeds resourceful creativity. So embrace the small size, find inspiration in thrift store treasures, and let your inner decorator run free! With a smart game plan and fearless use of spray paint, you can style up those often-overlooked side tables into conversation-worthy focal points. Your humble sidekick table awaits its frugal Cinderella moment!

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