End Tables: To Match or Not Match



end tables

End tables always have to match, don’t they? Those are the rules. To not have matching end tables is to defy the laws of style! It’s reckless, weird and no one ever does it, ever.

Oh, baloney.

Setting aside the fact that you can do whatever you want with your end tables, including not having them at all, there are plenty of circumstances wherein it may serve your style just fine to have mismatched end tables, or an arrangement even more radical …

Mismatched End Tables

Frankly, this can work in a bunch of different layouts and style themes, but your best bet is if you’ve gone with a more eclectic look.

Eclectic décor typically refers to disparate styles, but it can just as easily connote a deviation from the tradition of matching end tables. And, this can actually end up looking really cool.

One trick to to making this work is to find a common element in the tables; perhaps a similar finish or surface material. Or, you can choose end tables that are different, but from the same period. The littlest thing can be what keeps them together, even if they look completely out of sorts to the casual observer.

One End Table Only

This works best in one of two scenarios: 1) the furniture you’re complementing abuts a wall, or 2) the end table in question is one of a kind and simply can’t be paired, either in kind or in style.

The latter situation occurs frequently with antiques and garage-sale must-haves, and can work well with the right décor. And in a pinch, you can always arrange your furniture in a way that allows the table to stand alone, like placing it between two accent chairs (see example to the right).

End Table Odds & Ends

Then there are those times when an end table is so spectacular that you just have to let it do what it wants. The inherent design of end tables – small and with limited purpose – allows designers to get very creative, sometimes to the point where they produce a thing that demands its own show space.

So, don’t feel like you have to match your end tables – they’re the kind of things that demand a little freedom.

Matching is no problem when you order this pair of end tables from Strata Furniture, which are hand-carved in solid wood by Thai artisans. 

A fine example of an end table that needs no accompaniment, this wedge piece from Convenience Concepts comes in two finishes and features a bottom shelf for extra storage.

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