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Side Table Styling Tips

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Bookshelves, coffee tables, ottomans, entertainment centers, Whoa!  Living rooms are full of surfaces screaming for some beautiful style. Side tables are often looked over and serve only as a docking station for remotes and cups.  However, these beauties are on the rise and coming back in full force.  So get ready to pull out what you’ve got and lets fill in the spaces with some elegant touches.
For me this project started with some options. Originally I had the table in mind that’s getting the metal treatment (more on that later), but it was too small for this space. I tried another round top that i refinished a few years back, but that was looking a bit too yellow.

Aha…then I remembered this old table that had been collecting dust in my garage for at least 4 years now. Finally I had the perfect space for it!  I picked up this beauty at a salvage yard near my old house in Arizona for $30.  All it needed was a quick layer of color and my leftover Chalkboard paint was the solution. Now that Ive got the base, lets get on with some styling tips!


1. Layers: When decoration any space, layering is the first thing to consider.  If you add a short and a tall layer, your side table will look fuller.  I always consider the space behind the table as part of this equation as well.

Notice the Lamp, vase, and glass terrarium as tall layers, and the galvanized planter and silver tray as low layers. 
2.  Lighting:  I chose a statement lamp for this table.  Its a large side table, making it an obvious choice.  If you are working with a small table, you might consider hanging a pendant above.  This still gives you the important functionality of light but leaves the table for other pretty things.
3.  Metallics:  Silver, Gold, Steel, Brass… whatever tone you choose doesn’t matter, as long as its added to your table.  Mix and match even… there are no set rules here!

I mixed silver and galvanized metal.  I’m sure ill add gold at some point!
4.  House Plants:  Add a houseplant to your table to keep things fresh.  Its good for the air and provides balance.  Succulents are a hot item right now.  Maybe try those, they require little maintenance.

*I already had the clear square vase.  The galvanized planter is actually a utensil holder I found at home goods. The glass terrarium I made by adding a candle holder (Home Goods) to the top of a candle stick I found at Ikea.
5. People:  Family pictures are not reserved only for your walls.  Insert a photo into a frame and place it for all to see.  It makes the space feel more personal.

*I have one at Costco i need to pick up!
6.  Substantial Pieces:  Larger items give the space dimension and layers. Go Big!

This is a rather large table, and completely open underneath.  To balance this display, the under side of the table became just as important to style.  This can be a great place to house extra seating and comforts for entertaining guests or other items you use on a daily basis. 
7.  Candles:  Mmm, they smell great, add color, and come in any scent imaginable.  I can’t think of any reason to NOT add some everywhere.

I made this candle holder from a broken clock I found at Goodwill for $1.50.  I simply painted it white and super glued it onto another candle stick from Ikea.
I just removed the battery mount on back and the flimsy hands. 
8.  Flowers:  Blooms are always in season.  Its a great way to provide change and color to this space.

These are just branches I trimmed from a blooming tree in my backyard!  Who doesn’t love Free!!
9.  Books:  Stacks are great conversation starters.  They also tell a little something about who you are and keep the space personal.  Magazines or books no problem.  Love how they help with layering as well.

*You’ll notice I have a wide variety of sizes, colors, and ganders.  
10.  Glass: Bottles or vases no matter… glass is pretty and provides negative space.  Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. 
There is no need to spend a fortune on styling your side table.  You might be surprised what you can come up with just by cleaning out your closet! I already had the silver tray.  I bought it 1 year ago at an estate sale.  The decorative balls, shells, and belt were all little touches from my “closet”.  The garden faucet broke off my sprinkler pipe during the winter, so obviously it made its way onto my little garden table too! Of course I owned all these books, and the white vase and frame were mine as well.  I did paint the frame with one light coat of Annie Sloan Chalk paint.  Its the same color as my Kitchen Island.  I needed one more blue item to complete the color triangle in this small display.  See if you can spot what I’m talking about.

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