How to Decorate Your Accent Table (With Pictures)

Decorate Your Accent Table

Accent tables are a great way to add variety to a room or improve the functionality of an area. Unlike coffee tables, they fit in small areas without eating up the floor space. The biggest issue you will run into with a coffee table is decorating it so it does not wound the visual appeal of your room.

This is not hard to do when you tackle some root issues like what size table to get, where to put it, and how to keep it clutter-free, but there are some basic guidelines you should adhere to. Read on to learn how to decorate your accent table in a way that will tie your room together.

Accent Table Decor Ideas

The key to decorating your accent tables well is keeping their surfaces minimal and free of clutter.

Clutter is inevitable, regardless of what you see on social media, but limiting what lives on your accent tables is a great start. You should also utilize things like baskets, trays, or hanging options to keep the surface as clear as possible.

Three Pieces of Decor

Three seems to be a golden number when it comes to design, and it is no different when decorating an accent table.

While you can use more than three items to decorate, you should max out at five. Anything more tends to be too much, and it will crowd the table regardless of size.

Make sure the decor items you use vary in height, but more on that later.


Placing baskets on or under tables gives you the freedom to be a bit messy without the mess running wild.

In your foyer you might want to place a large basket under your console table to hold all your shoes. This does a few things.

Accent Table With Basket
Accent Table With Basket

It gives you a place to remove your shoes without having to go far from the front door so you will not have to take a detour before you can relax in your own home.

The basket keeps shoes in the same area instead of letting them scatter in your entry. Putting the basket under a console table can also help to mask it. Even if you do not care about having a basket of shoes when you walk in, it can be nice to consolidate.

Smaller baskets on the top of tables can collect things like mail or the content of your pockets.


If you are not a fan of baskets on tabletops you should consider a tray. These also create a catch-all center, but they are much less bulky than baskets. You can also easily move a tray around, and they double as more surface area.

Accent Table With Tray
Accent Table With Tray

Trays create a visible boundary for a set of things on your table. Instead of throwing your keys and change on your entry table you can drop them into a tray. While the motion may not be different, the edges of the tray help to visually corral the items, making everything appear more put together.

Hanging Items Nearby

If your table does not have enough space for a basket or a tray you should consider putting up some hooks or even hanging a basket on the wall so you can avoid cluttering the tabletop.

Plenty of people do this in their entry py setting up hooks for their keys and jars for their chance. This lets you still use the space you deemed as functional without making a mess.

Leave Space for What You Need

You should ensure there is leftover space for any items you might need to set down regularly, like phones, drinks, or books.

You can test this out when you are setting up your decor.

Light and Texture

Tables are great for adding surface to a room, but at the end of the day anything that is stationary and takes up space encroaches on the liveliness of the room. Tables can also flatten a room out, so you will have to balance them out by adding lighting and texture.


The easiest way to do this is by adding plants. These can double-dip in other design areas. For example, adding a vase filled with flowers adds:

  • Color
  • Height
  • Life

If you think the room needs more texture, consider adding a spillover plant, like philodendron or string of pearls, to cascade over the edge of the table.

Accent Table With Plants
Accent Table With Plants

If you have limited space on a table and need a smaller option then there are plenty of succulents that can meet your specific style and need.

Nightstands can be enhanced by plants that improve air quality, like aloe vera, or plants that reduce anxiety, like lavender.

If you have a larger table that seems a bit bare you might even dare to add a whole floral arrangement to fill it in. This is a great option for seasonal decor.

You do not have to commit to a living breathing plant either. There are plenty of artificial plants that look plenty real. Just take the time to dust them off everyone once in a while.


You can add a lamp to almost any accent table in your home. Because they take up so much space they play a huge part in properly decorating your tables and tying them into the room, so take the time to make sure their design fits well with the rest of the space.

Accent Table Lamps
Accent Table With Lamp

The lamps you choose should also provide lighting that is adequate to the area. Lamps next to seats should be able to light up the entire seat and then some, but they should not be so bright as to illuminate the entire room.

The warmth of the light will also play a huge role in how well the lamp fits in. While brighter light is great for floor lamps, most of the time you will want to make sure you fit your table lamps with warmer bulbs. These create a more intimate atmosphere instead of engulfing the entire room.

Decorate Your Accent Table to Retain Function

At the root of everything your accent tables should have a purpose beyond visual appeal. The fact is that you could have put anything in the space, but you chose a table. Decorate the table in a way that allows it to do its job.

Keep Necessary Items Close at Hand

There is little worse than sitting down and immediately having to get up. Avoid this by keeping items most commonly needed at or near the table. Think of things like:

  • Chargers 
  • Coasters
  • Tissues
  • Reading material or accessories

If the accent table’s sole purpose revolves around hosting a plant then consider keeping a small watering can nearby.

If you can, choose items that compliment your space. If you need to have tissues at hand then use a decorative cover to ensure they match your style. Use cord fasteners to manage any wires in the area.

This guideline is especially important in the bedroom. While the bedroom is not the main room for showing off your decorative abilities, your ability to decorate your nightstands or accent tables will directly affect how you feel about the space.

Leave Room For Essentials

Another key aspect of keeping your accent tables function is ensuring you leave adequate space for the items you will bring to them. Usually, this comes in the form of drinks and technology, but every space is different.

If you find yourself having a hard time leaving enough space go back to the section about basket and trays and reevaluate.

Play Off of Existing Decor

An accent table is not the focus of your room, so it should play off the style of other items or pieces of furniture that hold more weight. Use decor that helps you accomplish this.

While this should be considered when you are shopping for an accent table, it is not a dealbreaker. The accent table should be able to function as a foundation for the decor. It should not try to tie into the style of the room on its own.

Keep Things Cohesive

For the most part, you will want to use things in the same color schemes and style as the rest of the room. This will create a seamless connection between the items, even if your accent tables are mismatched or do not outright match the general scheme.

The easiest way to do this is by adding lamps that both match each other and the other furniture and decor in the room.

If your room is full of greenery then try to add a bit to each table, but make sure it does not look out of place.

The book trick is another great idea for enforcing a recurring theme throughout the room. You can even choose books with covers that match the style of the room to deepen the connection.

Throw in a Touch of Contrast

Accent tables are also a great way for being a bit bold. They give you a space to add things that may not match the room but you still love. Because accent tables are smaller, the contrasting idea should not clash with the overarching theme too much.

If the surface of your accent table is bland, like a plain white top, you should reinforce the idea of contrast. Adding items that are too similar will result in the tabletop eating them up.

Pay Attention to Height

While most people are worried about whether furniture will fit the floor area of the room, decorating your accent table will be difficult if you ignore the height of other objects in the room around it.

Before you start to explore this you should know that the ideal height for end tables is somewhere between the seat level of the couch or chair and the arm of the chair.

Where Tall Items Work Best

Taller items work better when they are up against something, like a wall. If you left the area bare there would be a disconnect between the table and the wall, but taller items like lamps and vases seem to connect the table to the wall. Both areas are useful for framing the item (under and behind it) so they are tied together.

Tall Items Work Best
Tall Items Work Best

If your table is backed by a stair wall then you have a fantastic opportunity to blend the otherwise awkward structure in the room. Use decor of varying heights on the table to mimic the rising levels of the stairs, but make sure they are not in a position where they can be kicked accidentally.

A space that does not follow this guideline is behind the couch (unless your couch is backed by a wall). Usually when you are puting decor on a sofa table you will want it to be taller. This is because shorter decor items will be eaten up by how massive the couch is in comparison.

Adding Height

If you find that your decor is not tall enough to have a visual impact you should look into how you can add on that extra height.

An easy way to do this is by adding a stack of books to the table. While it would be best if these were books you were familiar with, you can actually just go to a thrift store and buy a bunch of hardcover books to use as decor.

You can stack the books horizontally or place them upright like they would normally be on a shelf. It really just depends on what helps you balance out the decor on the surface.

The Value of a Visual Triangle

The idea of the visual triangle is that creating triangles when decorating is pleasing to the eyes, and it is usually true.

When you are creating visual triangles on your table surfaces this looks like having two pieces that are lower or closer to the surface while your third marks an angle that breaks away from that original flat line.

Visual triangles can also be created with the artwork on the wall behind your table. 

For example, in your foyer you would not want to place three pieces of decor in front of the mirror above your table. Instead you would put two that are lower profile, maybe a tray and a small plant that brushes the frame of the mirror. Anything more than that would throw off the triangle dynamic and obstruct the mirror.

Add Personal Touch

The last thing you should consider when decorating your accent table may seem like an afterthought, but it should not be. Items that cannot be replicated are what make your home yours, so filling it with as many memories as possible not only ties a room together, it ties everything back to you.

Things like pictures, heirlooms, and souvenirs will fill the place with memories and happiness.

When placing pictures on your tables make sure they are not too big. You can help blend out the harsh edges of the frame with smaller plants or pieces of decor.

Clumping souvenirs from the same trip together can keep the theme apparent on one table, but if you can effectively space them throughout the room you are weaving a more intricate web.

Heirlooms look great on console tables. This is also a safer place for any fragile items you may have, especially if you have small children or animals that might knock them off lower accent tables.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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