Think outside the box! Whether you need something that saves space, looks cool, or performs dual-function, these unique side table ideas are up to the task. Who says practical can’t be pretty?!

Let’s talk side tables. Typically, they are a staple of living room design, along with a sofa and a coffee table. Honestly, you might not give much thought to them. Perfect for a table lamp and an occasional drink, side tables are usually used for practical purposes. But other times, you might need to “use” it for anything other than to visually help extend existing furniture. No matter your reason for needing a side table, before you purchase one, think outside of the box and consider mixing things up a bit with some unique side table ideas!

10 stylish side table ideas collage


A small stack of suitcases can be both practical and pretty! Typically use an odd number (often 3) and put a large one on the bottom with the smallest on the top. Suitcase side tables also look great in a bedroom and provide extra storage.

three vintage suitcases stacked up as a side table next to a sofa
via Tidbits&Twine


Similar to suitcases, baskets can be stacked up to use as a side table. Alternatively, you can use one large lidded basket.

Lidded basket trunk with leather strap used as a side table between chair and Moroccan poufs

If your goal is to use a side table as a visual extension of furniture, you can even use a tall open basket and put extra pillows or throws in it.



A pouf is a nice alternative to help soften a space with the added benefit of providing extra seating when needed. By placing a large book or tray on top, you can create a sturdy surface on which you can place things, making a pouf both pretty and practical!

Tree Stump

Here’s an idea that brings a bit of the outdoors in! A tree trunk can be used as a side table in a living room or bedroom for a truly unique look. Scale the height depending on your need.

sculptural tree stump used as a side table next to a bed


I saw this pedestal on Antique Farmhouse recently and loved the detail and practicality! An architectural element like this is definitely a statement piece.

architectural pedestal side table next to french chair

Garden Stool

While a garden stool can be used outdoors (and hence the name), they are so beautiful that they are often brought inside to dress up a space. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, but are almost always round and compact so that they can fit in even the smallest of space.

White garden stool as a side table next to a bed with white comforter

Step Stool

A small step stool (or even a ladder) can be used as a side table. It provides a nice flat surfaces on which items can be displayed and is practical in that it can be put to use when needed.


Pick a seat! Any seat! A chair makes an interesting nightstand in a bedroom. Choose a chair that fits with your decorating style. If its upholstered, use a book or tray to create a flat surface on which you can place a lamp, clock, etc.

Antique French used as a nightstand stacked with books and art next to upholstered bed

Butler Tray

Okay, technically this is a table, but is a very small pedestal table that provides an area to put a drink down, but isn’t a standard four-legged wood table so it has a different look.

Tidbits and Twine - Brooke Giannetti bedroom with beige linen and purple accents
Interiors designed by Giannetti Home in Roxbury Connecticut.

The one pictured above is a few hundred dollars, but I found a similiar one on Wayfair for much less.

Not all tables need four legs and a top to be useful. And varying up the type of table you use in a room helps to keep it interesting and unique!

Hopefully, this list of side table alternatives will help you in the future!

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  1. Kim – this is a great variety of options and ideas for side tables! I am so blessed to have my grandmother’s mahogany side tables. There are ‘flaps’ on both sides of these tables, so the can be sized up or down accordingly. They each have two drawers each and a support leg that flares out into 4 pieces. Hard to describe, but I truly love having them!

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