The side table — otherwise known as the end table, occasional table, or cocktail table — is not the world’s most thrilling home purchase. (When was the last time you or anyone you know said, “I can’t stop thinking about my side table!”) But, in its own quiet way, a side table can really set the tone of a room, as it dutifully holds a lamp, remote control, snake plant, or bowl of Magic Spoon. A bright-yellow one is a nice way to introduce some color without going full-on Sesame Street; a Lucite one is a nice way to add a minimalist ’80s vibe without going full-on Wall Street. We did the work of finding the right one for you by rounding up affordable (no more than $200), but expensive-looking, side tables you can buy on Amazon (some of which are actually stools but do the same job). The selection below includes colorful side tables, clear side tables, side tables made of brass and wood, all-white side tables, and even a few side tables that double as places where your (small) pet can hang out. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can click on any of the links in the previous sentence to jump straight to that section.
Colorful side tables
A bright side table like this one is a great way to add some life to your living room without, say, reupholstering the entire couch — and then regretting it.
This circular red option from Kartell is just as much of a mood-lifter, with the added benefit of two storage compartments that help reduce clutter.
This vibrant coral side table also has storage in the form of a small drawer and shelves for anything (candles, books, booze) you might want to display.
Working out to just about $20 per stool, any one of the five in this kindercore-esque set would pop as a side table. The stools you don’t use as a table will come in handy when you need extra seating for guests, and their stackable nature makes them easy enough to tuck away when not in use.
Few side tables on this list are as guaranteed to start conversation — or be confused for a piece of sculpture — as this one.
We think this statement side table would make a great home for some flowers or a mushroom lamp.
Clear side tables
An acrylic side table is a great way to conjure 1980s-era minimalism without veering too hard into American Psycho territory. In addition to providing instant style, it’s incredibly easy to clean. This one has the added benefit of folding away easily.
This acrylic end table has a handy extra shelf for magazines, coffee-table books, or a laptop.
The nifty thing about this S-shaped glass table? It can be flipped to become a horizontal coffee table, should you ever be in the mood for a refresh.
Okay, so this table isn’t technically clear, but we think its mirrored finish makes it just as unobtrusive. Like the two side tables above, it also has convenient built-in storage.
Brass and metal side tables
This brass table has a (faux-) marble top that can support as much as 50 pounds.
The top of this teal-accented table is a removable tray, and you can fold the base and slide it under the couch if you’re extra-short on space.
This gold-finish table has a handy lip around the edge of each shelf to help prevent anything you might knock over from falling to the floor, and feels rather elegant in an understated sort of way.
Wood side tables
One of the most handsome options we found, this set of three wooden side tables can be nested, arranged together (as shown), or divvied up throughout your home.
We’re also admirers of this pair of all-bamboo side tables that have deep storage and, as shown, can be stacked atop one another.
If you’re looking for a less literal way to get the Aalto stool–as-table look, this minimalist Christopher Knight end table would be a good, less-expected choice.
And if you’re more of a maximalist, this solid wood table (that can also function as a stool) has an eye-grabbing base you can stare at for hours. According to the designer, you can buy two or three to create as big of a side table (or coffee table) as you’d like because the piece is designed to seamlessly fit next to itself in multiples.
While this table isn’t made of wood, it comes close: Rattan is still a natural material that lends a lovely decorative touch to this decidedly mid-century-modern end table.
White side tables
We have long been fans of Yamazaki Home for making functional pieces that also look nice and don’t cost a ton. That pretty much sums up this airy side table, which has not two but three different tiers for storing bits and bobs.
You wouldn’t know from looking at it, but the top of this hourglass-shaped stool can be removed to reveal an interior storage bin.
Another table with a 50-pound capacity, this simple white option has a wide surface for large coffee-table books and even board games.
Pet-friendly side tables
As it turns out, there’s a whole cottage industry behind side tables that double as comfortable perches for your pets. This charming industrial option has a cat cave for playing hide-and-seek and a scratching post and mat for sharpening claws.
This side table has a low-to-the-ground entrance for cats to access a secluded litter box or resting spot. Meanwhile, you can plop a lamp, a stack of books, or some picture frames on top.
This stylish end table also doubles as a pet crate and can fit small dogs up to 20 pounds. According to the manufacturer, it’s made from Ecoflex, a recycled wood-and-plastic material that won’t warp, crack, or split.
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