How to Decorate a Side Table - House on Winchester

How to Decorate a Side Table

I get asked a lot how I know how to display items in my decor.  🤷🏼‍♀️ My response is always, “I don’t know.”  But, Deb has pointed out that not everyone knows HOW or WHERE to display their favorite pieces of “junk”.  So, I figured maybe if I started writing a post on this subject, I could come up with a few pointers that I use.  Which, in turn, would be a better answer than the above.  😂 Here is how I decorate a side table.

First Things First

I’m no expert, whatsoever.  And, you all know what’s coming next… Don’t call the you-didn’t-go-to-school-for-this police on me. 👮🏼‍♀️  Because, I’m not claiming that I did.  I did not go to school for interior design.  Quite frankly, I didn’t go to school for anything after high school except to be a secretary.  Yes… people who are 152 years old (I’ve been lying this whole time) really did that back then.  😂  And we took shorthand and actually typed on typewriters.  But that’s beside the point.

I bought my first house when I was 20.  So basically I’ve had a lot of practice.   I subscribed to all of my favorite magazines back then:  Country Living, Country Homes, and Romantic Homes.  Those magazines were referenced quite frequently.  I had a large collection from years past before we moved, and sadly, those were one of those things at the end that went bye bye.  (I’m sad about that actually)  They were my tried and true “go to” when it came to inspiration.

I learned some tricks along the way of what I liked and what I didn’t like from those old magazines.  I used to cut out the pictures and keep them in a scrap book for a future quick reference.  Yes, girls, those were the good old-fashioned Pinterest boards.

How to Style a Side Table - House on Winchester

How to decorate a Side Table

There are several things to keep in mind.  And, this trick works for a minimalist and people who like their spaces pooped up with lots of junk, like me.

  • All of your items on your side tables should be at different heights to avoid the look of clutter.   This little trick makes each individual item stand out on their own.  🤗
  • When displaying a collection of LIKE items that are all the same size, use old books, baskets, or cake stands to make them stand out.
  • Adding a tray underneath several items on a side table will unite everything into one group… and make them friends… so they will play nicely together… like good little boys and girls do.  (Where the hell did that come from?) 😂
  • Use an odd number of items.  Three items at different heights and textures are always my go-to.  Five works for a large end table.  If you are using a stack of books for height, I count the entire stack as one item.How to Decorate a Side Table - House on Winchester
  • I prefer to keep all of my side table decor cohesive in color, but that’s not a must.  If you have lots of color in your home, color away.
  • I like to mix a combination of woods, metal, glass, and different textures together to keep things interesting.
  • Tuck some greenery into bare spots.  A side table looks perfect with a tall lamp, a medium size candle stick, and an old bowl filled with greenery.  It’s very simple but makes a nice little grouping
  • And finally, examine every angle.  I will walk into the room from several different ways to see what it looks like from every entrance.  Or I do the old “sneak up on it” trick.  I stand with my back toward the table and turn around really quick.  It works.  😂


So there you have it.  A few little tried and true tips on how to decorate a side table.  I hope this helps more than the “I don’t know” statement that I always use.


Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  You know that I pledge my love to each and every one of you.

Buh bye now, said in an old lady’s voice who is now mourning the demise of her stack of magazines.  They were like old friends.





14 thoughts on “How to Decorate a Side Table

  1. Bobbi

    I think I use some of the tricks or techniques you wrote about. I think I need to get better at stacking at different heights! I have a lot of similar collections as you 🙂 however, i am in love with vintage metal toys from the 20′ s and 30’s…a few from the 40′ s. Our prior home was much larger and our intent was to size down. Struggling with my little toys and where to put them. My kitchen and laundry room toys have stayed in their rooms but gotta work on finding spots for the others as they are a bit industrial but I love ’em. Took shorthand in high school and really sucked at it! I think shorthand was created by and for right handers which I am not! Thanks Danelle!

    1. Danelle Harvey Post author

      hahaha I loved shorthand. What good it does me now, huh? And, yes…stack those toys on old books. That would look really cute!

  2. Cindy Langhorn

    Oh my goodness I’m dying over here.
    I remember taking shorthand and typing on a typewriter AND I have some Country Living magazines from 1982!
    I have tossed quite a few but have about 20 that I can’t part with.
    I’ve noticed a new Magnolia magazine collection starting!
    You are a gem and make me smile constantly.
    Thank you and White is where it’s at!
    Oh yeah I used to be a makeup artist! Too funny.

    1. Danelle Harvey Post author

      hahaha That’s awesome. I actually held my high school’s record for fastest shorthand record. Now that’s something, isn’t it? 🤣

  3. Kelly

    Great tips!! I parted with my beloved magazines a couple of years ago and it was one of the hardest things to do. I had to tell my husband to throw them out cause I couldn’t do it lol.

    1. Danelle Harvey Post author

      😂 That was me… but I was so over moving and it was one of the last things. Now I’m sad. 😢

  4. Vickie Wehring

    I went to work as a secretary at an Insurance Co at 17 (156 years ago) after HS graduation. Typing and shorthand…FUN TIMES! I retired from the state after 28 years where I had advanced all the way to a Loss Control Rep (workers’ comp)! Your tips are great as I’ve been struggling with how to decorate my grandmothers linen chest!

  5. Pat

    I took shorthand and hated it! 😊 I learned to type on a manual ~ you know, those 1840 models. I was so relieved when dictaphones came into the business world. 😄

    Thanks for taking the time to share this decorating tip with us. I need to think about the different height issue. I recently moved and, like you, was so tired that I threw away so many beloved magazines. ☹

    1. Danelle Harvey Post author

      You just get to the point during the moving process that you just can’t carry one more thing.

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