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If you’re looking around your living room and wondering what it could be missing, the answer is likely, maybe even probably, an end table.
If you’re shopping for an end table (also known as side tables), you probably have a specific need, which luckily most basic end tables are more than capable of meeting. Maybe this is hyper-specific, like a place to keep your record player, or you’re just tired of waving your glass of water over the empty space next to the couch where your side table should be.
The best end tables work in a variety of spaces, from your living room to home office. They make great bedside tables too.
We put together a list of decent end tables that fit effortlessly with the rest of your furniture, with the ability to move them around as needed (say, if you need it in front of you to eat dinner in front of the TV, or need it to hold cups and drinks at your next party).
Sturdiness is high on our priority list for furniture, since quality can be wildly inconsistent across brands and manufacturers. Furniture should be constructed well enough to withstand at least a few years, and all of our picks are durable enough to hold everything from your snacks and remote, to small devices like a printer and audio system.
We also considered every piece’s design and appearance, which we chose for simplicity. All of the selections on this list are pretty classic in style, so they’re unlikely to look out of place no matter how you tend to decorate.
1. Convenience Concepts Oxford End Table
It’s perhaps odd how often heavy translates to high quality, but it’s true that the weight of this end table’s materials evoke good construction and general durability.
Our favorite all-around option, we like the style of this end table which is basic (but not too basic), includes display shelving, and comes in a variety of finishes so you can customize according to your own tastes.
Its dimensions are relatively small — 16 x 16 inches in length and width — but that’s enough space to hold your drinks, snacks, and small accessories. Two shelves add storage space for books, magazines and other knick-knacks.
Pros: Sturdy, durable, and has a classic design. Built-in shelving provides extra storage space.
Cons: Some may prefer a more contemporary style.
2. FURINNO Andrey End Table Nightstand
This end table is perhaps most useful as a nightstand because of the included fabric drawer, but we think this storage option is handy for any room where you keep odds and ends you need to put away and don’t necessarily want on display (I.e. video game controllers or crafting materials).
This table also comes in a wide variety of colorways, including pink or polka dots in case you are suddenly struck with an urge for whimsy. The look is clean, minimalist and contemporary, with rounded edges at the table top for a sleek, smooth appearance.
People like that it is convenient and easy to put together, without the awkward bulk of so many other nightstands and end tables. It probably won’t last as an heirloom to pass on to grandchildren, but it is a great quick fix for a particular need.
Pros: Easy to assemble and comes in a variety of colors. Pull-out drawer is great for keeping things out of sight.
Cons: Not as sturdy as other options.
3. Ameriwood Home Parsons Modern End Table
We’ve said we selected these end tables for their simple designs, and this is perhaps the simplest of them all. If you’re a function over style kind of person, this is your end table.
We’ve found this table to be especially useful when you just need it to hold one very particular thing, but you’re not looking to add a design element to the room. It’s popular as a table for a printer, for example, or as a small desk in a kid’s room. That said, it is also a perfectly attractive option as a side table or nightstand.
As for assembly, it is literally just a matter of screwing the legs into the top, taking all of five minutes.
Pros: Convenient for specific uses and easy to put together.
Cons: Doesn’t add a strong stylistic element.
4. DHP Rosewood Tall End Table
This tall end table has a little more going for it in terms of design, while still keeping it minimal and versatile. We particularly like this piece as an accent in small spaces, since even end tables advertised as small can be a tight squeeze on occasion.
It has a bottom shelf for display or storage (we recommend display) and is made of high quality materials that feel durable and sturdy. It’s very narrow and very lightweight, so it’s easy to move around, and its higher than average height makes it notable without trying to do too much.
Pros: Vertical space-saving design. Lightweight materials make this easy to move and re-position.
Cons: Won’t hold heavy loads.