Your Side Tables Don’t Have to Match — Here’s Why

Rising Tide Coffee Table

Furniture stores want to make it easy for you these days. Their showrooms are filled with matching sets of the same color and style, encouraging customers to buy all five pieces at once. The bedside tables match the dressers, which match the bed frame and headboard. The coffee table matches the side tables, which match the console table. Everything goes together.

The problem with buying a matching set is that, well, everything goes together. There are no surprises. No delightful contrast.

Style is all about choosing pieces that make your heart skip a beat and give you a thrill of excitement whenever you run your hand over a surface. Homogenous mass-produced bedroom and living room sets rarely inspire these feelings. People buy matching sets because they’ve been taught by furniture stores that their furniture has to “match.” But there is another, much better way.

It’s time to revive the art of the mismatch. Let’s start with side tables.


Image Source: Barbara Purdy via House and Home, photo by Michael Graydon

Choose Slowly

Side tables have a useful role to play, holding coffee cups and reading material, but they can also make a big statement about what you value in the look and feel of your home.

So take your time when choosing different side tables. Think about your purchases carefully and weigh out the function and style of each piece you are considering. (The wonderful thing about using mismatched side tables? If you have more than one favorite, you don’t have to choose—you can have both.)

DC Design House 2012

Image Source: LORNA GROSS Interior DesignBrowse transitional living room ideas

Up the Style Factor

Mismatched furniture makes your space look less like you decorated in a day and more like you curated many pieces over time, which adds a sense of history to their visual appeal. Guests can tell that there’s a story and a unique provenance behind every thoughtfully chosen object.

Matching sets tend to look cookie-cutter bland. When you bring in a variety of colors and silhouettes with mismatched side tables, you add interest and complexity that thrills the eye.

Mismatching also lets you move pieces around and repurpose them for other rooms without feeling like you need to keep a set together, which again makes for an exciting and ever-changing space.


Image Source: Coastal Living, photo by Richard Leo Johnson

Keep It Together

Choose side tables that are the same height and similar in color family so that the design is still cohesive. Even though they aren’t identical, the side tables will feel like they belong together. You can also use matching lamps to bring more consistency to the room.

The Go Fish Side Table and First Mate Side Table from EcoChic are 20” high. And they both feature painted and natural reclaimed wood. No two of our pieces will ever be an exact match, not even two of the same style, because the original boatwood can’t be duplicated.

In other words, the art of the mismatch is alive and well at EcoChic.


Megan Risdon

CEO EcoChic

Megan Risdon is the CEO of EcoChic Lifestyles. She was inspired to found the company when she discovered the possibilities for crafting art furniture from colorful fishing boat wood.