The Side Table Rule HGTV's Emily Henderson Recommends Following In Your Space

Side tables are an essential addition to any space, particularly in a living room. Not only do they break up multiple sofas or chairs clustered together, but they also act as a valuable place to put down drinks and snacks. However, as shared by HGTV regular Emily Henderson, you should always keep the following lighting rule in mind when deciding which side table to opt for.

Via her blog Style by Emily Henderson, the designer got specific about the best place to put a side table. "For a lamp sitting on a side table the bottom of lamp shade should always be at about eye level ... It's the same concept as the floor lamp rule. You want to have the light enhance your living room time not make it uncomfortable with harsh light in your eyes. Take the seat height of your cushion, side table height and lamp height to figure out what is going to be the best option for you and your home," she stated.

A light source should be welcoming, not distracting

As Emily Henderson pointed out, nobody wants to feel like they're under a spotlight when trying to relax. By ensuring your sofa, lamp, and any cushions sit at a similar level, you'll be guaranteed to make a cohesive rather than an uncoordinated look. Another key thing to remember when picking a lamp for a side table is the size of the lamp base. If your living room is decorated with light, delicate pieces, a block base will look out of place and vice versa.

For example, if the width of your chosen side table is narrow, a lamp with a narrow stem is a better choice than a chunky one. This is not to say contrast is bad. Sometimes, creating contrast in ways like putting a vintage side table next to a modern sofa is a great way to mix textures and styles, especially if you can't decide on just one. No matter which style you prefer, making sure your lamp fits in well is important so your space has the perfect lighting.

Keep the whole room in mind to create the best look

Side tables are an essential item, but this doesn't mean you should just pick the first one you see and then call it a day. As well as matching the aesthetic and style of a room, a side table should fit in well with your other furniture. In the same blog post, Emily Henderson shared another must-know rule about the living room essential. "Side table(s) shouldn't be deeper than the depth of sofa they are next to," the designer wrote. "This is kinda a no-brainer but just in case, make sure your side table is no deeper than your sofa. It's an awkward look have a side table that looks too big for a sofa." 

In terms of size, Henderson stated that a 2- to 3-inch gap is ideal for when you're working out how large the space left between table and sofa or chair should be. This gives you enough space to comfortably relax but still puts your drink within easy reach. Remember, spacing furniture properly is vital. Otherwise, your living room will look overcrowded, even if it's not.