Despite being used mostly for holding lamps, decor and the occasional beverage, living room tables often end up playing several different roles. In the middle of a busy week they can quickly become a desk, dining spot or extra stacking space. Although they are often last-minute additions, end, console and occasional tables bring function and style to your living space. As you get ready to revamp your accent tables, keep these tips in mind

How many accent tables should I buy?

When you’re looking to build your living room table collection, is it important to evaluate your space. While having one coffee table and two side tables might be standard, that might not be an option for you. Instead of cramming several pieces into an already tight room, try having just a coffee table or adding a space-efficient nesting tables, a folding tray or a corner table as an alternative. Ottomans with trays also make great alternatives, because they provide a flat surface and extra storage, while a thin, long console or sofa table against the back of a couch saves valuable wall space. If you have some extra room to fill, add other small accent tables throughout the room, such as a bar cart for holding all your favorite adult beverages.

Should my living room tables match?

Once you figure out your space limitations and layout, it’s time to make design decisions. Buying a set of matching coffee and occasional tables is often cost-effective and easy, especially if you are going for a more traditional living room feel. If you’re looking for something more contemporary or eclectic, mix things up by using different materials and styles, but be sure they each have something in common — several wood tones or too many random colors can make the room appear disjointed.

What accent table material works best for my space?

The material you decide on says a lot about your style, too. Darker woods are often seen as more traditional, while an industrial wood and iron look is usually more contemporary. For a more modern look, try plastic. Some materials can go with anything; depending on the frames, glass accent tables can be everything from traditional to modern, while distressed wood can be eclectic or shabby chic. While the look is important, also keep in mind what’s practical for you and your family. Glass tabletops might be dangerous for children and also attract fingerprints, while darker colors, especially black, easily show accumulating dust. Find a good balance between style and function that works for your needs.