The king-sized bed or the sectional was the easy part. You narrowed down your choices and made a final selection based on what you love. Now, whether you’re trying to complement a tall velvet headboard or a sleek sofa, choosing the smaller pieces of furniture to go with it can be tough. Here are some tips on how to pick out the best sidekick.

Stick to Your Theme

Let’s talk about your vision. Are you shooting for mid-century modern with its distinctive lines and bold colors? Old Hollywood glamour in sophisticated materials and shiny accents? Or traditional dark wood and heavy fabrics? It’s easy to get distracted by sidekick pieces that aren’t in the same style as your vision. Try creating a style board, or using Pinterest or Instagram to help keep you on track. The simple shapes and materials in mid-century modern are very different from the mirrored nightstands and dressers and metallics you’ll find in old Hollywood glamour.

You can keep it simple by buying a matching set of furniture, but many people prefer to choose their own sidekick pieces and inject their personality into the room. A theme helps make the room make sense visually.

Avoiding a Clash

You can still get into style trouble, even if you stick with one theme. When choosing accent pieces to go with your main furniture, make sure you stick with one, or maybe two different wood finishes. A dark finish and a light finish might complement each other if it’s done deliberately. But choosing too many different wood finishes, or fabric patterns, or colors that clash may give you a chaotic bedroom or living room. Not exactly the sanctuary you’re going for.

Balancing Act

Scale and balance are important elements of interior design. You want your furniture to make a statement and not be dwarfed by the size of the room. At the same time, you don’t want your room to look and feel crowded or cluttered. It helps to measure the room where you’re putting the bed or the sofa or the entertainment center to make sure it fits the room. You also want to make sure it leaves you enough space to walk in and out of the room.

You should also take height into account. A bedside table should be roughly the same height as the top of the mattress, or at most, a few inches shorter. A coffee table in the living room should be about the same height as the seating cushions. A side table should be a height that makes it comfortable to turn on the lamp or put a cup on it as you sit on the sofa.

Scale and balance also apply to accessories such as indoor plants. You’ll want to make sure you have enough space for them to grow and thrive and the right kind of lighting for them. Houseplants add a calming touch to your room decor, but you’ll want to be as careful with them as you are with buying your furniture.

Keep your own habits in mind. If you tend to keep a lot of stuff on top of a nightstand, you should choose one with a large surface area. You might also want some drawers to store your books or other items that end up on the tabletop.

Money Talks

This tip is pretty simple. Stay within your room budget. You should have budgeted more money toward that major piece of furniture. Don’t be tempted to overspend on a side table that won’t be the focal point of your room.

Take a Breath

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all your choices, especially if you’re buying for more than one room at a time. If you find yourself uncertain about which sidekicks to buy, it might be time to let your eyes and brain take a break. It can be as simple as going to get a cup of coffee while you mull it over, or even letting yourself sleep on it before you pull out the credit card. You might find it easier to decide after letting your subconscious compare and value your choices.

Picking out all the elements of a room can be a fun experience — but it can also be stressful. Visualizing and mapping out your room decor will help you make the best choices for your style and your budget.

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