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How to Style a Coffee Table?

how to style a coffee table
Effortlessly Chic: Mastering Coffee Table Styling

Coffee tables are a staple in most living rooms. They’re the perfect spot to rest your feet after a long day, but they’re also a blank canvas for styling. 

A well-styled coffee table can enhance the overall aesthetic of your living room, making it look more put-together and inviting. It’s an opportunity to showcase your decorative skills while also making your space more functional. Additionally, it adds depth, texture, color, and interest to an otherwise overlooked area.

How to Style A Coffee Table? – Basic Principles

Before you start styling your coffee table, there are a few basic principles you should consider. 

1. Think about the purpose of your coffee table. Is it primarily for function or decoration? This will help guide your decisions when it comes to choosing items to display on it. 

2. Consider the style of your living room and choose decor that complements it. You want everything in the room to work together harmoniously. 

3. Keep it simple. You don’t want your coffee table to look cluttered or overwhelming; instead, aim for balance and symmetry. Keep in mind that less is often more when it comes to coffee table styling. A good rule of thumb is to use odd numbers when grouping items (e.g., three candles or five books). This creates visual interest without being too busy. 

4. Be mindful of scale; you don’t want any one item on the table to be significantly larger or smaller than the others. 

5. Don’t be afraid to mix materials (e.g., wood, metal, glass) or styles (e.g., vintage and modern). The key is finding elements that complement each other rather than clash. 

With these basic principles in mind, let’s delve into more specific tips for creating a stylish coffee table display that’s uniquely yours.  

Choosing the Right Coffee Table

Size and Shape Considerations

coffee table size and proportion

The first thing to consider when choosing a coffee table is size. The size of your room and your existing furniture will determine the appropriate size for your coffee table. As a general rule, your coffee table should be about two-thirds the length of your sofa. 

If you have a smaller space, opt for a smaller coffee table or one with hidden storage. 

Square or rectangular tables work well with traditional sofas, while round or oval tables are better suited for sectional sofas. 

Material Options


When it comes to materials, there are many options available for a coffee table. Wood is the most popular material due to its durability and versatility. It can be stained or painted in various colors to match any decor style. 

Metal tables add an industrial touch and come in many different finishes such as brass, chrome, or blackened steel. Glass tables are sleek and modern but may not be suitable if you have small children or pets. 

Stone tables like marble offer a luxurious look but require more maintenance than other materials. 

Ultimately, choosing the right coffee table is about finding the perfect balance between form and function that fits your unique space and personal style. 

Layering and Arranging Decorative Items

Creating a Focal Point with a Statement Piece

small coffee table set decor

When styling your coffee table, it’s important to create a focal point that draws the eye in and creates interest. This can be achieved by incorporating a statement piece, such as a unique vase or sculpture, that is larger than the other decorative items on the table. 

Place the statement piece slightly off-center for added visual interest. It’s also important to choose an item that contrasts with the coffee table itself, whether in color or material, so it stands out. 

Balance and Symmetry with Smaller Items

While a statement piece can create interest on your coffee table, smaller decorative items can add balance and symmetry to your overall design. Try grouping smaller items together in odd-numbered sets (i.e., three candles of varying heights) for balance and visual appeal. 

When arranging these items, consider playing with different levels of height – taller pieces toward the back of the arrangement, and shorter pieces toward the front – to create depth and dimension. Remember to leave plenty of negative space between groupings for a clutter-free look. 

Adding Greenery and Natural Elements

Bringing the outdoors in is a great way to add life to your coffee table. Incorporating plants not only adds texture and color but also purifies the air. Choose plants that fit your space and aesthetic – succulents are great for small tables, while taller plants like snake plants or fiddle leaf figs work well for larger tables. 

Incorporating Plants for Texture and Color

When selecting planters, consider the size, shape, and material of your coffee table. A wooden planter or basket adds warmth and organic texture to natural decor styles, while a sleek ceramic planter can give off a more modern vibe. 

When arranging multiple planters on your coffee table, vary their sizes and heights to create visual interest. 

Using Natural Materials like Wood or Stone
pine cones candles coffee table styling

Add more natural elements to complement the greenery by incorporating materials like wood or stone into your coffee table decor. 

Wooden coasters work well as functional decor pieces while adding warmth to the overall look. A decorative stone sculpture can serve as a unique focal point that adds both texture and depth. 

The key is finding balance between all of these elements so that they complement each other without overwhelming the space. Adding greenery and natural elements creates an inviting atmosphere that will make your guests feel welcome in any season. 

Playing with Height and Scale

glass vase coffee table styling

Coffee tables can be tricky to style because they are relatively small compared to other furniture pieces in the living room. To make a statement, you need to play with height and scale when decorating. Decorating with items of different heights will add visual interest, while balancing the proportions of the table will create a harmonious look. 

Including Personal Touches

The coffee table is a great place to showcase your personality and style. Adding personal touches can make the space feel more inviting and reflect your interests. 

One way to do this is by displaying books or magazines that you enjoy reading. 

Stack them neatly on one side of the table or spread them out in different areas. Choose books with interesting covers or ones that have sentimental value to you. 

Displaying personal items like books or photographs

books candles plant coffee table styling

Photos are another way to add a personal touch to your coffee table. Use small frames and display pictures of loved ones, pets, or travel photos that bring up happy memories. You could also create a theme such as black and white photos or photos from a specific event. 

If you’re not into photography, try displaying other sentimental items such as antique trinkets, figurines, or even small sculptures. These can be great conversation starters when entertaining guests. 

Adding sentimental objects

If you have children, consider displaying their artwork in frames on the coffee table. Not only will it give the space a more personal touch, but it will also show off their creativity and hard work. 

Additions like these will help bring out an emotional attachment while creating an inviting atmosphere for guests visiting your home! 

Creating a Theme

Choose a central piece to build around (artwork or sculpture)

coffee table styling theme decor

When styling your coffee table, it can be helpful to choose a central piece that will serve as the anchor of your design. Consider selecting something that reflects your personal style and interests, whether it’s an art print or a unique sculpture. 

Once you have your focal point, you can begin building around it by selecting décor items that complement its overall look and feel. To create a cohesive look, think about the size and shape of your central piece, as well as its color scheme. 

If you’ve chosen a bold statement piece that’s full of color, consider choosing more neutral decorative accents so they don’t compete for attention. Alternatively, if your centerpiece is more muted in tone, you might opt for brighter accessories to add pop. 

Coordinate décor items based on a theme (e.g., beachy, rustic, modern)

farm house styling coffee table

If you’re struggling with how to style your coffee table beyond just picking one or two decorative pieces, consider creating a theme for the whole setup. This could be anything from beachy vibes with seashell accents to rustic elements with natural wood textures. When choosing a theme for your coffee table styling project consider the overall aesthetic of the room in which it sits. 

You want this space to blend seamlessly with its surroundings rather than stick out like a sore thumb. To do this effectively think about how you might pull inspiration from other areas of the room – matching colors in accent pillows or fabrics in curtains – while sticking to only one distinctive element that will make this coffee table stand out. 

With all of these tips in mind remember that trial and error is key here! Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try new combinations until you find what works best for both form and function. 

Seasonal Styling Ideas

Decorating for holidays or seasons

holidays coffee table decor idea

One of the joys of decorating a coffee table is the ability to change it up based on the time of year. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, or summer, you can use seasonal decor to give your coffee table a fresh new look. For example, during the fall season, you could add a small pumpkin or two on top of a stack of books. 

During the winter months, you could place a small Christmas tree on top of your coffee table with lights and ornaments. Seasonal decor will add personality and character to your coffee table that guests will love. 

Changing up decor for a fresh look

fresh flowers coffee table decor

Even if it’s not a holiday or season, changing up your coffee table decor is an easy way to give your living room an entirely new feel. One idea is to switch out decorative items every few months. For instance, putting away ceramic figurines and replacing them with candles in beautiful holders can create an entirely different ambiance in the room. 

Another idea is to add a vase with fresh flowers, which will help keep things lively and colorful while adding some visual interest that can be changed whenever desired. Styling your coffee table can be highly creative and fun! 

With these tips and tricks at hand, you’ll find yourself experimenting with new styles all year round – creating personalized looks that reflect your unique style and personality. 

Practical Considerations

Leave Space for Drinks and Snacks

Coffee tables are made for holding drinks, snacks, and even meals. While you’re styling your coffee table to look beautiful, don’t forget about its primary function. 

Ensure that there’s enough space between the décor items for the cups, glasses, or plates to sit comfortably without wobbling or being knocked off by accident. As a general rule of thumb, leave about six inches of space around each item on your coffee table. 

If you’re worried about ruining your beautiful décor with spills and stains, invest in some coasters. Coasters come in many different designs to match your coffee table’s style and can protect it from water rings and other marks that can damage its surface. 

Use Coasters to Protect Surfaces

Coasters are also perfect for keeping the coffee table clean. If you’re serving hot drinks or food, place a trivet under them to prevent heat damage or use coasters specifically designed for hot items. 

You can also find coasters made from materials like cork or felt that will absorb any excess moisture from cold drinks

Choose metallic options if you want something elegant or try unconventional materials like wood slices for a rustic touch. The possibilities are endless! 

How to Style a Coffee Table: Wrapping It Up

Now that you’ve followed all the steps to stylishly decorate your coffee table, there are a few final touches that can complete the look. Adding a decorative tray or bowl in the center of your coffee table is not only practical but also adds an artistic touch. You can fill it with seasonal items such as pinecones in winter or seashells in summer. 

Another great addition is a stack of fashion or art books with their spines facing outward. This not only provides height but also adds color and texture to your arrangement. 

If you want to add some warmth and coziness, consider adding candles or string lights around your coffee table area. They will create a relaxing atmosphere and make your space feel more homey. 

Experiment and Have Fun

Remember, these tips are just guidelines. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and arrangements until you find what works best for you. 

Add personal touches such as family photos or mementos from travels to make your coffee table unique and meaningful. Also, don’t stress too much about perfection! 

The beauty of decorating is that it’s subjective, so trust your instincts and have fun with it! If something doesn’t feel right, play around until you find what feels good for you. 

Styling a coffee table can seem overwhelming at first but by using this guide as inspiration, we hope that we’ve made it easier for you! 

With some careful consideration of size, shape, texture and color choices along with adding personal elements like books or decor items on top – anyone can achieve a beautiful look on their coffee table. After all, when done right, you can turn an ordinary coffee table into a living room showstopper.

How to Style A Coffee Table? – FAQs

Q1: How often should I change the items on my coffee table?

A: There’s no set rule for how often you should change your coffee table items. It depends on your personal preference and the season. Some people enjoy rotating their displays monthly, while others may only change their items seasonally or for special occasions.

Q2: Can I incorporate plants or flowers into my coffee table display?

A: Absolutely! Plants and flowers can add a touch of life and color to your coffee table. Opt for low-maintenance plants, such as succulents or air plants, or use fresh or faux flowers to add a pop of color to your display.

Q3: How do I prevent my coffee table from becoming cluttered?

A: To prevent clutter, use trays and bowls to group items and create designated spaces for functional items like remote controls and coasters. Ensure that the scale of your decorative items is in proportion to the size of your coffee table, and avoid overcrowding your display with too many items. Regularly clean and maintain your coffee table to keep it looking organized and polished.

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