6 Simple Tips for Decorating a Coffee Table

styled coffee table

Coffee tables are an essential piece of furniture for the living room because living rooms get a lot of love.  The coffee table can be used for a homework spot, casual dining, a gathering for remote controls, and places to hold books and other collectables.   I've gathered 6 Simple Tips to help you decorate your coffee table, no matter what your design aesthetic is.   You definitely don't have to use all of the ideas, but I'd suggest not doing anything more than this.   

photo: decorits

Tip 1 - Use a tray

Use a tray to corral some of your things.  It can be wicker, silver, wood, or whatever you like. The photo above has a very mono-chromatic look, and its small tray holds a special candle and a mini floral arrangement.  Sometimes, even using two trays can be really helpful. Clear the table quickly for something such as game night.

photo:  blog.decorsteals

Tip 2 - Greenery or Flowers

Add a beautiful green plant or some fresh flowers.  I love fresh flowers, but of course you have to maintain them and make sure the vase of water doesn't get tipped over by an enegetic kiddo (or adult).   There are some really nice green faux plants that you can choose from, or another idea is to go outside and clip some  greenery from a shrub or tree in your yard, and place them in a decorative pot or vase.    Look how interesting the white and wheat-colored blossoms and grasses look in the above photo.  Below, the size of the branch that overhangs is a great scale for this chunky table.

photo:  studio-mcgee

Tip 3 - Use books

If you have great hardback books with photos, these are called "coffee table books". They look amazing when stacked alone or when other objects sit on them. Book topics that look best are of art, design, architecture, landscape, travel, and nature.   However, if you love hot-air balloons, sailing, or bicycling then by all means, use those!   It's your house and your style!  By stacking books, you can elevate some objects to be higher than others.  

coffee table

photo:  picklebarrel

Tip 4 - High, Medium & Low

When adding decorative objects to your coffee table, think High, Medium, and Low. This pyramid or triangle pattern is very pleasing to the eye.  When styling a smaller table, use your plant or flowers as one of these three objects, maybe books as your second item, and a third object could be a candle or special figurine.  Bonus:  All three items might fit on the tray, or possibly you may not need a tray at all if you have a small table or ottoman.  Use your best judgment.   For a large table, these objects could be three pieces totally separate from your florals and books. Notice how the books in the photo above hold small boxes which gives them more of a presence on the large table. 

photo:  bhg

Tip 5 - Boxes

Find a decorative box to hide essential, but not-so-pretty things such as remote controls, coasters, lotion, eye-glass cleaner, lip balm, etc.   It'll look great, and all of your necessities will have a place to live.  If your table is really small, like the round ottoman above, this may be an item that you want to skip.  By the way, isn't it cool how an ottoman can become a table just by adding a tray?   Multi-purpose at its finest!

coffee table decor

photo: stylecurator

Tip 6 - Personal Objects

It's always fun to add something personal.  That could be a fun elephant like I've included on my table below, or maybe one of your books is a special, collected item for you. Maybe your son created a clay pot like the one above that you still treasure, or you want to display your favorite scented candle.  My wooden beads(below) are my fun, personal piece just because I made them.  I've seen an antique camera or magnifying glass sit on a book, and that always looks interesting.  Whatever you have that is meaningful should be included to make your table special to you.

If you're selling your house, can you use these same tips to stage your coffee table?   Yes, but I would suggest removing about half of your items so that your decor doesn't distract the buyer.  To see some other suggestions about home staging items, read my Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell blog post.

Hopefully you've found these 6 tips simple and helpful.  Below, I've included some links to products if you're in the mood to purchase something new for your coffee table styling. I may receive a small commission on some of these, but at no extra cost to you.  If you need some console or entryway table ideas, read my blog post called 7 Simple Tips to Design Your Entryway.  As always, I'm here if you have questions or need help.   

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shana@cloverlanedesign.com
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