We probably use our coffee tables more than you think—they are our makeshift dinner tables, homework stations, and laptop holders. More importantly, they keep our cups of Joe within reach in the morning and give our wine glasses a place to rest at the day’s end. And much like bookshelves, they offer the opportunity to add fun AND functionality to your space.
So when it comes to styling yours, where do you begin? Here, our designers walk you through what to think of when creating a table arrangement that is not only beautiful, but uniquely usable for you and your home.
Creating groupings on your coffee table gives your space a clean and styled look. Rather than just letting items accumulate on the surface, strategically slide a few together. A stack of coffee table books with a small potted succulent on top creates a starting group, while a votive candle in a tray with a matchstick jar and stack of coasters makes another.
By dividing objects into groups on the table, you give your eye a natural focal point and something to visually explore. Depending on the size and shape of your table, you may be able to create a couple of different groupings rather than just one in the center. Just be wary of adding too much. You still want it to be useful and stylish rather than looking like a catch-all for clutter.
A variation in object height on your table creates instant visual interest, but there’s no need to go sky-high with a vase or sculpture that blocks your view of the TV—starting low with a tray, adding a short stack of books, and topping it all off with a candle or decorative object will do just fine. For living rooms or places the TV is not the focal point, a tall vase of fresh-cut flowers is a beautiful—and aromatic—way to adorn your space.
Layering with textures in addition to heights creates a unique focal point in the room while adding to your space’s overall design style. Think a bone box next to ceramic pottery or a small rattan basket for a boho vibe, glass or lucite with pops of brass or metal accents for glam, or minimalistic vases and candles for a Scandinavian look.
Organic elements work particularly well together—add a wood bowl and some soft greenery and contrast it with a mirrored candle. A vase with pampas grass trimmed to your ideal height is a trendy way to add texture and height to your arrangement.
PICK A COLOR
The colors of your coffee table arrangements set the tone for your design style and have the ability to influence the feel of the room. If you want that crisp, airy look, keep your color selections at a minimum—all white and cream, anyone? Layer up muted and neutral coffee table books with similar toned accent bowls or vases, alternate black and white objects, or mix in pops of gold or bright colors here and there for an accent.
For a more cohesive feel, watch your color and finish combinations. If you’re adding metallic features, stick with a similar metal finish (all shiny or all brushed or matte) to avoid a jumbled appearance. Likewise, too many mixed and matched colors can come off as busy and cluttered unless it plays off the rest of the room. If you’re feeling bright, try stacking books in rainbow order (hey Roy G. Biv!) or sticking to varying shades of the same color (like pale pink, rose, and bright magenta) for a trendy, tonal look.
MAKE IT YOURS
When styling, remember to shoot for what actually works for your unique home situation (looking at you, kid moms and dog moms!). If you have little ones with tiny curious hands, wagging dog tails, or table-surfing cats, choose simple faux items and other unbreakables like a faux potted plant or plastic vase, a woven tray, and LED candles. We all want perfectly styled coffee tables, but real life means using items that can be quickly picked up and put back together if bumped or pulled down.
PUT THE FUN IN FUNCTION
Coffee tables need not only be all style and no purpose—so don’t go overboard with the random knick knacks. Stacking a couple of slim boxes offers form and function by housing remotes and random items that have a habit of accumulating on the table’s surface. Coasters, little jars, and candles (that are pretty enough to double as décor!) are other usable items that can find a home on your table as well. Remember, minimalism is just fine—it’s your table and your style, after all.
Work with a designer to style more than just your coffee table! Get started by taking our Style Quiz now!