The Simple Way to Style a Coffee Table

The coffee table provides a fantastic opportunity to display meaningful items, and there are many approaches you can take to styling it.

As always, I prefer to keep it simple. I actually like having some room on a coffee table to … you know … set a mug of coffee on.

So keep in mind when styling your coffee table - or any surface in your home - that an Essentialist style will help you live beautifully but also functionally and simply. Resist the urge to get carried away.

Tips for styling a simple but beautiful coffee table:

 Kelly Nutt Design, photo by Ryan Garvin

Kelly Nutt Design, photo by Ryan Garvin

  1. Keep some space and don’t fill it up completely. So that means that you’ll need to take size into consideration - if you have a small table only one or two things might go on it. If you have a large one you can make a display and still have a room around the perimeter.

  2. Continue with the style in the rest of your room/home. So…meaningful, personal and not cluttered.

  3. Use varying sizes and heights of objects to make things interesting. But don’t put a display of flowers or something so tall that you can’t see someone opposite you when sitting down and talking. Having a magazine-worthy coffee table is nice in theory, but keep it functional for real life.

  4. If you use a large ottoman as a coffee table, consider not putting anything on it all (or perhaps simply drape a folded throw over it). The point of an ottoman is to put your feet up and your bum on. If you would like something more sturdy so you place your drink on it, find a decent sized tray and put one item in it - maybe a sculpture or a plant or candle - and then leave the rest empty so you can use it as a place to put your coffee or wine.

Ideas on how to begin:

1. Use a tray.

Group things together in a tray to keep them all contained and neat. This works especially well if you have some small objects you’d like to display - having them contained within a tray makes them stand out more yet look less cluttered. Or within a tray you could put a plant, a interesting antique and a candle together, for example. Or a vase of low flowers, a rock from a trip you went on and a jar of shells from your favourite beach. Think in threes or fives.

2. Stack things.

Stack a few large-size books or a bunch of magazines and put a small plant or decorative object on top of them. Beside that could go a plant or a little basket to hold remote controls. Or stack a couple of small antique boxes to make a display with a couple of candles around them (a stack of something is counted as one in the rule of threes or fives).

3. Use a bowl or two.

A big beautiful bowl on your coffee table could hold anything meaningful - photos, postcards, shells, rocks, a jumble of antique door knobs you collect. That might be enough, or add two other smaller things with it - perhaps another smaller bowl or basket for remotes and a plant or slightly taller decorative object.

Take a peek at these beautifully and simply styled coffee tables for inspiration. Click on photos for sources.

 Studio McGee

Studio McGee

 Amber Interiors

Amber Interiors

 Style Curator

Style Curator

 Wayfair

Wayfair

 Home Bunch

Home Bunch

 Stylizimo

Stylizimo

 HomeviaLaura

HomeviaLaura

 House Beautiful

House Beautiful