The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Table Styling

There is no one right way to go about coffee table styling! So forget all the “rules” you saw on HGTV, let go of the idea that it has to be a formal, static fixture in your home, and read on to see how to style your coffee table like a pro! Heck- by the time you’re done, you may realize that you don’t even need a coffee table!

There is no one right way to go about coffee table styling! So forget all the “rules” you saw on HGTV, let go of the idea that it has to be a formal, static fixture in your home, and read on to see how to style your coffee table like a pro! Heck- by the time you’re done, you may realize that you don’t even need a coffee table!

Grab the Coffee Table Styling Cheat Sheet!

 
Grab the free coffee table styling cheat sheet!
 
 
 

Coffee Table Styling Tip #1: Choose a Coffee Table to Suit Your Needs

Before you even start think about your coffee table styling, you need to make sure you have the right coffee table for your lifestyle!

Coffee tables are seriously such a weird piece of furniture! I feel like it’s a given that we all have one and that it has a static set of accessories- such a traditional way of thinking!

Here are some things to ask yourself:

Do you use your coffee table as an ottoman?

Then maybe you need an oversized ottoman!

There is no rule that says you HAVE to have a coffee table- so old school!

Maybe part of your lifestyle is to Netflix it after a hard day and you just want to put your feet up.

Or maybe you have limited seating and an ottoman would serve a better purpose as additional seating.

And then there’s the kids. So many of my momma clients choose to have an oversized ottoman instead of a coffee table. Kids can jump up on it, bump into it, and not hurt themselves.

Do You Need More Storage In Your Home?

 Then you’ll definitely want to get a coffee table that has some hidden storage, either in the form of a drawer or a lift top. Just don’t let the clutter creep in. You can hear all about my take on clutter in this blog post.

Do You Have a Small Space?

Totally with you on this!

There’s a couple of things that you can do:

  • Get a glass or lucite table to take up less visual space
  • Keep the coffee table light and off the ground and not bulky

Coffee Table Styling Tip #2: Determine How Your Coffee Table Will Be Used

Do you actually drink coffee or cocktails at your table?

Is it the hub of your technology for the room?

Is it the center of the most amazing on-going chess match (this would be me!)?

Does the table serve double-duty as a place to eat and/or do work?

This is a really simple step, but super important to do before you get any accessories!

If you table is cocktail central, you’ll need everything for happy hour ready at the table.

Technology is ugly, so you know you’ll need to hide it or store it.

If you play a game frequently, your game should be highlighted!

And if you use your coffee table for something other than recreation, you’ll need to make sure you don’t over accessorize so you have space.

Coffee Table Styling Tip #3: Choose Accessories that Serve a Purpose

There is no one right way to go about coffee table styling! So forget all the “rules” you saw on HGTV, let go of the idea that it has to be a formal, static fixture in your home, and read on to see how to style your coffee table like a pro! Heck- by the time you’re done, you may realize that you don’t even need a coffee table!

The way I see it, there are two types of purposes an accessory can have:

  • A functional purpose
  • A meaningful purpose

Functional accessories include coasters, boxes to hold remotes wires, a candle to make your house smell good.

Meaningful accessories are those pieces that just tickle you- they mean something to you on a deeper level than just having a bunch of pretty things.

And a deeper meaning could be that a piece just makes you happy!

I love brass animals. They’re so dang cute and I enjoy spreading them throughout my house.

I love books! I’m a veracious reader and love having my favorite volumes within an arm’s length.

I’ve already mentioned that I enjoy playing chess with my husband, and I have a set of vases that mimic chess pieces.

So take some time, tap into what is really meaningful for you and what you will need for your coffee table to function properly.

This may mean that you don’t find the perfect accessories right away, and that’s completely okay! I’d much rather you gather and collect over time and have pieces that will serve a higher purpose than for you to have a bunch of accessories on your coffee table (and everywhere else in your home!) that serve no purpose and are just glorified visual clutter.

Coffee Table Styling Tip #4: Vary Heights for Variety and Other Styling Wisdom

Now that you’re clear on what kind of table to get, it’s function, and what accessories to purchase, let’s talk about some actual styling tips!

1.     Varying heights makes for a more interesting arrangement: having something small, medium, and tall next to each other, even if it’s a simple vase, candle, and coasters, will add some depth and dimension to your table.

2.     Use books to add height: Can’t find anything tall you love? Then find some books that you do and add something to the top, like I have done with my brass cranes. (Just remember- don’t go too high or you’ll ruin visibility to people in the room and the ever important television).

The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Table Styling

3.     Use a tray to create a boundary and for easy removal: In my office I live stream from my coffee table, which requires me to setup a tabletop desk and a bunch of tech, so my tray (which has a box full of wires, a brass animal, coasters, a candle and matches) is easily removed so I can work. Trays also establish a zone. In my living room I have my chess board and a tray, two zones. In my office, I have a similar situation, only with a tray and books. This is especially useful if your table is on the bigger side.

4.     You don’t need to go overboard. If you’re more of a minimalist or have kids that will touch everything, then you may want to go more simple. A beautiful coffee table does not have to be overly accessorized.

Coffee Table Styling Tip #5: Determine Your Accessory Formula

Have you ever seen articles on Pinterest that say that these are the five elements of every coffee table vignette?

I’m so not down with that. You should create YOUR OWN formula for your coffee table styling!

So to not be a cookie cutter, I want you to come up with an easy list of go-to items that you’ll put on your coffee table. Shoot! Do it for your side tables and consoles too! This way you’ll know what to shop for, you won’t waste money on a bunch of junk at Home Goods just to make everything look pretty, and you’ll have a table that is truly you!

Here’s my formula:

1.     Something personal (My chess board, my moon planter)

2.     Books (I love, love books, but if you don’t, leave them out!)

3.     A tray (For functionality)

4.     A candle (And perhaps some matches)

5.     Coasters (Must be pretty)

6.     A box for hiding visual clutter (an absolute must!)

7.     A vase (Go for something meaningful!)

8.     Something vintage (This is normally my brass animals, but sometimes I mix it up).

9.     Something cheeky (This normally takes form in one of the above pieces, such as my Cock/tail coasters).

And I don’t always use all of my go-to’s on one table. But having a list of the types of accessories you need and love will make shopping so much easier! And I use this list for all parts of my house- not just my coffee table!

The main takeaway is to have a table that is functional before anything else and think about how you can use accessories to enhance that function and give yourself a unique style that is meaningful to you!

So what’s your favorite, go-to tips for coffee table styling? Leave a comment below so we can add to the list!