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The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto 

The Ultimate Guide


15 Pretty Ways to Decorate and Style a Coffee Table

well-styled coffee table

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto 

Coffee tables have a prominent place and function in a living room. Since eyes will be on it, keep it looking neat. You might even want to style it like you would a work of art. Use artistic techniques to design the look, such as striking a balance with symmetry and composing a color story or style.

Take a look at more tips to help you achieve easy coffee table displays.

  • 01 of 15

    Pare Down the Design

    Coffee table styling detail

    Sarah Greenman / Houzz

    Simple displays, like this one from artist Sarah Greenman, are attractive without disrupting the eye. This display looks tidy with a clear acrylic tray and keeps the focus on books and flowers. Do not overcomplicate or crowd the table.

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  • 02 of 15

    Keep It Balanced

    Close up of an elegantly styled coffee table
    Amanda Carol Interiors, photo by Laurie Perez Photography

    Balance is an essential component of any coffee table display. One of the easiest ways to achieve visual harmony is with symmetry. On the table styled by Amanda Carol Interiors, three is the magic number. The middle object grounds the display. The smaller piles of books are similar in size to balance the entire display. Three sets of table legs and three sections on display make this table, and the whole room, appear united and orderly.

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  • 03 of 15

    Compose a Vignette

    Simple and elegant coffee table display
    Massimo Interiors

    By composing a coffee table display, you're creating a vignette or trying to leave an impression. The key to a perfect vignette is working with items that tie together. Items can connect through similar color, style, shape, or theme. In this display by Massimo Interiors, the commonality between the objects is subtle. Three objects are rounded while the other objects are rectangular. 

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  • 04 of 15

    Use a Tray

    Coffee Table Styling
    Vanessa Francis Design, Photo by K West Images

    A tray is a simple Pinterest-worthy trick that stylists and decorators like Vanessa Francis Interior Design use to make items work together in a display. The right tray can corral items on a table into one elegant and unified presentation. On this table, the tray and vignette are white, keeping the look minimalist.

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  • 05 of 15

    Consider Proportions

    Elegant farmhouse coffee table styling
    Park and Oak Interior Design

    When it comes to coffee table styling, items look best when they're the right size. Items should be large enough, so they don't disappear on the table. The objects should not overwhelm the display or get in the way of function, either. In this display from Park & Oak Interior Design, you have plenty of room to put down a drink, book, or a remote control.

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  • 06 of 15

    Work With the Room

    Simple coffee table styling in a transitional living room
    Cortney Bishop Design, photo by Andrew Cebulka

    Integrate your coffee table and the items in your display with the rest of your space. In this transitional living room designed by Cortney Bishop Design, the coffee table styling keeps with the rustic feel of the space. The raw wood coffee table visually fits in with the heavy-looking wood mantel. The wood bowl and box integrate well within the room.

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  • 07 of 15

    Keep Items Low

    Calming blue living room
    Digs Design Company, photo by Nat Rae

    When creating a coffee table display, avoid tall, clunky objects that obstruct the view of people sitting on either side of the table. Think of a creative way to use pieces of different heights on a coffee table. This display from Digs Design Company incorporates thin branches to create an airy, see-through effect. This display is even more effective with a simple white vase that seemingly disappears, blending into the white table.

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  • 08 of 15

    Overcrowd With Purpose

    3 Tier coffee table
    Alexander James Interiors

    A formal living room is one place where you can fill up a coffee table with treasured items. In this formal living room from Alexander James Interiors, multiple tables are used for display items only. This room isn't likely used for entertaining, it seems more like a space for visiting museum-quality artwork. 

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  • 09 of 15

    Stay With the Classics

    Elegant coffee table styling
    Jennifer Reynolds Interiors

    If you're unsure what items to place on your coffee table, take your cue from this display by Jennifer Reynolds Interiors. Classic items can include a stack of small, elegant books or a pretty floral arrangement. Decorative objects, such as this antique magnifying glass, cloche, gold spheres, and wooden box, can function as conversation pieces.

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  • 10 of 15

    Consider Every Angle

    Neutral living room with styled coffee table
    Alexander James Interiors

    Consider how the styling of your coffee table will look from every angle of your living room. The table is often placed in a central area of a room, so people can see it from all angles. This room from Alexander James Interiors includes a bold wood coffee table with two delicate cloches that make an airy display that you can see through from every angle. 

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  • 11 of 15

    Find Your Focus

    Modern styling on a rustic coffee table
    Urrutia Design, photo by Matt Sartain

    Use one standout piece as a focal point of your coffee table display. The item doesn't have to be large or overwhelming. It can have an unusual shape or color to spark conversation. Or, it could be a bright piece, such as the green flowers featured on the table in this room by Urrutia Design. The eye is immediately drawn to the simple and bright color of the flowers.

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  • 12 of 15

    Add Color With Florals

    Coffee table display
    Jennifer Reynolds Interiors

    A coffee table display can immediately look better with a floral arrangement of any size. The white hydrangeas used on this table by Jennifer Reynolds Interiors add a burst of freshness and life to the room. Many decorators sometimes place a small and sturdy vase of flowers on top of a short pile of books to elevate its beauty. Blossoms allow you to experiment with color combinations throughout the seasons.

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  • 13 of 15

    Spark Conversation

    Modern eclectic living room
    Tucker & Marks

    A large coffee table can handle many items. In this eclectic interior by Tucker & Marks, the unusual table arrangement includes numerous conversation pieces that give this room visual interest.

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  • 14 of 15

    Style Top and Bottom

    Sophisticated coffee table styling
    Gabriella Palumbo/Flat 15

    A two-tiered coffee table requires special attention. The bottom shelf of a coffee table can be simpler than the display on the top of the table. But the lower tier still needs balance, composition, and scale. Keep the style of both surfaces similar, but do not duplicate it. On this table display created by interior designer Gabriella Khalil, books, decorative boxes, and other simple objects are on the lower shelf with only a few more decorative items on the top level.

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  • 15 of 15

    Combine Shapes and Textures

    Pretty coffee table styling
    One King's Lane

    Create visual interest in a coffee table display by mixing shapes and textures. Pair curved items with straight, shiny with dull, textured with smooth, and hard with soft. While most of the items in this display from One King's Lane are square or rectangular, the burst of shapes that comes from the floral arrangement adds contrasting textures.