Fall Coffee Table Displays

How to Style Your Coffee Table This Autumn

Fall Coffee Table Displays
Pinecones on a silver tray. Getty Images

Since fall is one of the most popular times of the year to decorate, and the coffee table is often a focal point of the living room, it makes sense that you would want to create an appropriately gorgeous display. But creating a fall coffee table display isn’t as easy as it sounds. Coffee tables can be a bit tricky, so here are some tips and ideas for making the most of them in the autumn months.

Coffee Table Decorating Rules

With every coffee table display, no matter what the time of year, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Keep it Low – You don’t want to block sight-lines so don’t create a display that’s too high (with a tall vase of flowers or hurricane vases for example). You should still be able to see the people sitting across from you.

Don’t Overcrowd – The most common mistake people make is to fill the table‘s surface with too much stuff. Make sure your table is still functional. Leave room for glasses, newspapers, and anything else you might need room for while sitting on the sofa or surrounding chairs.

Don't Overdo It - You want the eye to be drawn to your display, but you don’t want it to overtake the space. Ideally a coffee table display will compliment what’s around it in the rest of the room. Save the real showstopping displays for your mantel.

Coffee Table Decorating Tips


Composition is the element most people have trouble with. The key is to remember it's not so much about the individual items you place in a coffee table display, but about the way they work together as a unit.

The items should relate to each other either through color, style, or theme.

Balance and Size

It's important to find balance when you’re styling a coffee table. You don't want anything huge that will overwhelm the surface, nor do you want anything too small that will get lost.  Vary the shapes, sizes and heights of all the items, but keep them in relation to each other.

Fall Coffee Table Displays

Pinecones – Pinecones are the celebrities of the autumn months. So much so that it almost doesn’t matter what you do with them! Place them in a glass bowl, scatter a few of them on the table, place them in a glass cloche, or make them part of a larger display. They look wonderful au naturel, but for a glam look try spray painting them in a metallic color.

Fall Flowers – Flowers are always a safe bet. In the fall look for flowers that are particular to the season (such as mums) as well as flowers that suit fall’s color palette (no matter what the species). Just be sure to keep the arrangement in a low vase so you don’t block the sightlines.

Books – Books are one of the most popular items to display on coffee tables (hence the term “coffee table book”). In the fall switch out your regular books and look for those that have a fall theme and/or look for book jackets in shades of red, orange, gold and brown.

Natural Wood – Natural wood items are right at home in fall coffee table displays. It could be a vase, a tray, decorative box, or some other objet. The item doesn’t matter as much as the material. If natural wood doesn’t suit your style look for some other type of organic material.

Trendy Items – Pay attention to what’s on trend. This year that list includes ethnic prints, antique bronze accessories, sculptural artwork, and items that add a little glam (think silver trays and crystal accessories).