How to Style a Coffee Table

While a coffee table may just end up being a repository for coffee mugs, magazines and the various remote controls you may have, it really can be so much more. Your coffee table, in a prime position in front of your sofa, can be the perfect location to share a bit of your own personality and style. Ignoring this hard-working piece of furniture when styling the rest of your room would be a grave injustice when it could be a star player in your living room design!

style me pretty living room
style me pretty living room

Today, I’m sharing my top tips on creating a stunning coffee table display, using items you probably already have around the house! There are a few things that I always use on my coffee table that provides me with a pleasing display that’s fairly practical as well so I’m breaking it down for you below. You can use a variety of these or all of them, depending upon your personal taste so it’s easy to create something that still works with the rest of your home in terms of the style you choose.

Beautiful Books


One thing that works especially well on a coffee table is coffee table books. Yes, it does seem obvious but a short stack of books will add some height, color and interest to your table display. Choose hard back books that speak to you in terms of their subject matter – whether you have a favorite artist or designer, if you love classic cars or the great outdoors, crafting or interiors, your coffee table should share your interests with your visitors and guests by way of the books you choose.

I often try to use books with jackets that carry the colors of my living room so that they coordinate but this is a personal preference for getting a more pulled together design. It’s entirely up to you which books you’d like to choose.

Greater Heights


You always want to include something with a bit of height on your table as well. This draws the eye up and around your display, creating interest and makes for a more attractive vignette. Think about using an obelisk, candle sticks, a tall vase or a potted orchid to create height. You can always layer these items on top of the stack of books too.

Tray Chic


A tray will always be handy in any vignette to corral smaller items together to make them look more purposeful. Choose one that marries well with the style of your home. If you love the rustic farmhouse look, a weathered wood tray would be the perfect companion to your coffee table. If you have a more glamorous style, then perhaps a simple mirror tray or a brass and glass tray will provide the right finishing touch.

Gorgeous Glow


I nearly always include candles on my coffee table as well. When the sun goes down and I want to create a cosy atmosphere for movie nights, candles will provide a beautiful ambiance like nothing else. Whether you go for taller candle sticks or small votives, again, this is entirely a personal choice but the inclusion of a candle or two will always look beautiful on any coffee table.

Go Green


If you look at styled images of coffee tables in magazines or online, you’ll rarely see one without some kind of life on it. A potted plant or a vase of flowers will add an organic touch to your table as well as color and texture. Consider a display of succulents in a variety of plant pots for a more casual display or a tall glass vase filled with cut flowers for easy elegance.

A Bit of Whimsy


Finally, to really bring your personality into your room, consider adding one thing that gives your coffee table a bit of personality. I like to include something that might be a conversation starter, whether that’s a brass lobster (yes, I have one of those!) or a piece of jewelry handed down from your grandmother or a set of beautiful old paint brushes that belonged to your artist father. So always try to include something in your styling that may raise a question from your guest and add a personal touch or some whimsy to your table.

Get the Look!

Of course, having a beautiful foundation for your display is always a great place to start so check out all our favorite picks below!