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How to Style a Coffee Table: Dissecting the Design

The simple formula to a well-styled and functional vignette
Filed Under > Get The Look

how to style a coffee table, waitingonmartha.com

I have this love affair with coffee tables.  Maybe it all started when I first saw MKR’s in her home; an oversized silver trunk with gorgeous coffee table books, candles, vintage calligraphy brushes and fresh flowers.  Ever since then, my appreciation for a well-styled coffee table has only doubled.  We’ve shared tips on how to style a coffee table here before, but we also believe it’s something that will never grow old…so here’s a short and sweet reminder with inspiration.

The pattern I find with the best coffee tables is that they all include a variety of depth, texture and height.  Stacked coffee table books and flowers are easy ways to add the height, while trays and accents infuse different textures and interest to the styled vignette.

I’m including five key pieces to consider when styling a coffee table.  What would you add to the list?  Do you style and re-style your coffee table often, like I do?!  Cheers, Kat

P.S. A few weeks ago we dissected the design for console tables, too.  Check it out here.  xo 

SHOP THE STORY  / CLICK LEFT & RIGHT ARROWS TO EXPLORE


  

Wainwright Coffee Table, White

One Kings Lane, $529

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The Surface
A great coffee table allows for room to showcase your personality and favorite objects, along with a coaster or two with your glass of vino!  

Don’t limit yourself to default coffee tables, however.  Think outside the box with vintage trunks, ottomans and poufs too.  

Hand Painted Leopard Tray, Waiting On Martha

Hand Painted Cream Leopard Tray

Waiting on Martha Home,$170

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Trays
Trays are quite possibly the most important thing you can have on your coffee table; they corral objects and separate the surface from small objects, creating much-needed depth.  

What’s great too: trays can be added to unconventional surfaces like ottomans and poufs to instantly create a coffee table look and feel. 

The Book of Chic

Amazon, $85

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Books
Coffee table books instantly add personality and interest; they make the space feel like a home, and of course entertainment for the lingering guest.  And the best part?  They’re easily edited and changed whenever it strikes your fancy. 

Stack your favorite books by color, by topic and/or size.  Get creative; don’t take the stacks too seriously and change them around until they’re just right. 

Gold Banana Palm Leaf Large Tray

Waiting on Martha, $58

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Accents
Accents are the fun part!  Incorporate items that reflect your travels and passions; the things that make you happy.  You can edit your collection often, keeping the space looking fresh and inviting all year long. 

Some of our favorite accents include anything and everything gold, trinket trays and dishes for matchboxes, candles, vintage calligraphy brushes, crystals and palo santo sticks

 

28" Cymbidium in Pot, Faux

One Kings Lane, $99

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Flowers
You can never go wrong with fresh flowers or greenery in a vignette! They serve as a vibrant focal point for the space, and offer added height and texture.

While fresh flowers on a weekly basis can get expensive, another great option is a small plant like a topiary, succulent or cactus that’s easy to care for (see our list of our eight favorite, easy indoor house plants).  Oh, and faux flowers are really quite impressive these days too! 

ADDITIONAL CREDITS:

Featured image, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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  • What I am dying to know is if it possible to style a coffee table when you have young kids? And how? Breakables are a no go; vases. Plants are also a disaster waiting to happen. A candle might look nice, but you can only use it when the kids are asleep or gone. So that leaves books? If you have ideas that would be awesome!

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