Coffee Table Styling Secrets

‘How do I style my coffee table?’

This has to be one of THE most common questions I get asked.

But whilst it comes naturally to me, it made me realise there really is an art to it..  and some have it, but some don’t!

Coffee tables can make or break a room.  They’re the practical dumping place for the things we use in our living rooms.  But they can easily be turned into the stylish focal point of the home while still remaining functional.

So here’s my tips for a stylish AND practical coffee table.


ps. you could apply these tips to console tables and buffets too.  You’re welcome 😉 


First, consider size of the room, furniture and rug and make sure your coffee table is to scale.  Allow enough space around the sofa to walk around the table without knocking your knees.

If you have plenty of space to work with you have more options.  Try using two coffee tables, nested tables or multiple log stumps clustered together.


This one’s easy.

Use rectangle or square tables for rectangle rugs and round tables for round rugs.  Told ya .. simple!

But of course this isn’t a hard and fast rule so you can use round tables on rectangular rugs to create softer lines and a sense of more space.

The other option with shape is to use a two tiered coffee table – with a bottom shelf.  But be mindful that this creates more storage (aka. dumping space) so if it’s a glass top, there’s nowhere to hide.


Let’s be honest.  The coffee table is a practical dumping ground for things we use such as remote controls, magazines, games and books.  So it makes perfect sense to incorporate the things you use and enjoy into your styling.  Try a tray for magazines and remotes or create a short stack of your books topped with a small plant for a bit of height and freshness.



When you think coffee table, most would go straight to your traditional wood, metal or glass materials.  Why not try something different?  Like a fabric or leather ottoman, timber log stools or a metal morrocan tray on a stand.  The options are really endless if you’re open to them.  Basically anything stable, that you can rest your belongings on – and looks good – would still do a good job!



Now the important bit.  Styling.

Once you’ve decided on your shape, material, and size of your coffee table it’s time to make it look good.  So I’ve listed a few ideas to get you started and offer you inspiration.


  • Theme – Decide on a theme to suit the rest of your home, your personality and your environment.  ie. coastal, hamptons, rustic, scandi, french provincial etc.
  • Tray – use trays to organise books and loose pieces plus function as a serving tray as well.

  • Book stack – create a short stack of your current books or magazines for height and organisation.
  • Plants – small pot plants look great either in a tray on a short book stack to create height.  A small plant that cascades over the edge of the pot is even more effective.
  • Candles – when grouping items together, a candle never goes astray.  With so many options in size, colour and scent use them to fill a gap, create height or add to a cluster.
  • Meaningful Knick Knacks – surround yourself in the things you love.  Remember those knick knacks you picked up in your travels that are stored away never to be seen.  Let them tell a story and bring back memories.  If they make you smile, bring them out as a constant visual reminder.  Add flowers from your own garden as something personal that adds a splash of colour and life.
  • Rotate – don’t forget to rotate the items on your coffee table and bring out what’s in storage for a fresh new look.
  • Lanterns – are great for height and for creating different looks depending on the material selected.  You could try a wooden rustic look for a coastal theme or a more refine look try a silver finish.
  • Grid – for large rectangular or square coffee tables, create a grid.  That is cluster your decor into four separate quadrants on the table.
  • Rule of Threes – the classic rule of threes never goes out of fashion.
  • Create Balance – the objective of the game is to create balance and harmony.  Do this with various heights, clusters of three and visually pleasing layouts.  Sometimes I just have to walk away and then return to decide whether the layout works or not.
  • Colour – and finally don’t forget to incorporate colour with any of the decor you’re using.  Whether you’re sticking to a monochrome look or themed colour palette, choose your decor accordingly.


Remember these are just a guide and not intended to be used all at once.

Don’t go OTT.  Keep it simple and classy!


Need more inspiration?  Check out my instagram.


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