If your coffee table sits at the center of your space and acts as nothing more than a spot for collecting magazines and kicking up your feet, it is time you treat it like the focal point of the room that it deserves to be. With just a few quick tips from local interior design experts and items to you can find in local shops, your coffee table will look skillfully styled. Let us help you transform your tabletop.
Brad Ramsey of Brad Ramsey Interiors reminds us to keep things simple. “For me, a well-designed coffee table consists of a few great coffee table books layered under an orchid or some type of simple live plant, a personal tchotchke and, possibly, a tray or wooden box for remotes and everyday useful items,” Brad says. “You want to balance the organic, visually airy pieces, with the dense, geometric pieces so you don’t end up with too many small items or too many heavy items. Keep it simple. Less is always more! The items you choose should be both fun and interesting, as well as functional.”
Coffee tables sit at the center of the home’s conversation area and that is why Beth Haley of Beth Haley Design suggests incorporating a sculptural piece in coffee table styling to kick-start conversation. “Collect pieces with color, texture and pattern — layering them using varying heights and sizes — all while playing with proportion and scale,” she recommends. “Fresh flowers, your favorite books and a tray to corral everything make the room both personal and inviting.”
Ashley Rohe of Ashley Rohe Home also steers you toward finding visually interesting pieces to prompt conversation. She finds that visually interesting books — particularly ones that tell something about who you are as a person or a family — or an object with history are great places to start. “I stack books in twos or threes and group them together. Then, I add something that smells good, like a candle in a pretty glass container, or flowers,” Ashley tells us. “Decorative coasters are also a nice way to protect your furniture and make a statement, as well.”
While the options of items you can incorporate into your coffee table design are endless, Julie Couch of Julie Couch Interiors reminds us that we really only need to keep three things in mind. “Three important pieces that are good to start in creating a pretty coffee table are the following: your favorite beautiful books, a box or bowl to hide remote controls and other necessities and a gorgeous vase for fresh flowers,” she says.
When considering pieces to use, ask yourself how the coffee table functions in the space. “A well-styled coffee table gives your living space a finished, curated look and this is a particular favorite project of mine to tackle!” Sara Ray of Sara Ray Interior Design exclaims. “I love small groupings of things. Trays can be a great way to keep things organized and placed; stacked books are nice and they can add height if the space needs it. I like incorporating found objects or special pieces from travel that the client will enjoy looking at, daily. It’s a great place for some smaller items that may not be able to be appreciated on a bookshelf. Of course, once the table is styled, it’s nice to top it off with fresh flowers or greenery. You don’t have to get fancy; sometimes just cutting some leaves or branches from your yard or garden can add the perfect final touch.”
Pieces to Get You Started
Now that you’re equipped with these great pointers, it’s time to get out and shop local for pieces that put these suggestions to the test. Here are 15 FINDS from around town to get your started!
Whether you snag one or two of these hour glasses ($32 each) at White’s Mercantile, your coffee table will look interesting with these beautiful conversation starters.
Fill frames with personal photos that showcase your family’s personality. These frames, $20 at Vignette, come in different sizes that will look just as good on your bookshelves as they will on your coffee table.
Coffee table book
A coffee table isn’t complete without a book — or seven. Head to Two Old Hippies to shop their wide collection and find a few that suit you.
Preservation Station is a treasure trove for antique architectural pieces, lighting and décor. We discovered these pieces of tile and think they would add texture and interest to any tabletop.
This wooden centerpiece can serve a million different purposes. We love how it is styled with flowers and candles for any eye-catching piece. You can find it at Color for $68 (flowers and candles are sold separately).
Candle, flower and vase
This combo from Tin Cottage is perfect for a coffee table of any size. We adore how the neutrals pair together and create something simple yet interesting.
When selecting a candle for your coffee table, don’t settle for any old one. This lidded candle, $78 at Dish Dish Goose, offers a pop of personality.
Art comes in all shapes, sizes and mediums. We think this small piece, $18.95 at English & Company, is the perfect size for a coffee table.
Nothing brightens a home quite like fresh flowers and an attractive vase. These vases, $150 to $250 at Margi’s Chair and Chair Alike, are interesting enough to stand on their own but would look great holding flowers of any kind.
Don’t shy away from using items that typically are found on a bookcase. This set of elephant bookends can act as a focal point for a coffee table. Find this set at Merridian Home Furnishings for $74.
Mix the modern with traditional while styling your tabletop and find contemporary pieces — such as these, $14.95 each at Bliss Home — in doing so.
Showcase your love of Music City — and keep your coffee table free of rings — with these Nashville coasters from The Beveled Edge, $10.95 each.
Let all of your different pieces sit atop a tray, such as this one found at AshBlue. Just as the design experts suggested, choose greenery, something architectural and a nice candle for your design. This tray comes in three sizes: small ($60), medium ($80) and large ($95).
Odin cheese board
Let this cheese board double as a decorative piece on your coffee table. You can find it at Absolution for $95.
Different colors and textures keep a coffee table interesting! Add something unique with this sphere from T.W.O for Home for $55.