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By on Apr 19, 2016
How To Decorate A Coffee Table

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Your living room is where everyone gathers to enjoy company and activities. It makes sense that many homeowners put a lot of time into designing and creating the perfect, functional look. A room that shows off personal style for small gatherings, but comfortable enough to watch a few episodes of your favorite shows.

Most, if not all, living rooms have a coffee table right at the center. A well-designed table can complement the look and decor of the space. Have everyone talking about your coffee table with these few decorating tips.

Abstract Coffee Table

Types of Coffee Tables

The perfect style for your coffee table often starts with the type of coffee table you have. There are many sizes and shapes of coffee tables. As a general rule, coffee tables should be no more than one to two inches above or below the height of the couch or loveseat, for convenience and for look.

Think about the primary function you intend for your table. Do you need more storage for crafts or children’s toys? Do you plan on entertaining often around the coffee table? Different scenarios require various types of storage, height and function and should be considered before moving on to the decor. Plenty of styles exist that can stylishly fit your needs.

Now that you have narrowed down function and what measurements you need, consider some of the following types of coffee tables.


  • Square: Best in smaller space
  • Rectangle: The most common shape for coffee tables; great for functionality
  • Oval: If you like the functionality of the rectangle, but prefer the rounded edges
  • Circle: Works best with multiple seating arrangements
  • Abstract: Works well in larger spaces and for those who want to add a unique style element

Common Materials:

  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Acrylic
  • Metal
  • Upholstery

Now that you have an idea of what coffee table you’d like, it’s time to figure out how to decorate it.

Wood Coffee Table

Gather Your Accessories

You may own a beautiful coffee table, but if it’s full of clutter and other objects, it may not make a difference in your room. The first step to any redesign is decluttering and cleaning up. Next, figure out what items you’ll want to keep out on your table. Be careful not to include too many, as that will bring a mess back to your table.

Coffee Table Books

Most people’s go-to for decorating their coffee table is the classic oversized book. And this is for good reason. Coffee table books come in many shapes, sizes and topics. You can easily show off your interests by including a few books on your table. Aim to find books of different sizes if you plan on using more than one. Purchase books with interesting covers and plenty of photos inside for guests to look at.

Coasters & Candles

Thinking practically, coffee tables are great places to display functional design elements. My coffee table always has at least one candle on it and is great for ambiance when everyone is gathered around. Coasters don’t have to be boring. There are many vintage and contemporary options to keep with the design of your room. Or, choose coasters with storage, so it can become a part of the décor.

Collectibles & Antiques

There is not a better way to display items you are proud of than right in the center of your room; on the coffee table. Of course, if you have a whole collection, pick ones that would work best for the table without cluttering it. Mix smaller items with larger items for visual appeal.

Coffee Table Decor

Create the Centerpiece

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Centerpieces are crucial to any good coffee table design. With just a few objects, the centerpiece takes into consideration all the elements such as accessories, table design and room style and creates a focal point. Remember, centerpieces don’t have to always be in the “center” when it comes to coffee table design. If you have multiple large pieces or want to create more table space, play with different areas of the table to see what works best for you.

Use Trays and Runners

Trays, runners and cloth pieces create a visual space for your items to stay contained as one unit. Depending on what you choose, it can add to the theme of the room. Find a vintage tray to enhance the look of your antiques. Or, a colorful tablecloth to give it a modern, playful look. Trays work well to hide remotes and other electronic devices.

Flowers & Plants

Bring life into your living room with flowers and plants. They may take a bit of care, but are well worth the investment. The flower or plant should match the décor of your room. Hydrangeas and succulents are trendy plants to include, but there are plenty of options. This will likely be the tallest item on your table, so be sure to include a vase that reflects the décor.

Arrange Your Items

Arrange Your Items

Since you’ve chosen what items to display, it’s time to arrange them to impress. The way you style your coffee table depends on the items you have chosen. Start by placing your plant or flower in one of the corners of your centerpiece tray or cloth. Next, work from the largest item down, stacking books smallest to largest, in sets of three and adding in the small accessories. If it’s starting to look a little crowded, play with the space, but don’t be afraid to remove items from the area.

White Coffee Table

Call An Interior Decorator

If you truly can’t decide what items to include on your coffee table, call an interior decorator to help! They can style the coffee table perfectly to match the décor of the room. The average cost of an interior designer is about $50 an hour, but that depends on the project scope and size.

Glass Coffee Table


When designing your coffee table, there are two main aspects you must keep in mind; style and functionality. You can have the most beautifully designed coffee table, but when it comes to actually using it, it’s impossible. With these two things in mind, it’s easy to create a coffee table that brings out the best of your living room and used well by your family.

Ready to make the most of your living room? Read 5 Pro Tips For Accessorizing to give your room a great new look. 

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