6 Coffee Table Styling Tips For Color, Drama & Interest

Here are six fantastic tips to help you with coffee table styling. The coffee table is one of the most visible focal points in a room. That’s why it’s important to learn how to style a coffee table. It can add color, drama, and interest to your space. Let’s dive in and make your existing coffee table beautiful.

Coffee table with rustic decor
What to put in a tray
Trays you can place on a coffee table
Tray with decor
Styling a tray on a coffee table

1. Grab a tray

Trays come in so many sizes, shapes, and materials, from metal to wood, plastic, or even natural fibers. They corral many smaller items into one smaller presentation. They are particularly useful on an ottoman so you don’t need to worry about anything falling off. The tray should never cover up the entire table. You want to leave space for more decorative items or for you or your guests to place drinks or kick up your feet.

Black and white coffee table styling ideas
Colorful coffee table styling ideas
Stacks of books on a coffee table
Arranging coffee table books

2. Showcase your book collection

Do you have a few books on fashion, interior design, or books with covers in similar colors? A stack of books on a coffee table grounds the table, creates a focal point, and becomes the foundation for other decorative items. They are also great conversation starters. On those rare occasions when I can sit and put my feet up, those books are right there to open up.

Plant pot
Coffee table with vases of flowers
Vase of flowers on a coffee table
Greenery on a coffee table

3. Go greenery

Adding greenery to a coffee table instantly livens it up, adds rich color and texture, and makes it feel more organic and inviting. I like to add fresh flowers and real plants to my table but dried or faux flowers are fine.

Candles arranged on a coffee table
Candlesticks with candles
Tapered candle on a coffee table
Coffee table style with candles
Coffee table with candles

4. Add candles

Placing candles on a coffee table can generate a sense of warmth and intimacy. Tall tapered candles add drama to a room. Or, use candles to achieve a balanced, symmetrical vignette.

Coffee table with a sculpture
Coffee table with a chunky chain
Architectural elements

5. Add architectural elements

Often, people put architectural elements on top of a stack of books or cluster them with other architectural pieces.

Minimalist coffee table styling
Crazy coffee table styling

Your coffee table may already be an architectural element. In that case, you don’t need to do much styling. Or, you can go over the top and style it like crazy. It’s up to you.

Styling a tray on a coffee table
Sentimental item on a coffee table

6. Weave in a sentimental item

Whether it’s a family heirloom or a picture of a treasured moment, incorporating it adds a special touch. A couple of months after my mother died, I received a gift of a crystal block with her image embedded into it. It is the most important thing on my coffee table.

Coffee table with a lower shelf, styled
Coffee table shelf
Styling a coffee table shelf

Bonus tip: Don’t forget about the second tier

A coffee table with a shelf gives you more room to show off your favorite accessories. Usually, it’s left empty. Add more books, bowls, baskets, or architectural elements. Make use of that space.

Coffee table styling

My table, fully styled

Let me know if this has helped you with ideas on coffee table styling. Let me know in the comments what you put on your coffee table. What is the special item on your table that makes your space special?

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2 of 7 comments
  • Iri97732666 Iri97732666 on Feb 18, 2024
    Over the years I have been collecting cloches, I also have pewter, i covered my pewter with a cloche and I love it! Charlotte McNamara
  • David Sherrod David Sherrod on Apr 06, 2024
    Is the black and white photo of James Bond? Can't think of the actor’s name…