Thrifter's Guide to Coffee Table Styling

Jamala W
by Jamala W

Hey there everyone! It’s me popping in your email .. I know it’s been a while but I’m trying to space the posts out to not inundate your email. I recently posted another video on Pillows Matter and thought I’d also talk about another subject – CoffeeTable Styling – I know, there are a million guides on this subject, so I’m going to be a million + one.. However, I’m going to make it short, sweet and simple. Coffee tables are the center of attention in your living/family room and not only are they for decoration, but they’re also to be functional(with the exception to mine -lol.. no one goes in there to sit and use the coffee table). They can be your blank canvas to set a style of your own. Is it rocket-science to create a perfectly styled table – NO! NO! NO! It’s all about the visuals and what YOU Like. Below is my list of must-have items, as a suggestion and it’s to your discretion.

  • Decorative Bowl
  • Books of Interest
  • Candy Dish
  • Plant/Flowers
  • Conversation Piece
  • Ashtray
  • Incense/Candle Holder
  • Coasters

I saw this guide by Elle and loved a few of their Best Table Decor ( #23 ))

When I began styling my round coffee table, I definitely needed a little guidance because a round table can be a bit tricky. I learned that you have to imagine it cut into a pie of 4 slices and work each section as an individual space. Once I understood that concept, it became easy to style it to my liking. So hopefully that tidbit info will help you as well. Over the years I’ve had many found objects grace my coffee table to make small changes. Keep in mind, I’m not a seasonal decorator per se, but I do like to switch things up a bit. In my opinion, seasonal changes can become a bit costly if you’re one to keep buying new over and over again.. so I tend to just keep things to my liking for the most part so therefore, I won’t be changing all the time. I don’t get bored easily over things I admire, and love to look at for long periods of time. So, please don’t take what I’m saying as being critical, because there is no wrong or right when it comes to creating your style and having what you love. But if you’re like me, then you can relate to what I’m saying. I’ll keep things for a year or two (or more) if need be, simply because I like them. So let’s dive into my simple-5, shall we:

Step 1:

Find items that appeal to your eye. It could be a statue, a vase, or even a “what not” item. Here I found the pair of vintage peacocks and loved being able to style them.

Step 2:

Add function: You can do this by having a candy dish – (which in my opinion is a MUST HAVE… not a “maybe” have). Thrift stores are packed with candy dishes, so do yourself a favor and pick one up. When sitting around a table, it’s always great to reach over and grab a quick treat.

Step 3

Pick Candles and/or candle holders – They are great table complements. It’s always comforting having a sweet aromatic smell flowing in the air.

Step 4

Add some texture or shape – Here I used a small deer skull for added interest.

Step 5

Add color – On your table you can play around with colored dishes to see what appeals to your eye without making drastic changes.

Also, keep in mind, books, books, books.. you can even style a book opened (especially a book filled with art). Flip the pages every now and then to showcase a new page. That’s instant art not to mention a true conversation grabber. Or, if not art, maybe a book of poetry, leave the page open to have a favorite poem read.

To summarize it, make it interesting, keep it balanced, add some personality, inject some life and make it chic – and most important – just DO IT YOUR WAY!

In my next post, I’m going to discuss a few of my favorite coffee table books – perhaps you’ll even like them too. Hope you found this post helpful in styling your table. For even more inspiration and suggestions, The Spruce offered another guide with 40 ideas.

Remember: “Happy hunting, while you thrift your house into a Home”


Jamala W
Want more details about this and other design ideas? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 11 comments
  • Cosette Burke Cosette Burke on Oct 15, 2023

    Great ideas! I’m shopping my home for favorite things. Styling them on the coffee table gives me the chance to enjoy them more!

  • P P on Apr 14, 2024

    I need to have a place to put my feet up on my coffee table! & more room for a plate or bowl plus coffee cup than allowed here - but feet & food are NOT on it at the same time!