How to Style a Coffee Table - Home & Texture
Living Room Coffee Table

Here's How to Style Your Coffee Table Like a Pro

From hard cover books to vases and candles, this is everything you need to know about styling your coffee table.

January 8, 2024 at 9:25 PM PST

A well-chosen coffee table anchors your seating area, creating a focal point that brings together your furniture. It also provides a surface for practical use, such as holding drinks, snacks, or magazines. If it’s bare, it can make the room feel uninspired, especially if you already have an aesthetic. If there’s no rhyme or reason, it can unintentionally serve as just another surface to hold miscellaneous items. Styling your coffee table elevates it from furniture to a distinctive piece of functional decor. If you’re getting a coffee table or looking to spruce up the look of an existing one, here are a few ideas and things to consider.

Living room
Photography Credit: Chait Goli

Choosing the Right Coffee Table

This only applies if you’re looking to replace or add a new coffee table. Creating art means you need the canvas first, so think about the statement you’d like it to make in the room as both an individual piece and as part of your existing furniture. Identify elements like style, shape and the material as a roadmap to help you pick out the perfect piece. If you already have one and don’t love how it fits into your space, don’t worry, we’ll get to that too. By taking a strategic approach, you can help glamorize one that feels simple and bland, or blend it into the rest of the room—that’s the power of styling.

Layering for Depth and Texture

The layering technique starts and ends with your personal style. Ask yourself, what do you you want this furniture to say? Silly as it may sound, it will help inform every piece that you add.

Layering with Textiles

Textiles like table runners can add a pop of color, softness and warmth to a cold or minimalist room. They also help protect the surface, and serve as an instinctual place for cups to sit if you don’t want coasters to be a part of the vision. Burlap or linen says rustic, while sleek silk or velvet can feel modern and chic.

Use of Trays

A stylish tray can be your best friend when it comes to creating layers. Place it at the center of your coffee table, and it instantly becomes a focal point. Inside the tray, arrange smaller decorative items of your choice, like candles, or a small potted plant.

Coffee table with candle and plants
Photography Credit: Designcologist

Height Variation

Mix tall and short elements to create an interesting visual hierarchy. Tall candle holders, stacked books, or decorative branches can add height, while smaller items like coasters or figurines fill in the gaps. This contrast creates an interesting, dynamic visual.

Rescuing a Simple Coffee Table

What if your coffee table is too simple and doesn’t match your desired decor style?

Paint or Stain Makeover

A coat of paint or a new stain can breathe new life into a plain wooden coffee table. Choose a color that aligns with your room’s theme and give it a fresh, customized look.

Decorative Accessories

This could be a set of stylish coasters, a decorative tray, or a collection of unique coffee table books.

Blending a Mismatched Coffee Table

If your coffee table doesn’t quite fit in with your decor, there are ways to make it harmonize.

Use Decorative Accessories

Incorporate decorative items that bridge the gap between your coffee table and the rest of your decor. For example, if your table is more traditional while your decor is modern, introduce modern decorative elements like sleek vases or contemporary sculptures.

Layering with Coordinating Colors

Add decorative elements in colors that match or complement the predominant colors in your room. This helps create a cohesive and balanced look.

Simple wood coffee table
Photography Credit: Adrienne Anderson

Minimalism: Less Is More

If you’re not sure about the direction to go, a good rule of thumb is to keep things simple and avoid overcrowding with too many items. A book and a couple of succulents or candles add just enough without going overboard.


Whether it’s luxury or ease, every area of your home should be as fabulous and unique as you.



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