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How To Style Your Coffee Table Like A Pro

A coffee table styled aesthetically and placed in a living room

Image: Chroniclesoffrivolity

The coffee table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in every living room. As the focal point of your living room, it acts as an anchor for all other furniture pieces like sofas, ottomans, armchairs, etc. Besides serving a purpose, a coffee table also provides you with an additional opportunity to create an awe-inspiring focal point for your living room. Therefore, coffee table styling is an important part of your home decor and should not be overlooked. 

Guidelines For Coffee Table Styling

Styling a coffee table is easy and should combine aesthetics and practicality. Here are a few guidelines to help you master the art of styling your coffee table:

Think Of A Theme

The best part of styling a coffee table is that the design is not static and can be changed as frequently as you want to. Before styling the table on any particular day, think about the central idea or theme that you want to work with. A defined theme will help you find the right objects to decorate with. You may take inspiration from various elements like changing seasons, colour, textures, festivals, special occasions in your family etc., and then select the objects that reflect or depict that particular theme. The images below from the home of Joan Breman from the blog “Two ladies & A Chair” show two completely different looks created for the same coffee table. Just by looking at the pictures, anyone can guess that the first table is styled for Halloween and the second one is styled for spring. That’s what styling is about. 

Strike A Balance

An efficient styling is one which will not rob the table of its function. There must be a proper balance between the decorated space and the space left vacant for the functional use of the table.

Create Different Levels

Use objects of varying heights, shapes and sizes to create interest. However, keep in mind the overall scale of all the objects. An object too big paired with another one which is a miniature will throw off the balance of your composition.

Incorporate Vignettes

“Vignettes” refers to a cluster of objects, such as candles, books, vases, trinkets, etc. If spread-out styling is not your cup of tea, you may create a compact vignette in a tray, platter or even a table mat. Keep in mind that all the items that are a part of the vignette should be a part of a larger theme or a story, and complement each other to form a coherent composition. A vignette will not only create a focal point for the table but also bind all the decorative elements together. For detailed guidelines to create beautiful vignettes, read this article. 

Finally, table styling must be practical. Like any furniture item, the table will need regular cleaning and space to keep cups, beverages, small stuff etc. Make sure there’s an allowance for that. With these guidelines in mind, you can mix and match objects to style your coffee table. 

Common Objects Used For Coffee Table Styling


A tray can serve as the “base” for all decorations. Creating a set-up in a tray will make cleaning and moving things easier, and will help to keep things compact, especially if you have a small coffee table. You can select trays based on your living room decor style or personal preferences. For example, if your room has a few bamboo/rattan articles, then you may use bamboo, wood or cane trays that would complement other articles or, if your room is decorated in ultra-glam sophisticated style, you may select glass mirrored trays. 


“Coffee table books” provide both beauty and function. Hardcover books with elegant & colourful designs are great decorations for the coffee table and can be conversation starters with guests.

Candles & Tea-lights

You may place a cluster of big and small aromatic candles or for a more elegant look, you may select delicate candle holders. If you are looking for a more modern or casual set-up to hold candles, then mason jars and mini lanterns will be good options.

coffee table decor with candles

Flowers & Plants

Plants will bring life and colours to the coffee table. While placing a vase with flowers is a common option, one could get creative and display small plants like cacti & succulents in stylish planters or terrariums. Keep in mind that the flower vase arrangement should not be too high or it will obstruct the view of people sitting on opposite sides.

Bowls & Jars

Decorative bowls and jars look beautiful and also serve a function. You may use them as containers for candies or sweet treats for guests.

Traditional Souvenirs or Objects With Personality

Objects that express your personality, represent your memories, reflect your tastes or are of cultural & traditional importance to you, can be a part of an interesting vignette which will express your unique style & tell a story. The image below from the home of Pinki from the blog “pinkzpassion” shows a well-composed traditional vignette. For more traditional vignette inspirations, read this article. 

These are a few ideas for coffee table styling. Try experimenting with different styles to get an eye-catching design and create a welcoming and inspiring home for your guests.

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