Hi! This is Kristin Thompson from
So today I want to show you How To Style the Perfect Coffee Table (with just 6 elements!). Think of styling a coffee table as a formula. You can repeat this formula over and over again with different objects and different styles, with success. For my example I’m re-creating this fun, slightly boho look found on Target.com:
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When styling a coffee table, try to stick with a palette of 3-5 colors to keep it from looking too busy. In this vignette, I kept it very neutral using white, green, gold, brown, and black. Your colors can reflect your style and room décor-adding a small pop of color can go a long way!
Start with your coffee table as a base. When you choose items for your table, stick with a style that matches either your table or your overall room décor: modern, cottage, farmhouse, eclectic, etc. Then I would recommend using these six elements to style your table:
Element #1: A Tray
I love using a tray on a coffee table as both a décor item, but it is also super practical. I have three kids, so I don’t always want decorations on my table, especially when they are using it to build their Lego creations! If you use a tray like this to corral your items, you can literally pick up your vignette, move it out of the way, and put back when company comes over! Super practical.
I would suggest choosing a tray that takes up no more than a third of your table. Typically sticking with the same shape (a round tray on a round table) works well, but if you can switch it up!
Element #2: A stack of books
The trick to great styling is varying the height of objects. Books are a perfect and inexpensive way (use what you already have!) to do this. Use hardback or cloth bound books that look pretty without the dust cover. You can go neutral or go for a pop of color with your books. Typically a stack of 2-3 books works well, and you can place some of your smaller items on the stack so they don’t get lost in your vignette.
Element #3: A sculptural vase
Keep it empty or add some foliage or a candle, but this is a classic piece of a coffee table styling. It adds needed height to your grouping, plus it adds visual interest. This is a great place to change up your vignette with the season: fill your vase with different seasonal objects that you can rotate. It gives you a new look with minimal work.
Element #4: Greenery
Adding a natural element is a vital component to a vignette! Whether fresh flowers, a sprig of greenery, or faux plants, it adds warmth to your grouping. I have a brown thumb, so I love using faux plants. In both the above table and in the table styling I re-created for you, these modern (faux) succulents add a great pop of color. In my Mood Board (see sources above) I used these small, modern pots for the base. I would pop one in the tray and one of the stack of books to vary the heights.
Element #5: A small dish or tray
In the Mood Board I created, I love the geometric patterned rectangle dish because it adds some extra texture and pattern to the grouping. Keep it empty, or use it to corral items. You could also use a small bowl or dish for the same effect. A swap on this element would be a stack of cute coasters.
Element #6: Something whimsical
Every space should have some fun and creativity to it! Whether a piece makes you smile, or it has some sentimental meaning, find something charming for your space. In my Mood Board, the sculptural gold elephant fits the bill, plus I loved how the gold figure pulled in the gold from my books and vase to create a flow.
So there you go….easy, right? Don’t waste money by trying to fill your table with no plan. If you focus on just these six elements, you can style the perfect coffee table!
Need help styling a console table or buffet? I also created a step-by-step guide to style this type of table…this will also work on open shelves or bookcases! Click
In the meantime, if need help designing your perfect room, let me help you over at
A big ole thank-you to Remodeaholic for letting me hang with you all today. See you again next month!
More coffee table ideas: