6 coffee table decor essentials and how to style them like a pro to make your living room feel purposeful and beautiful.
Coffee table decor is weird. Like… when else in the history of ever would you find yourself staring at an inanimate object for an hour wondering what to do with it?
I mean, coffee tables are the most high maintenance pieces of furniture ever and have some nerve making you second guess every little item you place on it.
There is a formula to it though if you’ve ever wanted a perfectly decorated coffee table vignette but didn’t know how to do it.
How to Decorate a Coffee Table
(By the way, if any other places in your house have eluded you too, you can see lots more decorating secrets in this Simplified Decorating series.)
1. Start with a Tray
I love trays particularly because I have kids, and if they’re getting rough and rowdy, I can just lift the tray away with all the decor on it whenever needed.
But trays also give you a foundation to make all of the items on a coffee table look collected and purposeful. Use one that isn’t too small but still leaves room for you to kick your feet up, if you’d like.
2. Add something natural.
Whether it’s a potted plant, a vase of flowers, a bowl of moss, choose something that brings nature into the mix. It can be as simple as a bundle of flowers from the grocery store, but if you like longevity, fake stems are fine. (These are some of my favorite fake flowers.)
3. Incorporate a container.
I like using a decorative box for storing TV remotes or a decorative bowl for tossing in odds n ends as needed. They’re both beautiful and functional. Pick one that varies in material from your tray for extra texture.
If you’re using a marble tray, use a wooden bowl. Or if you’re using a brass tray, choose a rattan box, etc.
4. Use a couple of books.
Choose hardcover ones that are interesting and beautiful to you that you’d enjoy picking up and flipping through regularly. Pick whatever interests you: particular artists, beloved travel destinations, signature fashion styles, a favorite period of history, whatever speaks to your heart.
The helpful thing about books is they can act as risers too, if you want to vary height of your decor items.
5. Add a candle.
Lighting a candle in the evening sets the mood for the entire room and helps you relax a little better. Choose one in a scent you love. (Or if you prefer diffusing essential oils instead, opt for a cordless candle diffuser for aromatherapy benefits.)
6. Finish with a decorative object.
Have fun with an out-of-the-ordinary object. Maybe a quirky figurine, an interesting paperweight, or a strand of decorative beads for added texture. If all of the other items on your table are short, choose an item that will add some height.
Don’t go so overboard with your coffee table decor that you can’t actually use your coffee table. Less is more. Pare down items as needed so that you don’t end up with a table full of clutter.
8. Mix Textures.
Mix up different materials like marble, rattan, stone, glass, ceramic, brass. It adds dimension and interest, especially when sticking to a neutral color palette.
9. Use the Decorator’s Triangle.
A good rule is to decorate in odd numbers: 3, 5, or 7. Then, vary the heights of those items to form a triangle. Can you see it?
So keep that in mind as you tweak your coffee table vignette.
These are some of my favorite coffee tables, but really coffee tables are one of my favorite pieces of furniture to makeover, if you keep your eyes peeled at the thrift store or search Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
That’s it! Move things around, play with different textures, and you’ll end up with a pretty, collected coffee table.
If you need some different ideas, here are a few more.
Coffee Table Decorating Ideas
If you need more help about how to decorate a living room, you can see more in the Simplified Decorating series here.
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Rug
- How to Mix and Match Throw Pillows
- How to Decorate Shelves
- How to Decorate End Tables
- How to Decorate Around a TV