How to style a coffee table

How hard can styling a coffee table be right?

Ok, it’s a whole lot trickier than most people realise. Many of my friends have ended up frustrated after heading to the shops for ‘trinkets’ to decorate a coffee table, only to come home with a bunch of ‘stuff’ that don’t work together or look ‘right’. Anyone else relate?

Coffee tables are a crucial part to your lounge room and deserve becoming a style focus. With a few simple tweaks and following some of my go-to style rules that I use on our interior shoots, the humble coffee table will earn you some fabulous compliments in no time.

So, here is my handy little style guide for making that coffee table really work for you. 

Firstly, before you hit the shops, really work out your style. The photos here are from a more traditional style of shoot we recently completed with Pottery Barn [great before and after blog post here], and as with each shoot we went in armed with pages of style inspiration and guidelines. You will probably find that you already own items you can use, so start styling with what you already have.

So do the prep work and research what you need, like and already have before you start shopping. Pop on over to Pinterest and look at what styling aesthetic catches your eye and draw up a list of what types and styles of objects you’ll be needing for your coffee table. Money spent just for the sake of it is money wasted in my books, so really hunt for items that you will love to own, before you spend.

Once you get to the shops, really hone in and think about your colour palette. Uniting the colour palette and textures so that they work together will give you a cohesive table. Even while you are at the shops, arrange them together to see how they will work as a team. If it is feeling clunky there, chances are it will be hard to work together at home.

I love using some hardcover books, especially for those coffee tables with a lower shelf. The perfect tiered stack of books, in a matching colour palette will have you looking like a pro. And try to stick to odd numbers when layering items together [for example, a stack of three books, or collection of five small objects]. Buying books just for looks seems like a shallow thing to do, so buy ones you will actually read, but obviously a gorgeous cover wins those aesthetic style points. 

The next tip is to select a beautiful tray to anchor some of your more eclectic smaller items. Maybe it’s a scented candle or a small set of binoculars. Or some objects collected on your travels, which make for a great talking point. This tray here is one of my favourite leather ones from our shoot for Pottery Barn


[ Photography by Mindi Cooke]

Lastly, incorporate some personal family mementos for that talking point element. Maybe a collection of feathers from a family holiday, or a cute bowl full of polaroids from your family’s past. Either way, these little personal touches are what add the most unique character to your space and help tell your family’s story. 

And as always, give yourself time to play around with the styling and you might stumble across the perfect balance, or a whole new look with existing items.

Hopefully you now feel a little more equipped to tackle your coffee table in your living space, ready to make it the new hero of the room.

And if you are after help styling and decorating your whole home, making it interior magazine worthy, email us through our contact tab to find out about our services. 


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