Hot take: Coffee tables are the most vital piece the furniture in the living room. Hear united state out. They anchor the entire space and produce a tableau where the design influences, color palette, and an individual touches come together. Every one of which is why choose a coffee table and then styling it come perfection can be intimidating. For this reason we put together this coffee table overview to price all her coffee table questions and provide a step-by-step procedure on just how to format it.

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You deserve to get creative with your an option of table. If you have actually the space, try stacking one on top of the various other for an amazing twist ~ above tradition.

Table Talk

Before you can style, you have actually to uncover a table that fits your space. This might seem choose the many overwhelming action in the process, yet we’re here to help. “Look to space as a entirety to discover your cues ~ above what type of table come choose,” says Becca Roderick, director of One kings Lane inner Design. “You want the range of the coffee table and also the furniture paired v it to it is in similar.” If you have a small space, go through a smaller sized coffee table. If you have actually a substantial sectional, go through an oversize piece. Below room the most popular options with advice on just how to figure out which one is best for you.

Nesting tables: Use nesting tables in apartments or small sitting rooms wherein you desire to maximize space. Pull the end all the tables because that a wow moment or stack them together to make much more room for guests. The smaller tables have the right to also nestle in between sofas and chairs without acquisition up a lot of space.

Sculptural: Sculptural pieces are statement makers. They work-related well in both small and big spaces however look best when surrounding by more-subdued furniture. Several of our favorite sculptural pieces encompass kidney-shape tables, exaggeration takes on live-edge tables, and dual-level tables. To heighten the drama, try finding art that mimics the currently of the coffee table.

Cocktail ottomans: Cocktail ottomans are a an excellent double-duty furniture piece. If your family loves to placed their feet up yet you don’t desire them to damage your coffee table, an upholstered cocktail footrest is a an excellent compromise. Numerous are large sufficient that girlfriend can format books, trays, and also other objets ~ above top. Friend can additionally swap a large ottoman for two smaller X-benches.

Round: Flow is hugely essential when designing a room, specifically a little space. Round coffee tables are a designer’s go-to as soon as it involves opening up the circulation of a room. There are no hard edges to issue about, and also that frees up a most visual actual estate. If your room feeling a little crowded or overwhelmed by directly lines, walk for a ring coffee table.

Rectangular: A rectangular or square coffee table is as classic as the gets. And traditions are legacies for a reason. These tables job-related well in virtually any space. Finding the ideal size depends on how much room friend have. A rule of thumb: There should be 14-18 inches between the sofa and also the table.

Material matters: always consider the other elements in the room when determining the product of her coffee table. Glass functions well in small spaces where wood could feel a little bit clunky. Brass tables can include some much-needed dimension to a room with several wood. Heavier materials such together marble have to be well balanced with lighter silhouettes.

Build a Base

Once you’ve determined on what kind of coffee table girlfriend want, it’s time to start building the look. Any or every one of these go-to items must serve together the structure for the rest of her design: books, a catchall tray, or a decorative bowl. 

Books: You can pick the books based on your interests, or you have the right to do what many designers do and judge the publication by its cover. Over there is no wrong way to decide which publications you desire to showcase. Color-coding books has become popular over the past couple of years, and you can now quickly find bundles that match your shade scheme.

Trays: Trays are an excellent for tables with exciting shapes and because that cocktail ottomans because they carry out a flat surface turn off which to build. If you want helpful items such as a remote within arm’s reach, consider a tray. The one fence to trays is that they deserve to limit the room you need to work because that kicking up your feet; for the reason, Becca argues you use a tray the takes increase no more than fifty percent of the table.

Bowls: Using a bowl is a an excellent way to add dimension to the tableau. Look for bowls made of products that space the antithesis of what her table is made of. If you have actually a brass table, try natural materials like vetiver or horn. If you have actually a hardwood table, go for metal or glass. 


Add a tray come a cocktail ottoman so girlfriend can style all her favorite pieces without worrying around them falling off the soft top.


Creating a color story on your coffee table is a rapid stylist trick. The lends an waiting of sophistication to also the most simple design.


When choosing books, look for ones in the same color family or in complementary colors. This renders styling so lot easier. Photo by Nicole LaMotte.


Although the rule of thumb is to save things low across the visual plane, sometimes you simply need to do a dramatic statement. Here, the high wheat stems make because that a stunning visual.

Sky’s the Limit

You’ll want to construct height after developing a base—but no too much height. As a rule, friend don’t want to obstruct the view throughout the room. “You want to make sure that nothing brings so much elevation that the visual reference throughout that center allude is lost,” claims Becca.

Of course, all architecture rules are meant to be broken. Tall greenery or a high ridge of publications can create a showstopping moment. Simply be certain it isn’t in risk of toppling over.

Books might be the go-to for creating height, yet they aren’t the just option. Fresh or faux florals, vases, candlesticks, or other tall decorative items also work-related nicely.

Tips top top Stacking Objets

Order the operations: It might seem intuitive, but it’s worth mentioning that friend should constantly stack largest to smallest.Something’s off: Try topping her stack with something a little different. For example, if you’ve got a vintage wooden box, place a pair of silver- candlesticks on optimal of it.Pattern play: If her stack of publications can be watched from the side, try color-coding the from darkest come lightest. If girlfriend can’t carry out that, shot introducing a funny pattern into the ridge by going irradiate to dark and also then back to light.
Personal Touch

After you have the basics down, add some that your personal items to do the coffee table come alive. It’s the perfect location to present off your collection of matches indigenous restaurants around the world. Or probably you live through the beach and have an assortment of shells in a cute basket. Over there is no an enig to artfully arranging objects top top the table. Play around until the feels right to you. However if you want some basic styling rules, we’ve included our favorite below.

Style Like a Pro

Odd one out: Psychology tells united state that grouping points in odd numbers is an ext visually appealing. As soon as you’re styling a table, try adding items in threes or fives. Odd-number groupings produce cohesion and (the best kind of) chaos all at once.Consider color: Do you want to tell a color story? If so, this is the ar to execute it. Job-related within the same tones to create a merged statement. Or work-related in color-wheel opposites to create an attention-grabbing moment.Mix materials: If you have a many wood ~ above the table, include brass. If you have lots the metals, add wood. Mixing materials is the cheat code for finding balance within a design.

Coffee tables space a collector’s best friend. Usage them prefer mini museum to show off all her pieces. Here, shell take facility stage. They’re tucked nicely into a decorative bowl.

To level up your greenery game, go for funky vases. They’ll act as art once they’re empty and also draw the eye back to the table once full. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Go Green

The last step in styling your coffee table is topping it through some type of greenery. You deserve to go new or faux here. New florals offer you an ext leeway and also are great for an innovative types. If girlfriend love the watch of florals yet don’t want to spend time making arrangements every week, walk for faux.

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The flowers you pick count on what’s obtainable that season. Becca loves peonies, hydrangeas, and roses. “Any flower that functions in a small, round arrangement is an excellent for coffee tables,” she says.