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How to Practically Style Your Coffee Table

Ever see an instapost and wonder, where the heck would I put my drink or my feet on that coffee table setup? There is so much decor crap on the table that you can’t fit anything else on there (that you may actually need!) My great friend, Erica, actually styled my table with all things I already had in my home (ok, I bought a few things before she came over!) And she did it so quickly and effortlessly. I've linked a few things I have on my table that can be delivered to your home here:

I’ m going to show you how to easily set up your table so it will look nicely styled and also be functional in five steps. But first here is a list of things you likely have around the house that you can use for your table:

  1. Tray- round or square

  2. Decorative Box

  3. Coffee table books or hard cover books

  4. Candle

  5. Coasters

  6. Something Green- real/ fake plant or flowers

  7. Something special to you

  8. A few decorative pieces

Step 1- Showcase your Collection

Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t it make my collection complete?

Put out everything that you think you might use for your coffee table, you can even snag decorative pieces from different parts of your home if you want to switch things up a bit. Your little collection should be a combination of practical, decorative and special pieces to you!

Step 2- Scale, Shape, Size

All coffee tables are different. So take a look at yours before you start putting things on your table. Is your coffee table round, rectangle or square? Do you want your table decor to be symmetrical or staggered? You can place your coffee table in a grid pattern (like mine) or This is important because it changes how you would set up your decor.

Square- Plan to have three large or fours smaller separate clusters and you can stack something green on top of one of your stacks to avoid the cluttered look.

Circle- Two stacks on your coffee table will be perfect- you can also add flowers or something green as a stand alone.

Rectangle- Don't put too much on your table as it's not as wide. A few special pieces and something green will be perfect.

Step 3- Get out the Essentials

In my opinion, the two things you absolutely need on your coffee table is a tray and a decorative box. Here's why:

Decorative Box

Does anyone else have 13484 remotes for one television? Well, we do. Our roku, the satellite remote, the tv remote... even though each remote turns the tv off!! What about the remote for a dvd player? Do people have those anymore? Anyway-- just put all your remotes in there! It's a perfect way to use something pretty and make it useful. I recommend purchasing one that does not leave fingerprints! So nothing glossy or too light in color.


Your tray is probably the most important piece of your coffee table because you can put useful things that would look random if they were stand alone. In my tray I have coasters, a candle and a ginger jar to give it some height. You could also put matches, a deck of cards, or a decorative bottle opener if you or your spouse is a beer drinker.

Step 4- Stack those Books & Examine all Angles

I actually only had a few coffee table books when my friend decorated my table, so I just have two separate stacks going different ways. I like that if you're sitting on one side of my couch you can see the spine of one stack, and if you're on the opposite side you can see the spine of those.

The books should reflect your style but also can offer an opportunity for a pop of color. However, my table is pretty monochromatic with gray, black and white because we wanted to play off of a black & white marble piece my mom got me from the Magnolia Silohs. The books that I have on my table are about interior design, fashion, and cooking. I also recently ordered a book about the Marines and the Houston Astros for my husband, Enrique.

Step 5- Maintain Balance with Decorative Pieces & Greenery

Like I mentioned earlier, you don't want your coffee table to look cluttered with a bunch of small knick-nacks or too heavy with only big pieces. Choose a selection of both for balance. Your balance should be across the table, but also "high and low"- meaning not everything at the same height to allow the eye to travel across the space.

Here are some suggestions for your coffee table:

Something Special

You could have a special figure from a vacation or a vase for flowers that used to be your grandmothers. My "something special" is the marble board from my mom.

Something for Entertaining

Place a vintage board game on top of your books or a deck of cards in your tray.

Something Decorative

Your decorative pieces can be on top of your book stacks or stand alone. I have a wavy bowl, a ginger jar and candle sticks with some wooden beads. There are plenty of decorative items at Home Goods or on Wayfair.

Something Green

Grab your potted plant, a bowl of moss or flowers and put it on your table! It's always nice to have fresh flowers but that can be expensive. If you don't have a green thumb, I've linked some fake options for you on my account.

My friend suggested ivy because of the way cascades on the table, but you can choose any medium or small plant that you want.

There ya have it! A few suggestions for styling your coffee table with items you already have at your home. Shout out to my friend Erica for styling my coffee table while my baby was screaming. You're the bestest <3

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