Dos & Don'ts of Coffee Table Styling

 

So many people are overwhelmed by this simple but impactful element in a living room. They think, "Ugh, I can't do it like you" or "You have an eye for it, unlike me." But we're here to hush those negative thoughts. If you stick to a few key tricks, you too can have an impeccably styled coffee table like the ones you see on Instagram and in magazines. It honestly doesn't take much, and you can more than likely source styling objects from your very own cupboards. The ultimate goal to keep in mind is to create an organized and appealing collection of items of varying heights and textures. Easy enough, right?

We're highlighting the dos and don'ts of styling your coffee table, and we're making it easy—but most of all fun! By the end of this post, you'll want to wipe your coffee table clean, style it to perfection, and show it off on the "Gram." 

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START

Do: Start with a clean slate. Remove everything from your coffee table, dust it off, and start from scratch. 

Don't: Get overwhelmed. 

Do: Corral all potential styling objects such as bowls, vases, trays, coffee table books, small boxes, candles, baskets… 

Don't: Stop here with a mess beside the coffee table.

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GROUP

Do: Start placing your objects on your coffee table in groupings of either three or five. This may seem strange and particular, but collections of objects in threes or fives have been proven to be pleasing to the eye. Place your largest objects first and work from there. You could start with this group of three: (1) a large bowl, (2) a group of large books on top of each other, and (3) a large tray to house more collectibles. 

Don't: Place all your items on the coffee table randomly and clutter the surface.

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SCALE

Do: Think of the scale of your objects. Make sure you have objects of varying heights and widths to create an interesting path for the eye to follow. Vases can add height to a surface, while trays will add width. 

Don't: Create a coffee table collection with items of all the same size. This will be boring to the eye and will make you give up on your coffee table–styling adventure when you've already come so far!

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TEXTURE & SHAPE

Do: Vary the texture and shape of your coffee table collection. Just as you chose objects of differing scale, you also need to choose objects of differing textures and shapes. To mix neutral, natural, smooth, and metallic elements, think of adding a woven basket, a geode paperweight, a ceramic vase, and a brass candlestick. 

Don't: Go out and buy five gold balls and dump them on the coffee table. 

GREENERY

Do: Add greenery for a natural touch. You can add a low maintenance succulent plant to the table or real flowers. Flowers are a great way to add height as well. Who doesn't love fresh flowers? They are guaranteed to brighten up any space. 

Don't: Create a garden on the coffee table. Similar to all Do's listed so far—everything in moderation to avoid cluttering your space. 

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FINAL TOUCHES

Do: Step back and rearrange your objects until you feel they are just right. Feel free to swap things in and out every once in a while. 

Don't: Feel as though "what's done is done." Coffee table styling can change week to week or month to month depending on the books you'd like to display, the candles you burn, or the flowers that are in season. It's your coffee table, and just like you, it will change its moods and accessories. 

Do: Have fun! It's just a coffee table, after all. Think of it as housing your favourite objects for you to enjoy. 

Don't: Get overwhelmed. Again, this should be a fun way to display the objects you love. 

 
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Team Tips

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"I like to add an unexpected shape to the coffee table just to keep things interesting—like a funky paperweight or a uniquely sculpted bowl."

- Katie

"I love adding fresh cut flowers while styling a coffee table. No need for ornate vases or intricate arrangements—I prefer to keep it to one type of flower selection mixed in with greenery. It's such a simple way to add a different dimension to a space or inject some colour."

- Jenn

"My favourite trick is to stack two to three coffee table books with a small round object on top, like a geode. This would be one grouping of three or five. It's simple but unique."

- Katrina

Surely after reading this post, you’re more motivated than ever to tackle your coffee table. If you have any more doubts or questions, leave us a comment below. We’d love to help you out.