It is important to provide design attention to your coffee table when decorating the living room or den; the well-curated coffee table should have a balance of form and function. It should be nice to look at, but it should also be a place that you can store objects or rest your beverage while relaxing. Decorating can take some careful consideration, however. Being a small space to work with, your coffee table can quickly become cluttered. At Pottery Barn, we've put together six ways to decorate your coffee table so that it looks beautiful while all of your items stay neat and easily accessible.
The coffee table sits front and center to the sofa or sectional, meaning that it is often a landing pad for books, remote controls, keys, magazines and any number of other small objects, like drink coasters. Though these objects don't take up a lot of space, they can easily create an untidy look on your table. Use vintage boxes and baskets to store all of your loose items and keep your table looking neat and in order. You can also use hidden storage, such as a false book, to keep your electronics and media out of sight but still within reach.
Magazines and books are often key features on a coffee table. They give guests something to browse, but they can also be tied into the decor. Use stacks of magazines to create various heights on the surface of your coffee table. You can then add a unique decorative object or plant on top of a stack to create another layer of beauty. The different heights make the surface interesting to look at and allow you to highlight a focal piece if you wish. For the right look, always stack magazines and books with the largest on the bottom and smallest at the top, and stack in groups of odd numbers for more visual interest.
When it comes to decorating, you can always keep things feeling fresh by incorporating nature into your tabletop vignette. Whether you use real or faux plants, these accents are refreshing and invigorating. Change up your plants each week or month to keep your decor looking fresh. The styles are endless. Place flowers or plants in wooden bowls, glass bottles, vases, pots or any other unique object you choose.
You don't have to stick with one type of decor or one stylistic theme for your coffee table. While it's true that many different elements can sometimes overwhelm, feel free to combine two or three different pieces of distinct styles to vary the look. Polished metals combined with rustic wood pieces complement each other well while creating an interesting vibe.
You can use your coffee table as an opportunity to show off a unique object or artifact that you have. While the object might seem out of place anywhere else, it can be a great conversation starter on your coffee table. Family heirlooms and other treasures really stand out and bring in a touch of personality to elevate the look of your table.
Having a lot of objects on your coffee table can limit the usable surface space. Trays are popular pieces for decorating because they are both stylish and functional. Group decorative items together on the tray for an organized, clean look. When you are entertaining guests or need to clear space on the table, you can simply remove the entire tray; it couldn't be easier to ready your table for use.
While you can certainly buy up the first dozen knickknacks that catch your eye, they may not give you a cohesive coffee table, let alone a true reflection of your style. Styling a coffee table isn’t a project you have to complete in a day. Give yourself some time to find pieces that you really want. It’s ok to be picky! The coffee table is often the center of your living room, so use it to display items that you truly enjoy looking at every day.
In order to look “styled” and not thrown together, your coffee table pieces need some sort of commonality. The color scheme of your living room can be a great help in achieving cohesiveness in your coffee table design. Choosing even just one or two items that match your scheme can bring all of the accessories together with the rest of the room. But there are more ways than just color to make your pieces fit the room. Take textures and materials for example. Is the hardware in your living room silver, brass or brushed nickel? Try using decor of the same material on your coffee table. A large brass candlestick will look right at home when there’s already an element of brass somewhere in the room. Think about the artwork on your walls as well. If you have a seascape or some other beachy scene, place seashells or a piece of coral on your coffee table. Artwork featuring horses might inspire you to have an equine sculpture or figurine prancing across your coffee table.
To create a coffee table design that catches the eye, think about choosing elements of different sizes. Several candlesticks or tall vases can provide height, while a low tray grounds the vignette and provides a handy base for medium-sized accessories like a stack of books or a few sparkly geodes. While you’re selecting pieces, think about the different shapes you’re utilizing. If you have a rectangular table, it may seem most obvious to use rectangular shapes like books, trays and decorative boxes. If you want to go for a more unique look, consider using a round tray or a large decorative bowl. Alternately, try rectangular pieces to give a round table a more dynamic vibe. If your coffee table has two levels with a space for baskets or books underneath, try making the lower level a part of your styling too. Again, this can add visual interest to your table.
If you still feel as if your coffee table styling is missing something, try plants. Whether real or faux, a natural element like a vase of flowers or an arrangement of potted plants can instantly take a coffee table to completion. Adding plants to your coffee table doesn’t have to mean a lot of work on your part. You can choose low-maintenance plants like succulents that only need minimal watering, or opt for faux flowers for the same look without the fuss. On the other hand, caring for a plant can be a rewarding routine. You might enjoy the simple daily act of watering plants, or the task of refreshing the cut flowers in your vases every few days. No matter what sort of plant you try, they’re sure to add that extra something to complete your coffee table styling.