Styling Ideas: Decorating a Coffee Table

Apart of the sofas, coffee tables are one of the central focus of any living room, and styling it perfectly can be called an art. Luckily, decorating coffee table is very easy to master as long as you keep certain guidelines in mind. So, I’m here to share with you the most useful advice on how to make your coffee table feels really functional and finished while looking impeccably elegant and glamorous.

decorating coffee table

The sophisticated colour scheme and glimmering details of this coffee table look reflect so much glam and confidence (Via Homevialaura)

When it comes to a living room organisation, the two main pieces of furniture that attract most the attention are the sofa and the coffee table. The latter often becomes the centrepiece especially in smaller houses which is why it’s important to take your time to decorate it in the best manner possible.

Knowing the basic on decorating a coffee table, you will be able to give your living room an easy update and change it all the time. Sometimes just swapping out one or two things, sometimes recreating the whole thing from scratch, but with the following tips, you will have the real formula for creating new pleasant looks.

So without further ado, here are my 10 coffee table decorating tips that will help you create a perfectly styled look like a pro.

1. Keep it balanced

One of the most important things you have to bear in mind is ‘Balance’. It is compulsory that you display your objects in harmony and symmetry to create an equal visual weight. It doesn’t mean that your items should be identical on each side, but they have to balance each other in terms of size and tone.

decorating coffee table

A central object grounds the display while bigger displays of equal visual weight on either side round it out (via The Chriselle Factor)


2. Define a grid

Before to start, you can try virtually dividing your coffee table into 3 to 5 sections. So it will be much easier for you to make different arrangements in a balanced distribution. This especially holds true for long, rectangular-shaped tables.

decorating coffee table

A well-styled coffee table using the 3 section’s rule (Via Studio McGee)


For round tables, always create groupings in a triangle shape to make the table visually interesting.

decorating coffee table

A triangular distribution comes in handy when styling your round coffee table (Via Curated Interior)


3. Work with your Living Room

As a general rule, coffee tables need to be attractive without disrupting the flow of the rest of the space. When styling them, I try to bear in mind the colour palette in the space but also the composition, style and shape of the room. Those elements that define your entire display should be connected, and the items you choose for your coffee table should fit together with them.

Getting this right takes time, but with a little bit of practice and some inspirations, you will create a composition with connected items that can work together as a whole.

decorating coffee table

Books with bold touches that marry with the scheme (Via The Every Girl)


4. Set a Foundation

First, set the foundation with large elements such as coffee table books. You can’t go wrong with some pretty stack of books that match your Living Room’s mood. I like to group them in three’s because odd numbers always look better in design.

decorating coffee table

Using books as a foundation of a coffee table (Via Homevialaura )


5. Rely on trays

Using trays represent both a practical and stylish solution that gives you an anchor and helps you corral smaller items. Thus, you can showcase your favourite small finds while also making them easily removable should you need to clear the surface for entertaining.

A tray is also useful when you feel your items like ‘floating’. This gives structure and symmetry, especially on freeform or rounded tables.

A pro tip: If you have too many square objects such as books, boxes, etc., you can contrast them and soften the surface using an oval or round tray.

decorating coffee table

A coffee table looking more organised and balanced using a tray (Via Decoholic)


6. Play with different levels

It is so important to create different levels. Varying the height of your objects will always make for a more pleasing display than if everything is the same height. In this sense, you will avoid your composition will look ‘flat’ to the eye.

So, after defining the levels you want to reach within your display, you can start adding the objects you choose according to your style. I like creating a group of 2 or 3 small items that give interesting shape and texture like candles, sculptures, beautiful vases, coasters, etc. On the other hand, small boxes and books will define a lower level.

After creating your groupings, try moving them around until they look just great.

decorating coffee table

Candles will always a great choice when defining different levels but also adding great smells too (Via Who is Hanna)


7. Add some greeneries or flowers

Incorporating natural elements will give your table an organic feeling which I quite like. Plants and natural flowers will give so much life to your display. They look pretty and colourful but also will give some height and texture.

decorating coffee table
A few blooms within the same colour palette (Via Curated Interior)


8. Make it personal and entertained

Styling a coffee table is my favourite way to show off a little personality. It definitely makes a large horizontal space feel functional and finished, but also it gives you the opportunity to get a glimpse of your most precious objects and memories from travels, family and celebrations.

You can also consider giving your guest a way to break the ice and get some fun when seated around the coffee table. A vintage board game or a deck of cards would be some playful options to add a bit of entertainment to your space.

decorating coffee table

A coffee table should reflect your personality (Via The Christelle Factor)


9. Don’t forget the bottom shelf

A bottom tiered coffee table requires special consideration. You have to apply some of the principles I showed you for decorating the top: balance, composition, symmetry and scale. Try to keep similar styles without diminishing the display above. Some recommendations? Add some objects large objects such as boxes or decorative baskets that you can display on its own or in two groups.

decorating coffee table

The bottom of your coffee table should be simpler than the display on the surface (Via Studio McGee)


10. Look around and edit

In order, to make sure everything is placed in harmony, walk around the coffee table to get a look at it from different angles and to check out all the sides.

Remember, you can play with all objects following my previous tips and shift them around until it’s just right.

decorating coffee table

A beautifully styled coffee table (Via Emily Henderson)



To summarise, here is a fabulous diagram I created for you to catch easily the anatomy of a well-styled coffee table:

decorating coffee table


Honestly, I’m really obsessed with all these beautifully styled coffee tables. So, here I’ve also prepared a guaranteed-look-good shopping guide for you to combine all these gorgeous items and get a designer look following step by step all my tips on decorating a coffee table.

Isn’t just awesome? So, If you love these essentials, just click and start shopping!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a little affiliate commission.




Now, are you ready to try these new tips at home? Go on, share with me on Instagram using the hashtag #styleitwithmoa …I dare you to try all these useful advice on decorating coffee table and switch it up when you are craving something new.