How to Style a Coffee Table

Posted February 19, 2020 by Christina Najjar

Okay, so, you’ve done the hard part. You found that mythical unicorn that often takes years to acquire. It is likely expensive, rare, and almost certainly difficult to ship: you found the perfect coffee table. Laugh if you must, but this centerpiece is the heart of a living room and can really make or break the vibe you’re working to achieve. It can be hard to pick a table that’s the right scale, finish, and level of formality. [Sure, it’s all fun and games to have a great (cough, free, cough) hand-me-down from your parents’ basement, but 10 years and several coasterless-wine glasses later, you’ve had to move on. I digress.] The point is, it’s freakin’ hard to find a table that pulls it all together, and once you have it, the next obstacle you face is how to adorn it. Don’t fear! The good news is, unlike that butterfly tattoo on your ankle, tabletop style isn’t permanent. Mixing up that #tablescape is a great way to change the tone of your room, so do it often and go wild! (Ok, not as wild as the night you got the butterfly tattoo). 

3 Tips to Coffee Table Styling:

Soar to great heights

We rarely speak in absolutes, but a coffee table’s adornments should never be flat or one height. A range in scale gives depth and emotion to a table. Play with oversized and miniaturized vases and art pieces. Don’t be afraid to have a huge stack of books in one corner, and a shallow bowl in another. Think of it as a mini-city skyline right on your table - make sure you have Central Park West AND Christopher Street.

Color your world

There are two routes you can go color-wise. Either you pick a palette - for example, concoct a neutral board of greys, browns, whites, blacks, and beiges - or go full technicolor dream. Yes, this space has to function, but think of it as part of the mood that you’re setting in the room, and as such the color scheme should accentuate your POV. (On the other hand, we’ve seen it work to throw your hands up in the air and add every color under the sun with piles of magazines and cigarette butts and see what happens - that Parisian tortured artist vibe. Just be intentional about it.)

Stay curious

Playing with textures is an easy way to take your coffee table from post-college to super grown up. We love the juxtaposition of a cloth tray with a smooth bowl on top of it, and/or some sculptural paperweight atop a shiny book adding dimensionality. The point is, opt for a table filled with more than just books. Enter object d’arts, aka pretty bits and bobs. Make it personal and interesting with something eye-catching and storied. People are going to be sitting around this thing and chatting, so make sure you have some fun talking points that feel authentic to you and your home. 

Share your tablescape with us! Tag #STFCOLLECTORS.

Leave a comment