Coffee tables are easy to look over, but they get a lot more use than we give them credit for. Often I see the coffee table as the last picked item in a room, and just an addition that doesn’t get much thought. Let’s change how we look at the humble coffee table and work on it with a few styling tips.
First, let’s begin with the coffee table itself before we even touch the styling aspect. There are so many different shapes, and you’ll want to consider them for your room. Traditionally, the rectangle is the most classic and easiest to style, but don’t be afraid to step our of those boundaries. Also look at the design function of the table. Will this be in a more formal space and be less about utility? Or will you need to find a coffee table with shelves, or even drawers for storage? Lastly, think about how the table will sit in the room. Choosing between a piece with legs or a solid block will completely alter the rooms appearance. I explained and showed examples of this in today’s email. If your not on the list- join here!
Now that you’ve selected your perfect table, let’s move on to your first “layer”. As with all design layers are important! I like to set the foundation with large books, that are typically packed full of visuals to inspire. Whatever your interest or hobby, I’m sure there is a coffee book that’ll match accordingly. I’m listing a few of my favorites, and including one major hint to an upcoming collaboration going on at my Alys beach house!
Once you’ve stacked a few books, I’d suggest leaving a space for a tray. Trays are easily moved, can catch keys or rings, and are another great base for other items to layer on top of. Make sure the proportion of your tray suits your coffee table and fits your needs. You will need it to be stable and flat if you chose a coffee table that is upholstered. Also consider whether you’ll need handles or if you have a larger item you want to set on top of it. Always keep scale in mind.
You are now ready to add in pieces of interest to your coffee table styling. These can be boxes (great for housing remotes or card games), jars, bowls, or objet d’art (think sculptural pieces!). I think this is the most fun layer, and can be a good opportunity to incorporate metals. Metals are a wonderful way to add texture, as are any nature elements (stone, wood, ceramic, and so on). An easy rule of thumb it to style in odd numbers. So instead of having two symmetrical pieces, change it up with varying heights and add a third piece to create asymmetrical balance. This isn’t a steadfast rule, but something to think about.
Finally, my favorite part of styling a coffee table: add something green. I prefer live, but it doesn’t have to be. Adding in a green element (flowers, potted plants, a mini tree) is key to creating a complete look. If you are here in Atlanta, head over to Le Jardin for the most stunning florals or terrariums. Once you complete your coffee table styling, send me a picture or tag me on social media! You know I always love to see what you all come up with.