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How To

How to Style Your Coffee Table

by Samantha Labrecque|May 24, 2021

Want to give your living room an easy update? Here are a few simple examples of how to style your coffee table – coupled with affordable options – plus tips on how to design the space like a pro.


  • Maintain Balance: There's nothing worse than having knick-knacks clutter a space. Display items that vary in size... all large items make it too heavy, and all small items may get visually lost. Keep it simple.
  • Change it up: We could all use a change now and again. Rotate your decor and swap it out seasonally – fresh flowers in the spring, a pumpkin in the fall – but leave the basics (table runner, tray, candle) right where they are.
  • Use Greenery: Fresh or faux, it doesn't matter what type of plant you use, just go green. A plant adds both a pop of color and texture to the table. A simple hard-to-kill succulent or a vase of fresh flowers do just fine.
  • Add Height: You don't want everything on your coffee table to feel the same weight (as stated above) so why make it all the same height? Use items of different heights for a more eye-catching setup. For example, a vase of tall flowers, candlesticks, etc.
  • Include a Tray: Wood, marble, glass, or metal trays are all great options to use as the 'anchor' piece on your coffee table. What I mean by this, is that placing objects on your tray keeps them from feeling as if they are floating or are just randomly placed on your coffee table. A tray serves as both an anchor decor piece but is also practical for space.
  • Mix Elements: Not everything on your coffee table should be made from the same material. Mix up objects with glass, wood, fabric, etc. Not only does this help with color variation but it adds a variety of texture, too.

How To Style a Coffee Table

Example 1:

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I know I am breaking my own advice here, but this large wooden breadboard acts as the tray. Remember to keep it simple... the coffee table vignette doesn't have to be overly complicated. My rule of thumb is to: A. keep the tips I mentioned above in mind and B. go with the flow...not every tip has to be followed to the tee-- that's why it is a tip and not a rule! :) In this coffee table vignette, I added faux greenery (a pop of color) and a variety of elements (a wooden board, a fabric table runner, and a glass jar) to aid in both color and texture.

Example 2:

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To me, this is the most classic type of coffee table vignette. If you have a wooden coffee table, soften the top with a cloth table runner. (Trick: if your coffee table is short like ours, use a textured, but thin bathroom rug rather than a super long-able runner. See example 1 above to see how I styled the rug.) First, find a tray that suits your style. I like the woven seagrass look for summer and the round shape of the tray. Then, use a book or two to add color. I love incorporating old vintage books into spaces around our home...hardcover works best. Next, add your greenery. Again doesn't matter if it is real or faux but a pretty vase and greenery add color and height. (Trick: Head to Trader Joe's for eucalyptus and other flowers and create your own bouquet for cheap!). Lastly, add a candle to the vignette. Here I have a dough bowl candle but a candle in a glass far would also do just fine. It adds warmth to the vignette, especially when it is lit!

Example 3:

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This last example is something I put together quickly for a collaboration with a company I was working with. Sometimes, when you don't think too hard about putting something together, that's when it comes out the best! I used a colorful old book as the base and tied the colors all together with pretty little vases. Then I brought in some more similar blue hues and stood those books upright for a touch of height. Eucalyptus was added for color and a white chippy corbel for texture.

This article was written by Samantha Labrecque from The 617 Farmhouse.

Meet the Author

Samantha loves to design her home in Nashville with a big farmhouse style! Her hope is to share inspiration and budget-friendly resources with you to make your own house feel like a home, no matter the size.

Follow along with Samantha on Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog! You won't want to miss out!

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