Coffee tables can be for decoration as much as they are for utility. Striking the balance between designing a chic and eye-catching accent and making sure your table still has room to hold your coffee can be challenging. We've compiled some tips that'll guide you through the process of decorating a coffee table.
Keep in mind, to decorate a coffee table, you'll need to:
- Consider the size and material of your table
- Pick accents based on the style of your living room
Sounds simple, right? Well, that all depends on you and what you like. If you're the kind of person who prefers to complete a project and be done with it, decorating your coffee table will entail a few days of finding the perfect accents before you move on to bigger things.
However, you could choose to change around the design based on the season, which requires regularly revisiting the look of your coffee table. It's all a matter of personal preference.
How Do You Style a Larger Coffee Table?
Given the ample room on the tabletop, larger coffee tables might tempt you to fill the space with as many knickknacks as you can find. While some people can use the eclectic look to great effect, others achieve an end result that looks kind of sloppy.
There are several ways to avoid this. First, you can choose to keep decorations mainly on one side of the table or another. An example of this arrangement might include a candle and some smaller accents, such as this chic Hosley silver-finished bowl, clustered artfully at the left end of the table.
Another way to decorate a larger coffee table would be to choose one dramatic centerpiece. This avoids overcrowding the piece while also capturing people's attention.
Designing a Small Coffee Table
Perfectly square coffee tables look great in small living rooms. Unfortunately, they don't leave a whole lot of room for creative design.
One way to get around this is by using trays, like the PuTwo mirrored tray pictured below. Trays draw the eye and bring visual cohesion by making small accents seem like they naturally belong together. They have an added bonus of being easy to remove if extra space is needed.
If that's not your style, consider adding centerpieces that utilize vertical space more than horizontal, such as a tall candle holder.
Decorating Based on Material
Sometimes, the type of coffee table you have—be it metal, glass, or wood—will affect the kinds of accents that look best on the table. Keep the following in mind as you choose what to display.
A Guide to Metal
Since this material often gives off a cool, contemporary vibe, you'll want to look for decorations that balance that vibe with warmth. A stack of books accomplishes this with ease. You can even amplify their welcoming effect by including puzzle books that entertain as well as decorate.
Adding a splash of green can also be a great way to bring life to a metal coffee table. For example, a pair of The Bloom Time plants as seen below could be placed at either end of the table for a pop of color and an effortlessly symmetrical design.
Glass Coffee Table Decorating Ideas
The unique thing about glass coffee tables is that you can see right through them. As such, you need to pay as much attention to the bottom shelf of your table as you do to the top.
Books and flat bowls make the most practical bottom shelf accents. If the bowl has an eye-catching pattern, like this IMAX paisley glass bowl, they're especially well-suited to your purposes.
As for the top, you'll just want to make sure it's not too busy. For example, using vases with color schemes similar to your bottom-self bowls will tie your design together without crowding the top.
As the most common type of coffee table, wood gives you the freedom to break the rules a little. Crowd the tabletop with your favorite books. Group candles of varying heights off to one side. Get a bowl of fruit that highlights an accent color in the room. Anything that enhances the warmth of the material is a good choice.
Another thing to keep in mind while decorating is the shape of your coffee table. Most tips assume you're working with a rectangular piece. If you're not, consider the following.
A Perfect Square
Playing up asymmetrical design is the best way to visually intrigue the eye when you have a square coffee table. Since there's less space, you'll want to stick with one attention-grabbing item placed to one side or the other or go with a couple of small ones as the sole decorations.
Round Coffee Table Decorating Ideas
Round coffee tables may seem daunting, but they follow a lot of the same general guidelines as rectangular pieces. If it helps, think of the table as split up into four quadrants. Decorating each of those with a special theme can lead to eclectic and visually-intriguing design.
Keep in mind, you can also never go wrong with placing eye-catching items off-center or balancing larger items with smaller accents.
Matching Accents to Living Room Style
The design of your coffee table should complement the aesthetic of the rest of the room. For example, if you have a country cottage style home, you might want to consider getting a gingham-pattered runner or a woven bowl. Bohemian homes always benefit from the addition of plants or jewel-tone accents.
Traditional living rooms might benefit from a saucer of potpourri and some candles, while modern spaces are complemented by metal bowls or ball accents like this Hosley set.
Additionally, you'll want the colors of your living room to inspire your coffee table design. If you have a grey and blue couch with orange accent pillows, consider picking up the orange on your table, as well.
Playing with Seasons
To keep your design fresh, you might consider having one or two accents on your coffee table that can be cycled out depending on the season. Fresh cut flowers, for example, always say springtime, while plaid accents can give off holiday cheer. Snow globes are easily swapped for decorative jars, and vases can be replaced with special scented candles.
The Most Important Thing
Remember when decorating that your coffee table should appeal to you first and foremost.
If you can't stand water rings, find a way to incorporate coasters into your design. Perhaps you like to watch sad movies—you'll want to make sure a tissue box with a decorative cozy is close at hand. If you like hosting game nights, you can use a lower shelf to show off your board games.
Whatever your personality, it should shine through in your coffee table decoration.