How To Style And Decorate A Glass Coffee Table

What is the best way to style and decorate a glass coffee table? We've looked around and researched to find some of the coolest styling ideas for this piece of furniture. Whether your style is modern, transitional, or traditional, there's a fun way to work with a glass coffee table.

Your coffee table is both functional and part of the room's design. Here are the steps to styling one:

  • Consider your design scheme
  • Decide on the must-haves for your coffee table
  • Determine how much or how little when it comes to coffee table decor
  • Pay attention to proportions
  • Think of lifestyle considerations

Let's look at each of these items in more detail below. We'll also discuss what you might want to put under a glass coffee table, if you can paint a glass coffee table, how to style a round glass coffee table, and if you can refinish a glass-top coffee table. So keep reading for in-depth details and images!

Contemporary interior living room with a glass coffee table, a small plate with croissant, French press, and a vase with lavender, How To Style And Decorate A Glass Coffee Table

Styling And Decorating Your Glass Coffee Table

Many designers will choose a glass coffee table because of its visual lightness. The glass allows for light and color to play through the surface of the table which keeps this central piece of furniture from being too heavy. Because of this light and see-through quality, it's important to take some other thoughts into consideration.

Consider Your Design Scheme

If you're into minimalism, then you may not want much of anything on your coffee table. The point of your design choices is sleek sophistication, so placing loads of objects on your coffee table might make no sense. The minimalist space below chooses to have the coffee table empty. It's there to serve a purpose when in use for drinks and gatherings, but the rest of the time it sits empty.

Ultra modern contemporary living room with wooden cladding and a white sectional sofa with black throw pillows

For transitional rooms, you might choose a glass-topped coffee table with a wooden base. This gives you all of the easy cleaning attributes of glass, but still provides design elements that work with comfy upholstered sofas and chairs. This coffee table features some shadow boxes below the glass that you could fill with beautiful objects.

A large living room with beige sofa, white glass coffee table, and wooden flooring

Click here to see this similar style on Amazon.

What Are Your Must-Haves For Your Coffee Table?

In other words, how do you use it? Do you enjoy displaying beautiful books? Maybe it's where you keep your television remote or gather some candles to set the mood. Deciding what you need can help you with styling decisions.

On this lovely table, the use of a metal tray adds a defined space for a collection of candles and vases.

A contemporary home with a long glass coffee table with a candle and cookies

If you need to keep your remote or your cell phone or other small objects on your coffee table, consider using a small decorative box to hold those items.

This lovely 5" x 7" box can be found on Amazon.

If you want to display art books or photo books, consider getting a glass-topped coffee table with a lower shelf where books will not rest on the upper surface of the table. They'll be visible for guests but won't take up valuable serving space on the top of the table.

Click here for this table on Amazon.

How Much Or How Little When It Comes To Coffee Table Decor

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This does go back a bit to your style. If you're a minimalist, you may choose for nothing or only one or two objects on your coffee table. But if you're a bit of a collector and love to show off your treasures, your coffee table may be an amazing place to make that happen. Decide how much or how little you want as part of your styling choices.

Pay Attention To Proportions

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This bit is true in so much of design. The proportions of your favorite furniture pieces and tabletop pieces should work together. If you have an incredibly delicate glass coffee table, you'll probably want to keep things simple. Here a couple of lovely bound books and some decorative balls are all that is needed to elevate this table's design. 

This set of moss balls is available from Amazon.

Are There Lifestyle Considerations To Take Into Account?

We're talking kids and pets. We love them both, but they can definitely affect the sort of design decisions we make. Don't style your beautiful glass-topped table with hand-blown vases or delicate orchids. Instead, think about using a nice basket or a wooden tray to hold a few must-have items for the coffee table. This way, you can easily move it out of harm's way when your beloved youngsters come into the room.

This coffee table tray even comes with some matching coasters. Of course, one of the great things about a glass-topped table is not having to worry about water rings that discolor wood. But, you can still get condensation and a coaster is a nice thing to have.

Click here to see this tray on Amazon.

What Do You Put Under A Glass Coffee Table?

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If you have a single-shelf coffee table, then the only thing underneath it will be the floor. With this space, you could slide a small pouf or two underneath. This can give you extra seating and could be visually interesting through the glass top. See our post on poufs here: 8 Types of Living Room Poufs That You Should Know

Click here for these gold leather poufs on Amazon.

You could also get some storage boxes made of rattan or fabric to keep blankets, magazines, or anything else you want at the ready but not on top of your table.

Can I Paint My Glass Coffee Table?

You actually can. Krylon Spray Paint has a great post on using their Looking Glass paint to give glass-topped tables a personal look. All you have to do is wipe the top down with alcohol to remove grease and smudges, then paint it with thin coats of the Looking Glass paint of your color choice (be sure to let it dry between coats) until the desired look is achieved. Don't forget to tape off your legs if you're not painting those as well.

Now, if you have mad skills and want to do something beyond anyone's expectation, there's always reverse painting on glass. This art form is basically making a painting from your finishing details first to your background last. There are some beautiful antique coffee tables done in this creative and specific method.

How Do You Style A Glass Round Coffee Table?

This one's simple. Follow the same steps as we've laid out for styling a coffee table in general. the only place you may think differently is if you're using a tray. On a round table, you might find that a round tray works better for your needs than a rectangular or square one.

This nesting set is a perfect home for some gorgeous house plants. Click here for this on Amazon.

How Do You Refinish A Glass-Top Coffee Table?

Has the glass on your coffee table gotten scratched or dulled? You might be looking for a way to refinish it. One method we found was to use toothpaste. Clean your glass with a glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. Dab a small amount of plain white toothpaste on the scratch and, using a washcloth, gently rub in circular motions over the scratch. The trick is to minimize the sides of the scratch while not creating more scratches by pressing too hard. This should polish the glass.

If all else fails, you can always go to your local glass shop and see if they can help you refit your coffee table with new glass. Depending upon the table's construction, this may or may not be achievable.

Let Your Inspiration Flow

We hope this has given you some great starting points for ways to style your glass coffee table. Follow the simple thought processes we've outlined and you'll have a super jumping-off point for your special design.

If you enjoyed this post here at, please check out a few of our others below:

17 Fabulous Furniture Ideas For A Small Living Room

15 Gorgeous Living Rooms With Round Rugs That You Need To See

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