Round tables can be useful for smaller areas, but they can also be a lot safer without those traditional hard corners. Unfortunately, round shapes can sometimes seem harder to style. You’ll have less surface area to work with, and the geometry will work a little differently. But there are still plenty of ways to smoothly work your new coffee table into the room. We have carefully researched the best ways to style a round coffee table.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Although you can style a round coffee table any way you please, certain tricks will make it feel more balanced and appealing. Then again, you might still have to consider some of the principles that work for traditional, rectangular coffee tables too. Either way, these considerations are important to review so that the coffee table will agree with the rest of your interior design:
- Decorative Trays
- Accent Layers
- Color Cohesion
- Function or Style
Coffee tables are used frequently, and they tend to be the centerpiece of conversation. So, it’s important to strike the right balance between style and function. But you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Some simple tips will have your coffee table ready to go. Keep reading to learn how to style any round coffee table with the best symmetry, trays, layers, and personality.
How To Style A Round Coffee Table
There are few things more pleasing than a clean, noticeable structure. Organization is just naturally calming to look at. So, the first thing you’ll need to do is consider the round table’s geometry. Rectangular coffee tables offer long, tidy lines that serve as a perfect canvas. Your job is to reclaim those lines, but it isn’t too challenging.
To begin with, imagine that you’re dividing the round coffee table into pizza slices. You can group your table decorations into each of those slices. Start with two halves, and then decide if you want to cut the coffee table into thirds or fourths.
For example, you might have one group of décor on one half of the coffee table and a different group of accent pieces on the other half. But this leads to another tip. You really don’t want to make your coffee table too busy.
Simplicity is always more attractive, no matter how gorgeous the decorations are. You never want too much clutter anywhere in the room. But that’s especially true for a conversation area like the coffee table.
How Do You Style A 2-Tier Round Coffee Table?
A two-tier coffee table has a lower level in addition to the conventional design. This adds another degree of geometry to consider regarding symmetry.
The key is to make sure anything on the lower level agrees with the decorations above. Typically, this is achieved by balancing the symmetry. You can match the divided sections on top, where both the top and bottom tiers have two groups of accent pieces.
Or, you can try to create a pyramid. For example, if the upper level has three sections of décor, you can just use two halves for the lower tier. You can also flip that around by using three groups below, and two groups of decorations on top. This would make a nice, clean triangle.
True, you could always try to leave the lower tier empty. But that can look a bit strange, especially if you wanted the upper level to feel decorative. This would create an immediate contrast, and the lower level would no longer seem like it is empty on purpose.
You should also consider the distance between the two tiers. If there isn’t much, you’ll have to use flat decorations on the lower level. If you have far too much space, then you can use decorations that are a bit more clunky. This can fill up the empty room that would otherwise go unused.
In fact, the lower level is often reserved for some kind of storage space. A round coffee table probably isn’t going to have shelves, but you can add in your own storage baskets or chests.
Decorative trays are also known as coffee table trays. They are basically small platters for your coffee table, designed to hold any decorations you want. Decorative trays are available in many different materials and shapes.
These trays are essentially used like a typical area rug. They can help unify the area while creating a bridge between the foundation and the décor. You even need to consider the right material for your tray, so it doesn’t damage the coffee table.
Sometimes, it’s possible not to use a tray at all. This means you will have to rely on the décor itself to create balanced symmetry. You should also use fewer decorations if you don’t have trays to ground them. Otherwise, the table will quickly become a bit messy.
What Tray Shape Looks Good On A Round Table?
Generally speaking, rectangular and square decorative trays are the way to go. This will help you restore the clean lines you’ve lost by removing the corners from your coffee table.
That, in turn, will allow you to decorate more freely with accent pieces. The décor will feel grounded in a box. Rectangular and square trays can also help establish the sections you want on your round coffee table. If you want two distinct halves, then you can place two squares on either side of the table.
If you use circular coffee table trays, things quickly become very tricky. A larger round tray could be concentric, which means it is perfectly centered. This is the only way to create even lines. You need to keep in mind that using circles within a round table will rarely look even enough. Smaller round trays usually won’t look right, even if you join them at the center of the table.
The best thing you can do is to create layers in your coffee table’s décor. The best way to achieve this is by playing around with the heights and quantity of your accent pieces.
You might want to follow the classic rule of three for your heights. This refers to the basic visual rule that using three variations in a scene will create just enough intrigue without feeling overwhelming. So, you can have one tall decoration, one short decoration, and one in between.
Also, make sure that you don’t have too many decorations on the table. Just because you have two clean trays on the table doesn’t mean you can freely stuff them to the brim. For example, you might not want a bunch of random, decorative travel books to take away from a sentimental conversation piece.
Next, you should consider some basic relationships between colors. This will help you style just about anything in the room, including your round coffee table.
The safest bet for any décor is to go with neutral colors. These include white, gray, black, and the near-neutral color brown. Neutrals are flexible enough to work with just about anything because they are technically absent of any true color. They differ because of their temperature. White is hot because it reflects colors, while black is coldest because it absorbs colors.
It is always better to coordinate your colors instead of matching them. This is especially true when you want to use decorative trays. For example, consider if your personal goal is to establish clean lines on a round table.
In that case, there should be a noticeable contrast between the table and the trays. Otherwise, they will blend in too much and won’t actually ground your decorations. They will appear to be floating in space anyway.
If you don’t want so much contrast that one decoration pops way more than the others, then you can use colors that sit nearby on the color wheel. When you choose colors that agree like that, you’ll want to keep them within two or three shades of each other.
Function or Style
Many times, it can be easy to let your interest in the coffee table’s style get ahead of the function. Try to remember that coffee tables are still meant to be used. So, objects that are popularly used on top of coffee tables might look nice, but they tend to be impractical too.
You should find the right balance between function and style. In fact, sometimes, you might want to consider if common coffee table ornaments will conflict with the overall style of the room or home.
What Items Look Good On A Round Coffee Table?
Here’s where you can consider popular items that look good on any coffee table. They are staples, but you should weigh them against function too.
Plants, candles, and books are the easiest additions to any coffee table, including round coffee tables. You can read "What to Put on a Coffee Table [Six Great Suggestions]" for tips on style with these.
Flowers and other types of foliage are an easy way to add a lot of thin height. They look nice and aren’t too distracting. But you may not want to add them if guests won’t be able to see the television over your tall, fancy flowers. Even worse, you probably don’t want any pets to end up eating them.
Candles can make any table appear cozier, and they can even add a nice ambient light in the evening. But sitting them directly on top of your stacked books will prevent anyone from actually having a look when you discuss them. And there might be a fire hazard with certain candles and tables.
Books are arguably the best coffee table décor. They come in all sizes, they stack to any height, and they can spark any conversation you please. You can read "Coffee Table Book Recommendations: What's the Best Size?"
How Big Should Your Round Coffee Table Be?
Specialists quoted in The Washington Post advised that any coffee table should measure around two-thirds of your sofa. This will ensure that everyone can easily reach the coffee table. If you want to be more decorative, you may want to make it a little larger. Coffee tables of any shape are usually around 16 inches tall.
Round coffee tables might be a little tricky here and there. But the styling technique won’t be all that different from the typical rectangular coffee table. You’ll need to consider typical things like the layers and colors of your décor. You just need to pay special attention to geometry and symmetry. Now that you know how to work with round coffee tables, all it needs is your personal touch.