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How to Style a Coffee Table – Back to Basics

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Do you know how to style a coffee table? If not, you’re in the right place. If you do, then you might pick up on some new tips.

Back to Basics Monthly Series – Coffee Table Styling and Tips


Styling coffee tables is one of my most favorite things to do. I think it’s because they are so easy to style and they are so visibly appealing. Following are my tried and true secrets and design tips on how to style a coffee table.


Typically, I always style my coffee table with trays. It’s easier than decorating an entire table. Also, It makes for easier cleaning. Just pick up the tray and clean the table.

High and Low

With whatever you have on your coffee table, you want your eye to travel up and down. You don’t want your eye to rest at just one level. You want items to be of varying heights.

Be Odd

Use items in odd numbers…it just works


Use a fragrance you love and in the evening the glow of light is lovely.

Conversation Piece

Always try to have a piece that is unique or unusual. This pretty miniature china and silver fish box was my mother’s. The other night I had a cocktail party at my house. I cannot tell you how many times this box was picked up and looked at by party guests that were seated on the sofa. You want them to be interested. What is it? Where is it from? I love that!

Use color

A pop of color is usually the first thing that draws the eye to your table.

Flowers or Plants

Flowers and plants add life to the coffee table. To me it let’s you know that people really live in this home too.

Sparkle and Shine

You can use crystal candlesticks, a brass bowl or anything that reflects light. Sunlight, lamps and candles reflect light from glass or metal.

Use Items You Love

This is the most important tip. Make sure to always have items around you that you love. For example, my coffee table is a total collection of my favorites. A hammered aluminum tray from my grandmother, the miniature silver and blue and white china fish box from my mother, white hydrangeas, cobalt blue glass, vanilla candle and woven bottles. A true representation of me and my style but also of important people in my life.

Change it Up

Here’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine too. Don’t forget to change it up every once in a awhile. I’m not saying you need to change it up every month. I do feel that you need to change your coffee table decor at least seasonally – so at least 4 times a year.

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I hope you enjoyed my secret tips on how to style a coffee table. Don’t forget to see the other design blogger tips below.


  1. The blue in your decor is stunning! Your tips are spot on! I don’t know what it is, but the odd number thing always works. I have tried doing the even numbered thing and it looks off. Candles are always a must in our home too! Always fun touring with you!

  2. Such great tips! And I am so glad I’m not the only one who gravitates towards trays because they make cleaning easier 😉

  3. I love your blue decor so much……your coffee table styling is gorgeous as is your entire room. Great job!

  4. Your coffee table looks beautiful Vicki! I definitely need to work on getting some trays for my decor and I love the pops of blue, the hydrangeas and that pretty fish box you brought out.

  5. This looks so beautiful! I love all of your different vessels for flowers, I need some of those! Thanks for organizing and hosting, I love this Back to Basics series!

  6. It looks great – I always love your pops of blue!

  7. SO many great tips! Always try to work in odd numbers and who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle!

  8. I love all your tips and I so agree that something unusual makes a great conversation piece! Your blue in your decor is stunning. Thanks for hosting this series!

  9. I love all your great tips and I so agree with having something unusual to start a conversation. Your blue in your decor is stunning. Thanks so much for hosting this series!

  10. I love all your great tips and I so agree with having something unusual to spark conversation. All the blue in your decor is stunning! Thanks for hosting this series.

  11. I don’t know how you do it but you guys seriously find THE best textured containers. We need to go shopping together so I can find some too. I love the blue and the white hydrangeas mixed in with all the different layers. It’s all so pretty. Hugs, CoCo

  12. Elegant and simple. Thanks for the ideas to energize my coffee table.

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