Creating a beautiful coffee table style is a bit of an art but totally achievable when you know how. Too much precision and it can look staged and forced but too little and it can be cluttered and haphazard. The trick in how to style a coffee table is to create a visual composition of varying heights and textures through beautiful objects that becomes a focal point without disrupting the flow of the rest of the room. 


Here are some key tips to help you style a coffee table with flair

Consider your theme

The best place to start is to work out the over-arching style are you trying to achieve? Is it relaxed, minimalist, bold or luxurious? Do you have a personal item or heirloom that you particularly want to showcase as the talking point of the table? This may be your inspiration point from which to start.

Table shapes

Certain coffee table shapes lend themselves to varying arrangement styles. For large square tables, items created in displays of four quadrants work particularly well. Larger circular tables work well with three displays in a triangular style grid.  Use three to four vertical displays for narrower rectangular shaped tables. Moving items around the quadrants or grid of your table will guide you in creating the perfect layout.

And if your coffee table is two tiered, don’t forget to style the lower shelf.


This can be tricky when deciding how to style a coffee table. When choosing objects they should connect to each other in some way – either by shape, size, colour, material or theme.  If you have a display of only glass and chrome it may feel cold or one dimensional – adding a floral arrangement, a stack of books or a muted accent colour may be all it needs to tie together. 

Create varying heights

Ensuring your items are of varying size and height is key.  By doing this you will avoid a flat, lifeless look. Make sure that items are never so big that they overwhelm the space. Placing the tallest item in the centre helps create visual depth with objects on either side, such as a stack of books or a large candle. The flat surface of books are a great way to display smaller objects such as a dish, candle or a large shell for example.

Less is more

Seems obvious but it’s true. Be mindful not to overcrowd your table display with an excess of objects that are all competing for space.


Your coffee table still needs to be practical for your lifestyle. Don’t over-style your coffee table to the point where there is no room to put down a coffee cup. By the same token, a style that is too bare or minimalistic could look dreary.

Add something living

Flowers or plants are the perfect way to add dimension to a coffee table vignette and make if feel less staged. Whether by adding a pop of colour to contrast against muted tones or to tie in with a theme, plants and flowers are a must have for a coffee table arrangement.

Using fresh flowers allows you to update your style often, however a beautiful faux arrangement can be just as impactful with minimal upkeep. Try to avoid overtly large flowers (or objects for that matter) that could obstruct the view of the TV or a person sitting on an opposite sofa.

Use a tray to display decorative items

No coffee table display is complete without a tray. In fact it’s a great place to start when styling your first coffee table display. Using a tray or an open decorative box really helps to anchor objects in an organised way. However be careful to avoid a cluttered look by using too many objects.

What objects to include

Using a beautiful decorative dish or an interesting personal trinket (like a magnifying glass or a large antique key) layered on top of a stack of pretty books helps create a very personal style. Candles always add luxurious element as well as an obvious scent but avoid having candles of different scents. A collection of shells or small vases (two to three) can create visual impact. As can a paperweight, metallic bowl, a piece of coral or small sculture.

If you want a more minimalist look a single statement object can be just as impactful.

If you like this click here to read our How to create a signature scent