Styling a coffee table can be frustrating, to say the least. What begins as a simple task can quickly turn into a chaotic “what’s going on here?” moment. While having countless options can be overwhelming, don’t let the endless possibilities scare you away from letting your inner decorator shine. In our humble opinion, coffee tables are a chance to show off organizational and creative talents all in one go. And best of all, coffee-table decor can be the least permanent part of your space. Swap books for tabletop objects, puzzles for candles and flowers—or just mix it all together and let your coffee table serve as a decorative catchall displaying your current obsessions.
From stacking books with personal mementos to unconventional pieces of furniture, we’re here to ease your styling anxieties with some eye-catching coffee table decor ideas that will be sure to satisfy whatever type of design lover you are.
1. Go the clear route
A glass-top coffee table allows you to showcase your accessories without worrying about maximalist overload. The sleek see-through design is anything but overpowering. Let your objects of choice do the talking and style away!
Instagram: @getclever | Image by @ @inmarbi
2. Turn it into a library
Instagram: @emilyzirimis Top off your coffee table by styling it with some (or all) of your favorite books. Haven’t actually read most of the books sitting pretty on top of your coffee table? Don’t worry, we won’t judge.
Instagram: @monikh More of a minimalist? Clear out the clutter and let your flowers take the spotlight. Don’t have time to grab fresh flowers? Whip out that decorative vase you’ve been dying to use and let it fly solo.
4. Use a tray to house your favorite tabletop decor
Instagram: @weworewhat An oldie but a goodie when it comes to coffee table decor tips: Use a tray to collect even the smallest of objects. It’s also highly convenient when you have to turn your coffee table into a makeshift dining area.
5. Layers, layers, and more layers
Instagram: @abihoffman Add dimension to your space by layering objects around or beneath your coffee table, creating the illusion of multiple tiers. This not only adds dimension and visual appeal but can also be practical. Pro tip: Slide a pouf or low stool underneath for some sneaky extra seating.
6. Who says it actually has to be a coffee table?
Instagram: @getclever | Image by @kv.jpg Since when does your coffee table actually have to be a coffee table? Think outside the conventional furniture box and use a vintage trunk or even a cushioned bench as the accent in your living space.
Instagram: @getclever | Image by @seanlitchfield
Instagram: @eyeswoon Sometimes more is most definitely better, so why should we limit the number of coffee tables in our space? Decorate the space by adding multiple tables to create an anything-but-basic aesthetic.
8. Make it a giant catchall
Instagram: @jennalyonsnyc We’re taking several notes from Jenna Lyons’ playbook—one of which is to use our coffee tables as a catchall for all the things. Let candles, flowers, books, sculptures, and maybe a sage bundle or two sit pretty atop your perfectly imperfect coffee table.
9. Get sculptural
Instagram: @abigailbellvintage | Image by @kellywearstler via @emilyyysinger Turned off by all of the above? Style your coffee table in the simplest possible way: Don’t. Let your coffee table speak for itself by investing in one that will demand a double take all on its own.
10. Don't be afraid to keep it simple
Instagram: @emilyweiss Remember that styling a chic coffee table doesn’t have to mean “put everything you own on top of this surface.” Lean into the simplicity of a clean and neatly curated coffee table, because sometimes we just want a little zen in our lives.