While the right artwork, sofa, and lighting choices can speak volumes in a living room, the real centerpiece is the coffee table. It's where you and your guests gather to catch up, unwind, and rest your drinks (hence the name), and it's a canvas for you to showcase your personal taste and interests. As such, styling it with care can dramatically improve the overall feng shui and aesthetic of the room.
Better yet, swapping out your coffee table décor—or simply restyling what you already have—is the most cost-effective way to breathe new life into your living room. So whether you're looking for some inspiration from design-savvy tabletops or you're in the market for new furniture, get inspired by design tips from the best.
Read on to learn coffee table decoration tips with style.
Use the Classic Formula
This coffee table has all the essentials without feeling too busy or packed to the brim. A simple bowl makes space for necessities like keys and other small items, while a clear vase creates a setting for classic textured leaves. The pale colors in the table highlight the lighter cream-hued accents throughout the room for a cohesive, clean feeling that leaves plenty of surface space for coffee with friends.
Try a Two-Tiered Approach
If you have a two-tiered coffee table, consider keeping most of its surface room open and decorating with minimal items, like the small lamp and book in this living room. Since the rest of the room is bursting with maximalism and globally-inspired décor, this designer kept it simple. The bottom tier of your table can lend plenty of space for storage baskets, board games, or extra blankets in the room that you don't want to make the main focus. All it takes is a small touch to style the top—and this unique, textured lamp brings personality to the space.
Stick to the Basics
If you want to minimize clutter (and maximize space), stick to a small curated collection of coffee table books without any extra décor. It looks organized and clean without veering on boring or unfinished. The trick is to put your décor, like candles and flowers, on other surfaces in the space: This designer created visual balance by using a small side table, picture frames, and two lamps to spread golden accents throughout the room while leaving the table open.
Reference Your Color Scheme
We love how items on the coffee table stick to this room's white color scheme. Everything from the polished vase to the books feels on-theme, making for a cohesive style moment that doesn't steal the show from the statement pieces throughout the space. When in doubt, remember that consistency is understated, sophisticated, and approachable.
Make It Playful
From the curvy silhouettes of the furniture to the candy-colored walls and layered rugs, this space manages to feel all grown-up while also drawing upon childlike whimsy. Layering different heights on the table helps to achieve this look, with various pieces from a colorful base atop a stack of books to a tall, leafy plant. Gold finishes on the table bring an elegant finish to the room when paired with multiple patterns along the floor and in the artwork.
Be Clean and Classic
This coffee table design is playing with proportion and scale (and introducing some beautiful florals) with only one piece. There's nothing wrong with keeping your coffee table totally bare. Rounded tables in particular make great candidates for a single bouquet of flowers, staged in a clear vase to keep things sleek and classic.
If you're styling flowers on a round coffee table, choose species that bloom in circular shapes like hydrangea for consistency and balance in the room.
Balance the Weight
Though not overly symmetrical, this coffee table looks balanced. Since the table itself features a rounded square shape, each item is sectioned off into its own space for a curated aesthetic. For a similar look, separate your coffee table books from a rounded bowl, then arrange them in a zig-zag formation for extra intrigue. Nesting bowls and catch-alls are great additions to the table for keeping clutter to a minimum and creating more dimension.
Meet Form and Function
A good tray is one of the most underrated coffee table essentials of all time—especially if your coffee table is actually an upholstered ottoman. Trays are the perfect representation of form meets function, as they keep things organized, prevent spills, and create a nice contrast in style and material. In this maximalist space, reflective gold trays are styled atop a colorful patterned ottoman with bright flowers and throw pillows for dynamic interest.
Make a Marbled Statement
If your table is made from marble, be sure to keep to your color palette when choosing décor: This white slab is paired with bright walls, furniture, and lamps to extend the feeling throughout the space. The table is topped with minimal black accents to complement throw pillows and background decor, while a ceramic vase feels both polished and unpretentious. A collection featuring different shapes and sizes is a nice way to create cohesion.
Stack to the Max
A great way to create visual height on your table without sacrificing valuable space is to stack your décor. In this living room, a bowl for keys and other essentials is placed atop a stack of books. The round table still has plenty of surface space for coffee mugs and snacks, while the circular bowl stays consistent with the shape of the table for a layered, dynamic design.
Add Extra Seating
If your design tends to lean towards the minimalist side, look to the space around the edges of your coffee table to add décor. In this living room, three black seats complement a white table, styled with simple items that stick to the airy color scheme. Seating reaches the same height as the table's surface for a sleek finish.
Use Every Inch
In this beachy, welcoming space, the coffee table incorporates the theme of other items in the room. If your living room is minimally decorated, add a flair of personality by taking a maximalist approach with coffee table décor. A woven basket and vase, paired with green leaves, books, and other beach-inspired items, add plenty of dimension to the tabletop while complementing the room's style.
In this living room filled with natural items like linens, a cowhide rug, natural wood, and woven furniture, the coffee table blends effortlessly with the rest of the room. The tabletop, weaved with neutrally-colored fabric, has simple black legs to work with other dark accents. Styled with one simple book, the space feels clean and open, while focusing on its inviting nature above all.
Maximize and Oversize
Working with plenty of floor space, but not enough room to kick your feet up and relax? Opt for a large-scale square ottoman to serve as your coffee table, then add a tray at its center to fill with books and small plants. An oversized table becomes the focal point of the room—and opting for a square shape creates visual balance and function at the same time.
If you're trying to style a small space, two might actually be better than one. In this living room, matching geometric ottomans occupy the space where a full coffee table may feel too busy. Style yours with minimal décor like this woven beach hat that complements the rest of the room's linen textiles, and add a tray to one ottoman if you're looking for more space to set drinks aside.
Show Off Your Plants
Large spaces, on the other hand, call for large statements. This thick, sleek coffee table is the star of the show with its large leaves reaching toward the ceiling. If you're lucky enough to have pendant lighting like this modern globe, tall flowers placed directly underneath it can draw the eye higher up so that no special designs go unnoticed.
Focus on Your Theme
If you live in an area where the landscape is your inspiration, extend that theme to your coffee table décor. In this beachy living room, a woven coffee table sets the stage for a rustic wood planter, a minimal stack of books, and other beachy items all styled over a jute rug. Linen stools add extra seating without taking up too much space, while complementing the textures of the main sofa.
For a decidedly-boho look, pair a geometric coffee table with natural textures and plenty of houseplants (and of course, don't forget the plush bed for your best four-legged friend). Since geometric tables are all about shapes, your tabletop décor should be balanced and simple: The surface in this living room is topped with two round items and two stacks of square items, featuring square coasters, a book, a candle, and a ceramic pot for trailing plants.
To enhance the look of your table throughout the room, add items like geometric planters, hanging window pieces, or metal-framed furniture to add visual interest in every corner of your space.
Up Your Storage
If you're going for the airy, clean look, keep your tabletop design to a minimum. This coffee table adds plenty of extra storage with matching baskets inside its frame, while a decorative bowl is a landing spot for keys and other small items. To keep your style looking sleek, choose a bowl that matches the finish of your table and other items in the room, like these light wood floors and fireplace mantel.
We all want to find the perfect style for the surface of our living room centerpieces, but what about underneath? This designer contrasted a dynamic tabletop with symmetrical bowls on the lower level of the furniture. Not only do they create extra storage, but the woven bowls create an element of balance to complement table items with unique shapes.