Always a little befuddled about how to style your coffee table so that it looks good but not too cluttered? So that it makes the rest of your living room feel great but also functions? There are six styling "formulas" you can stick to that are guaranteed to always look good.
1. The three's company
Mentally divide your rectangular coffee table into three parts. In each part, center a design element within. Make each element different, but keep them similar in height. Consider making one of the elements a small tray itself with two to three small elements within.
2. The super streamlined
Take one big art book and place it on one side of your coffee table. Keep the edges lined up straight with the table, or slightly angle the book for a unique look. Very difficult to mess up.
3. The tray-d up
Contain all your accessories within one oversized tray atop your coffee table. Apply styling rules within the tray to keep it from looking cluttered (rules of three work great still). Vary the objects of the tray. Place the tray in the center of the coffee table or off to one side.
4. The book stack attack
Fill your coffee table with as many book stacks in a row that it can fit. Vary the heights noticeably, or make all the stacks relatively the same height. Magazines can go in the mix, too. Add a couple of small elements to a few of the stacks, or top a couple of the stacks with noticeably small books to finish off the stack.
5. The half and half
Mentally divide your coffee table into two parts. In one part, place a tray of small objects arranged artfully. In the other half, a large design book or stack of books that matches the height of the tray. Place a low bouquet of flowers on the book stack. This arrangement plays beautifully with balance.
6. The asymmetrical dance
Take a long, low tray and stack it slightly with other flat objects like magazines or books. Maybe one small accessory. Keep the arrangement low. On the other side of the coffee table place a tall accessory like a small sculpture or vase with flowers. Let asymmetry reign supreme.