9 No-Fail Ways to Style Your Coffee Table

published Jul 5, 2018
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A well-styled coffee table can be a game changer for your home. Not only does it offer up a little extra space for stashing stuff, when thoughtfully organized, your coffee table can double as an artful living room centerpiece.

To prove our point, we scoured our house tours high and low and rounded up nine of the most beautifully styled coffee tables we could find. From a full-blown bench display to an airy Scandi-style scene, here are some of the chicest ideas for organizing your coffee table.

1. Go Scandi-Style

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

When it comes to styling your coffee table, sometimes less is more. Case in point: This sleek Scandinavian-inspired coffee table scheme from Alison’s century-old Minneapolis house. Instead of piling on a ton of items, Alison opted to keep things minimal and simply let the clean lines of her mid-century modern coffee table do the talking.

2. Layer Up

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Funny how when properly styled, a heap of magazines or books can forge an insanely chic coffee table display. Take a cue from Jesica’s San Francisco studio and organize your coffee table books and mags by size and spine color. This way, even if they’re under the table, they’ll still appear to be a part of the overall room design.

3. Benches FTW

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Why use a boring old cocktail table to anchor your living room when you can style a snazzy bench instead? For an unexpected but compelling living room scene, employ a cushioned bench, like the one we spotted in Kerry’s French Quarter apartment, and use serving trays to store items on top accordingly.

4. Pull Up Some Seats

(Image credit: Soffia Gardarsdottir )

Who needs a humdrum coffee table, when you can forge a mini dining room setup in your living room? Throw a couple of cute floor pillows or poufs underneath your coffee table, just like we saw in Soffia’s industrial farmhouse in Iceland and the area can double as a petite dining table, too.

5. Add in Greenery

(Image credit: Reid Rolls)

A little greenery goes a long way on a coffee table. Follow in designer Linda Cave’s footsteps and incorporate of couple of potted plants or succulents to liven up a scantily styled coffee table scene, just like she did in her Brooklyn home.

6. Incorporate Drawers

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Who knew a dainty coffee table could turn a dresser into a streamlined living room display? Clearly Shelley Worrell and Janluk Stanislas, who brilliantly conceal a three-drawer dresser under a slim-framed side table, to score a unique but storage-savvy coffee table setup inside their Brooklyn home.

7. Keep Things Transparent

(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Not working with a ton of living room space but desperate for a proper cocktail table? Do yourself a favor and stick with transparent or mirrored materials—think: acrylic or thin reflective trays and tables like this one inside Danielle’s Chicago walk-up—to create a functional but barely there coffee table vignette.

8. Go Au Naturel

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

For a stylish but not stuffy coffee table scheme, consider sticking with only organic furnishings, such as the driftwood table and potted plants in this stylish bakery setup designed by AphroChic, and set an ethereal vibe for your living room.

9. Minimal With Hidden Storage

(Image credit: Kelly Brown and Melissa Milakovic)

Just because it’s minimalist in style doesn’t mean your coffee table can’t offer up some storage opportunity. If you prefer to keep your coffee table clear and clutter-free, try sourcing a coffee table with built-in storage, like this one with display shelves we spotted in Melissa and Ramzy’s Canadian home, so you can still keep your favorite reading materials handy—sans the unsightly clutter.