0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

I’ve been asked a few times about how to style a coffee table– typically this is the kind of thing that I do on a whim, utilizing various accessories that we’e picked up at various sources for each client when on site. But there is a bit of a formula I noticed I use after looking through pictures of our work! Since we’re all at home feeling antsy, maybe this can help you guys tackle this small but statement making project!

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS! We use lots of books of varying size. I like to make sure the stacks we make start with large, hefty books and tier up to smaller books. The bigger the table and more shelves there are, the more books you’ll need.

I like to place smaller objects like candles or small sculptures on top of the books too to mix up the medium. It’s also important to vary the height of each section of objects you create on the table.

When you have little kids, it’s hard to accessorize with much because they tend to pull things off and we don’t need any trips to the ER from falling or broken objects, especially these days!  It’s ok to leave lower shelves empty, or to just use books or a woven tray or basket filled with magazines too. I love using a good tray to corral items on the surface- also makes it easier to lift off and move to higher ground when the littles are around!

Another good example of varying heights, types of objects and most importantly, mixing in some living greens!

For bigger square tables I like to think in quadrants– it’s hard to see from this angle but this table is a HUGE square and so we used one long rectangle tray and paired it next to two stacks of books to fill it up

Similar approach here with a slightly smaller table.

A large tray is such a great accessory- keeps everything feeling neat and tidy and a great place to keep remotes and other stuff you actually need.


Trays are especially important on ottoman coffee tables!

Here are some favorites that can help you create the perfect tablescape on your own coffee table!



Images by Michael J. Lee, Sarah Winchester and Michael Partenio.


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