How to Style Your Coffee Table Like a Designer

Whether you’re entertaining or just hanging out, make sure this prime spot is fully stocked with both pretty (and practical) items

Jong Hyup

The coffee table is command center of your living room. It's the place you and your fiancé kick back and relax after a long day at work, and more often than not, it's also where you'll be serving up appetizers and cocktails when your friends come over. Add in a cozy sofa, some soft lighting, and a stack of good books, and you'll never want to leave. Here’s how to style it to show off your personality and favorite things.

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Invest in a Chic Table


We love this brass and marble combo in this table—it feels both classic and modern and still provides ample room for all the accessories.

Small Slab coffee table with brass base, $349, available at CB2

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Stack Some Books


Yes, you guys are deep into bingeing Black Mirror—but your TV habit isn’t the first thing you want to broadcast to guests. Stash your remotes in a hollowed-out vintage book or a decorative box.

Canvas Book Boxes in Natural, $99 for a set of 3, available at Mothology

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Add Decorative Accents


Aim for about six decorative accents on your table, including something old (Grandma’s bud vase) and something new (a geometric sculpture). On a pale marble surface, we like metallic finishes for contrast.

Small brass Max sculpture, $10, available at CB2

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Throw in Some Coasters

Jonathan Adler

Make sure to have a stack of coasters on hand to protect surfaces from moisture.

Harlequin coasters, $78, available at Jonathan Adler

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Sprinkle in Something Unexpected


Unexpected objects like a magnifying glass or other desk accessory may seem out of place on a coffee table but can come in handy (or just act as conversation starters).

Small snake magnifying glass, $50, available at L'Objet

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Display Special Books

Magazine Cafe

Display your beloved books and magazines with the best-looking covers. Go for lots of color and pattern, and make sure there’s still room for your cheese plate and wine glass.

Cabana Magazine, $40, available at Magazine Cafe

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Add Flowers or Plants

Food 52

A petite bud vase with a fresh or faux bloom is key when styling your table. If the area gets enough light, a small plant like a succulent can be a pretty addition to the mix.

Vintage-Inspired Brass Bud Vases, $80, available at Food52

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Layer in a Small Tray


Small trays and dishes help corral smaller items like matchboxes, candy tins and other little decorative objects.

St. Honaire Tray, $28, available at Zola

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Throw in a Sweet-Smelling Candle


A scented candle is a coffee table essential—this one features heady notes of Moroccan rose, spearmint, and amber in a chic ceramic container.

Mamounia No. 28 candle, $95, available at L'Objet

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Consider Graphic Layers

Jayson Home

Pops of graphic patterns can add visual interest to the table—and act as extra surfaces to place drinks and snacks.

Tumbling Block Tile, $14, available at Jayson Home

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Decorate with More Accents

Jayson Home

This carved metal piece can be shown off on a tray or used to prop open a book.

Brass feather, $38, available at Jayson Home

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Finish with Something Whimsical

W & P Design

Look for interesting decorative objects throughout your home. We love this whimsical shot glass for a small accent on the table.

W&P Design pineapple shot glass, $35 for two, available at W&P Design

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