Styling 101

Are remotes, magazines and mugs taking over your coffee table? Get some fresh inspiration with these nine ideas for styling your space.
1

Tres chic trays

Tres chic trays

Image credit: Style by Emily Henderson

Wondering what the "it" accessory for styling is? A tray. Everyone from bloggers to celebrated designers like Emily Henderson is using stylish trays to corral coffee table clutter.

Henderson admits that trays have the unfortunate misperception of being old school, saying, "Sounds so boring, I know. Like what do you think I am, a butler? Is this a 1910 English Tudor? Am I Mr. Bates during teatime serving Mary and Matthew Crowley?"

But trays are trending big right now. No need for a fancy silver polished piece a la Downton Abbey. Unexpected materials like Lucite and brass and decorative patterns give trays a modern aesthetic so they are both functional and look stellar on your coffee table.

2

Pick a color scheme

Pick a color scheme

Image credit: Kelsey Design

Designer Kelsey Grauke stuck to a simple color rule when styling her own coffee table. She recommends limiting the color scheme to two to three colors for a simple look that won't overwhelm. While she stylishly embraced black and white for her coffee-table decor, she also added an unexpected dose of color with a simple, but gorgeous, cluster of roses.

Grauke's Lucite coffee table also showcases the zebra hide underneath. The stripes add another layer of visual interest, but the Lucite keeps the look light.

3

Follow these rules

Follow these rules

Image credit: Small Shop Studio; photographed by Bryce Covey Photography

Award-winning graphic designer and branding specialist Erika Brechtel of Small Shop has a fabulous formula she uses for decorating her home. Her "five pieces to a great room" approach is simple: use something textured/patterned, shiny, modern, organic and vintage.

She followed her own rules to create her raw and refined look on her brass coffee table.

4

New uses for old books

New uses for old books

Image credit: The Every Girl

OK, so using books to style your coffee table isn't exactly original, but we've spotted a fresh approach to this old decorating favorite. Instead of putting books on the table, stylists Alaina Kaczmarski and Brooke Klauer placed a colorful stack underneath.

The books are still accessible for guests to browse at their leisure and are an affordable way to bring in more color and substance to an open space. Notice how several of the book jackets repeat the hot hues on the throw pillows and other coffee-table accessories? Brilliant.

5

A pop of color

A pop of color

Image credit: A Beautiful Mess

Even if you love neutrals, too much brown in a space can be a downer. If both your couch and coffee table have a darker brown hue, consider brightening things up a bit with a shot of bold color.

Emma and Elsie of A Beautiful Mess updated this midcentury-inspired coffee table with yellow paint. Just adding this small dose of color brightens up the space and keeps it from being too serious.

Simple accents like flowers, a candle and a piece of driftwood are also affordable ways to decorate a coffee table.

6

Something sentimental

Something sentimental

Image credit: Our Lake Life

Blogger Maria, the voice of Our Lake Life, recommends incorporating something unexpected and personal to your space. On her coffee table she features a seashell ball she picked up on a weekend getaway.

While you can pick any personal item to display, incorporating a souvenir from a past vacay is a great reminder of the fun times had while traveling. Plus, the object can help stimulate conversation with guests.

7

Forget the bouquet — get a pot!

Forget the bouquet--get a pot!

Image credit: Live Creating Yourself

Sure, we love the look of a gorgeous fresh bouquet taking center stage on a coffee table, but unless you're a florist you probably don't have regular access to beautifully arranged centerpieces. A more practical solution is to instead use a potted plant with staying power.

Alaina Kaczmarski brightened up her peaceful neutral living room with potted pink flowers. The light feminine color is repeated on the throw, which ties the space together.

8

Encourage interaction

Encourage interaction

Image credit: Waiting on Martha

It's all too easy to pop on the boob tube when guests come over instead of interacting with one another. Encourage engagement by decorating with game pieces. Take a cue from Mandy Kellogg Rye of Waiting on Martha, who has a gorgeous domino set on her coffee table.

An interesting chess set could also look stellar on display. Even something simple like a Rubik's cube can keep guests entertained.

9

Magnify it

Magnify it

Image credit: The Inspired Room

A magnifying glass used to be a common household item back in the day, and now we're seeing a boost in popularity as a decorative element. Magnifying glasses are a nice alternative to the old coffee table standbys of books, flowers and candles.

Plus, it's a fun little curiosity that people like to pick up and play with. Kiddos will especially enjoy having one around to go exploring with.

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