How to Style Your Coffee Table Like a Pro

by Carlisle Homes

Styling the perfect coffee table is easier than you think. Discover how with these expert tips.

Your coffee table arrangement is one of the first things people see when they step inside your living area and says a lot about your personal style. Creating an arrangement with impact is easier – and more enjoyable – than you might think. So unleash your inner stylist and create an Insta-worthy coffee table arrangement with these expert tips from our Carlisle Homes interior designers.

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Select pieces for your coffee table that reinforce the overall style of the space. Imagine the composition as one unit - comprised of different elements such as books, sculptures or greenery - this is your vignette. Featured here: Montague Grand, Orana Estate, Clyde North

Create a coffee table ‘vignette’

First off, decide on the overall look you want to achieve with your arrangement. Is it relaxed and coastal, polished and luxe? Then choose pieces that reinforce your chosen look.

When arranging pieces on your coffee table, think of the composition as one decorative piece comprised of different elements – this is your ‘vignette’. A good rule of thumb is to style in groups of three. Start with one central feature, such as a stack of books or a lush indoor plant, and then surround it with smaller items, such as a candle, a small sculpture or a decorative bowl. Or, you may wish to stack these elements on top of your pile of books.

Once you’re done, tweak the arrangement until it looks right. And be sure to view from all angles – particularly the various spots in the room where your guests will be seated.

Large square table? Think in sections!

If you have a large square or rectangular coffee table, visually divide the table into quadrants or thirds and create a display within each section. With a smaller, round table, generally one arrangement will do.

Use a tray

Take a tip from professional stylists and group your arrangement on a tray. It’s an easy way to anchor your set-up and it creates a more ‘finished’ look. Choose a material that fits with your theme. For example, a brass tray for a luxe decorative scheme, clear acrylic for a minimalist look or rattan for a coastal vibe.

Place your tray in the middle of the table or off to the side – whichever is more aesthetically pleasing. 

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The master suite features a stunning textured feature wall behind the bed in Surround by Laminex, finished off with a boucle bench and statement wall lights over the bedside tables.

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The use of a tray on your coffee table is a great way to group your arrangement and create a more finished look. Consider a material that complements your decorating scheme or contrasts nicely against your coffee table. Featured here: Kensington Grand, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

Create a connection

When it comes to the pieces you choose, take your colour cues from the surrounding colour scheme to create a curated and intentional feel. That’s not to say the pieces need to perfectly match your fabrics and furnishings, but they should harmonise and appear deliberate in their selection.

Embrace contrasts

Combining different materials, shapes and textures will add interest and depth to your arrangement. For example, mix curvy and straight-edged pieces, smooth and textured, hard and soft.

Play with height and scale

Choosing pieces that are all the same height will result in a dull arrangement. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix; simply combine pieces of various heights. Aim to include at least one taller item, such as a vase of fresh blooms or a sculpture, and pair it with shorter and wider decorative pieces, such as decorative bowls and vessels.

When it comes to your taller item, just make sure it’s not so tall that it prevents the people sitting on either side of the coffee table from being able to see each other as they converse.

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Taking cues from the surrounding colour scheme, build an arrangement that feels harmonious and intentional. Pick up colours from artworks around the room and consider textures that tie in nicely with your fabrics and furnishings. Featured here: Matisse, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

Add some whimsy

Turn your arrangement into a talking point by adding a little of your own personality. A quirky vase, a beautiful piece of coral picked up on your last holiday, or trinkets you bought at an antique market are the sorts of things that add individuality to your coffee table-set and give guests a glimpse into your personality and history.

Leave breathing space

Allow sufficient space around your coffee table arrangement so that it has a chance to shine. It also means you have room to pop all the essentials – a glass of wine, a book or the remote.

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Add a personal touch to your configuration with something sentimental you picked up at a market or on your travels. Leaving sufficient space around your coffee table will help to hero your pieces and allow them to shine. Featured here: Indigo, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

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Decorating your new home? Come along to one of our expertly styled display homes, situated in over 70 locations across Melbourne and its surrounds, and pick up all the ideas and inspiration you need.


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