How to Style a Coffee Table

Today at H+C headquarters, we are sharing some of our top tips on how to curate an Insta worthy coffee table arrangement. While it may not be the biggest piece of furniture, a coffee table is often the main focal point in a living room and your styling choices here can set the tone for the whole space. When it comes to styling a coffee table, the aim is to create a vignette that is aesthetically beautiful, but that does not disrupt the flow or function of the rest of the space. How does one achieve this you might ask… Read on for our top tips.

Tip 1: Ground with books and trays

As a starting point, we suggest choosing a grounding object for your coffee table. Some of our favourite items to use are books and trays due to their scale. As general rule, larger items look better than lots of little trinkets. Overuse of small items can make the scene feel messy and disconnected. Larger items allow the eyes to enjoy more visual impact without the cluttered feel. Using these larger objects brings a visual weight to the composition and creates a point for your smaller items to connect to.

Tip 2: Work to a grid

A successful composition is often determined by its use of balance. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through symmetry. Section your coffee table off into a grid-like pattern and aim to achieve balance and symmetry in each quadrant. It is always best to have one dominant central object that grounds your arrangement such as a plant, stack of books or sculpture and then several smaller displays of equal visual weight positioned around it.

Tip 3: Mix linear and dynamic objects

Now that you have your base, it’s time to play around with different levels of visual interest and introduce some smaller objects. It’s best that these additional items are not identical, and vary in terms of size, tones and heights. For this, think bringing in candles, vessels, ceramics, small sculptures, beads, or foliage. The key to this is making sure you have a variety of linear items (items with straight lines) and dynamic objects (items with curved organic lines). Some of our favourite items to achieve this are a string of beads or some chunky marble links. Or try adding just a touch of foliage in one corner of your grid.

Tip 4: Style in threes

While you are playing around with variation, it is still important to keep the number one styling rule in mind: the rule of threes. Grouping items in three, always looks much better than a sporadic dispersement of items. Your arrangement should always feel like each item fits together to tell a story, rather than a random collection of objects.  Use the rule of threes to create a cluster and then leave some negative space untouched to avoid over-cluttering.

Tip 5: Showcase a medley of textures 

Texture is incredibly important when it comes to property styling. It adds interest and depth to your space. A boring coffee table arrangement is one with too much of the same finish. Ideally you don’t want to repeat the same finish at all. Instead, explore tactile materials that look and feel different for that added WOW factor. Your options are endless when it comes to injecting texture into your scheme, but think foliage, glass, ceramic, brass, marble, timber and we could go on… and on.

Tip 6: Allow room to breathe 

Lastly, scale is key. Your arrangement should not engulf the entire table top. You need to leave enough space around your objects so they can breathe or the table will feel too full and your proportions will be amiss. We also come back to our earlier point that the coffee table must still be functional. There still needs to be enough room for day-to-day activities like putting a drink down.

Images: All images feature both furniture + decor exclusively by Huntley + Co.


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