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Style ideas for coffee table decor

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Samuel Hurley
Style ideas for coffee table decor

Your coffee table is the centrepiece of your living room. Yet, rather than making a design statement, it’s often decorated with stray coffee cups, TV remote controls and discarded bits of old newspaper. But, along with your sofas, it’s the most important piece of furniture in your living room. So we thought that we’d put together a selection of style ideas for how to decorate your coffee table.

Here are our top 30 suggestions for how to accessorise your table and make it into a design statement. The view from your Swyft sofa never looked so good.

1. A simple statement

Keep it simple with just one striking, eye-catching object as the focal point – a sculpture or a statement vase will make a real impact.

2. The height of things

Go for maximalism with a range of items that compliment each other - four points of interest that vary in height make an effective display –  for example, a tall vase, next to a candle, next to a plant, which is next to a stylish dish.

3. A touch of glass

Choose a glass cocktail table with shelves so that you can have two levels of display. The second shelf could be used for piles of books or interior design magazines.

4. Out of the box

Make practical use of a two-tiered wooden table and place stylish boxes underneath to keep magazines, TV remotes and the general non-display detritus of life inside.

5. Basket case

Have a small stylish open basket on your coffee table to catch clutter, or keep a larger basket to the side. This could house items you regularly use in your main living area, such as packs of cards, board games, novels or sudoku books.

6. It’s the sentiment

Go for a sentimental piece as your coffee table’s focal point, whether that be the antique bowl passed down from your Granny, or the precious vase that was a wedding gift from a dearly departed loved one. It not only deserves pride of place, it will also provide a talking point when guests come over for a cheeky glass of wine.

7. The bling thing

Go full glam with an unabashedly bling-bling candelabra. Just make sure the rest of the space is more understated so it doesn’t look OTT.

8. Sofa match

Complement your sofa. A green sofa would be perfectly matched with a vase containing lush greenery and foliage, or a vibrant pot plant, while a grey sofa is more of a blank canvas that would suit pops of colour from a bright vase or statement dish.

9. Access all areas

Don’t stop at one table. If you’re fortunate enough to have a large living space, carve out two different seating areas and have two different sized tables that complement each other in different zones.

10. Off side

Use a selection of, say, three different sized tables staggered next to each other for an effective display that makes the tables themselves the statement - round tables work particularly well, or it could even be three tables from a nest, promoted from their usual use as side tables.

11. Antique sideshow

If stark simplicity is your vibe, go for an antique side table as the star of the show. Decorate it with a single small vase of wild flowers. They could be dried for long-lasting purposes.

12. Ottoman empire

If you fancy a vintage fabric touch, why not turn your ottoman into a coffee table? It makes it a handy multi-tasker, great for storing linen or those living room items that don’t exactly make a design statement. You can place a tray on top to display your decor.

13. Fill your in tray

Trays in general are an effective way to display your coffee table accessories. But no, we don’t mean the granny tray you sometimes eat your dinner off, they must be a style statement in themselves, whether they evoke a cocktail party vibe, or have a country chic feel.

14. The Clash

Mix your looks for a stunning style clash. A monochrome table with more classic decor can look very dramatic, for example. Or a rustic table with a sophisticated tone to the decoration can also be effective.

15. Feeling flowery

Choose your flowers to reflect your style. A bunch of peonies in a glass vase says simple sophistication while multi-coloured tulips in a bright stem vase are a low-cost winner that cheer up any table display. If you have the time and money to shop for fresh floral displays every week, brilliant.  If not, go for dried wild flowers for a classic country feel.

16. Herb garden

Opt for greenery– branches of rosemary from your garden in a tall thin vase work well, are longer-lasting and give your room a fresh feeling.

17. Plant power

Go for succulents. A tray full of small succulents in complementary or clashing – depending on your style preferences – pots will look stunning on your coffee table. And they’re relatively low maintenance to boot.

18. Retro vibes

Go kitsch. Have fun. If you have a neutral table, jazz it up with some retro decor. Keep it safer with an on-trend cactus, or go bold or go home with a quirky flamingo statuette, for example.

19. Bygone times

Choose retro for the table itself. Hands up who is coveting the classic G-Plan round wooden coffee table with the glass centre of their childhood? Wishing you’d kept it in the family. Us too, but you can pick up a table from a bygone era on Ebay, or an upcycled one on Etsy, for example. And a vintage table doesn’t need much dressing - a simple pot plant is enough of a style statement.

20. Reimagine and recycle

If you or a partner are handy around the house, you could go bold with the table itself, and do the ultimate recycle to boot. Old kitchen worktops or floor grates can be put to imaginative use to make your own table that will only need minimal decoration. A slab of slate on the floor for the ultimate low-slung table is very effective too. Who needs legs anyway?  (though not much use for sitting your tea mug on, granted).

21. Feeling fruity

Make a stylish fruit bowl into your coffee table centrepiece. Traditionally in the kitchen, there are bonuses to relocating to the living room, not least that having a pile of fruit to hand will encourage healthy snacking while you’re engaged in a spot of mindless TV watching (step away from the grab-bag of crisps, folks). Of course, a filled fruit bowl also provides nature’s varied fresh colour palette, but you’ll need to be careful to curate your selection well – a manky banana and a mouldy apple surrounded by fruit flies do not make a design statement.

22. Stash spot

If you’re partial to a throw or two, or have more sofa cushions than you know what to do with and your table is big enough, use the underneath as a stash spot for your moveable soft furnishings. As well as useful storage, it can look good too.

23. Pebble dash

If you live close to the sea, or even if you live in Doncaster and hanker after the ocean (who are we to make the rules?), a collection of shells and pebbles displayed in a shell-shaped vase evokes memories of happy holidays and gives a beach-side vibe to your coffee table. Just close your eyes and think of your favourite Greek island.

24. Booked it

And then there are decorative books for your coffee table. Stacks of aesthetically pleasing reading materials (your well-worn, dog-eared novels can live in the stash box, thank you) make a great design statement. You could colour code them too, or pick out black and white books for a striking monochromatic literary look.

25. On your travels

Displaying trinkets, or candles, or small memorable items – how about that Budhha you picked up on your travels? –  on top of piles of books provides wonderful visual interest that reflects your lifestyle and interests.

26. Let them eat cake

A vintage or contemporary-looking cake stand can look great on a coffee table, especially if you have an open plan kitchen-living area. Of course, it would be rude not to populate it with homemade cakes, or even a retro fondant fancy or two for a few pops of multicolour.

27. Light the wood

A piece of driftwood can make a style impact on your coffee table. Dot small candles or tea lights in holders across the wood.

28. Seasonal pining

For a cosy, Autumnal feel, combine wooden candlesticks and holders with a selection of seasonal pine cones. Then get your hygge on with a blanket and a good book on chilly evenings.

29. Light a candle to it

Create a candle tray. Put together a selection of candles, from tall skinny ones, to those in glass, to chunky scented ones, to tea lights and gather them on a stylish antique-looking tray for your coffee table centrepiece.

30. Great moss

Try moss topiaries. These come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and one larger one would be an impressive centrepiece to any coffee, or why not display two or three smaller ones?

Now that you’ve given how to decorate your coffee table some serious thought, you might also want to think about dressing your sofa with accessories, so that the two complement each other well. And then there are all those other pieces of furniture you are thinking about to accessorise your beautiful sofa and your stylish coffee table. Indeed you may be thinking of buying a new Swyft fabric sofa for your living space. Put the kettle on, we’ll be over in ten minutes.

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