10 Coffee Table Styling Tips Interior Designers Swear By

With these tips, you’ll be able to take your coffee table from a table where you hoard your collection of magazines from 2006 alongside your coffee mugs from the last two weeks to a place where your guests will actually ask you for a coaster.


Have you ever walked into someone’s house and suddenly been overwhelmed by the level of detail they put into the decor of their house? Suddenly, it makes that fancy candle you placed on your coffee table or the throw that you put over your couch completely redundant. You can’t compete with these people, at least not alone.

Luckily, you have Interior Stylist Robyn Agius from Living By Design on your side and she’s shared her 10 top tips for coffee table styling with us. With these tips, you’ll be able to take your coffee table from a table where you hoard your collection of magazines from 2006 alongside your coffee mugs from the last two weeks to a place where your guests will actually ask you for a coaster… that’s how good it’ll look.

Read on for Robyn’s top styling tips for your coffee table.

1. Use pieces that have a story that means something to you or you’ve simply fallen in love with

Adding personal elements that you have collected over the years or something you’ve found recently help to give your space an unmistakeable energy.  A collection of your favourite things on your coffee table should reflect you and your current style (pro tip: your personal style is not a stack of old cereal bowls, sorry Nathan) – and of course this can change over time.

2. Use a beautiful tray as a baseline

A pretty or interesting tray provides the perfect base element for your layering. It adds dimension and ‘grounds’ or ‘groups’ the other items together. A tray just brings everything together and helps all of the elements of the space make sense alongside each other.

3. Books can inspire, evoke a beautiful memory or simply add colour and character to a space

Not only are coffee table books a great conversation starter, but a well-curated selection of your favourites can add structure and a sense of depth to the table. Don’t be afraid to change them up regularly and showcase other smaller decorative pieces on top of the books. Pro tip: marble bits and bobs are perfect book toppers.

4. Try to stick to a colour palette

Definitely don’t be too matchy-matchy, no one wants a table full of red screaming at them, but do try to keep your colours from the same family. Tone on tone is a good and subtle way to add depth and ensure everything is cohesive, an example of this is to use only grey-based colours or only yellow-based colours.

5. Go higher to add depth

Oftentimes, because a coffee table isn’t very big, people will avoid putting anything on the table of a bigger height or width. Robyn suggests avoiding having a whole bunch of similar sized items and creating visual layers by varying the sizes of your elements. If you use a large item, balance it out with several smaller pieces – all of which could be differing heights as well. Run into trouble and all of your faves are the same height? No worries, just use the books you have to “increase” the height!

6. A candle is simple and timeless addition

You can never go wrong with a lit candle. This creates a sense of warmth and gentle light, emits an evocative scent, and the flicker of the flame brings a sense of tranquil and restorative calm to your space (which, let’s be honest, we all need with Christmas coming up).

7. Incorporate flowers or green foliage

Adding masses of greenery to your coffee table will help ground the space, plus nature is always inspiring. If using flowers, go for a collection of the same bloom or keep your colours in the same tones, for example all greens or all whites. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, cutting things from your own garden is a simple and affordable way to jazz up your space on the fly – we like to think of flowers as a constantly changing work of art.

8. Ensure your finished table looks good from every angle

Walk around your coffee table from every approach and check it looks balanced. Chances are that unless the table’s up against the wall, people will see it from an angle other than the one you’re looking from. Keep in mind the places in the room people most frequent too, such as the chairs and doorways, as these are the areas people will mostly be looking from. It’s the little details that finish the look.

9. Keep it fresher than a cold champagne on a summer’s day

Change it up, freshen it up, and keep an eye out for different items all the time. You can even keep a collection which you swap over every so often to keep it new and exciting. A change is always welcoming for you and for your guests, and will keep you inspired and creative.

10. Have fun with it

Enjoy the time it takes to style your coffee table – your passion will show in the end result.

Now you know all of the insider tips, throw away those old mags, dust off the crumbs, grab out the good coasters, and get ready for the impending awe from your next guest.

Living By Design offer in-store and in-home styling with Robyn Agius, visit their website for more details.

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