Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Decorating a Coffee Table

Decorating a Coffee Table

Decorating a coffee table is a finishing touch that will make your room sparkle. When selling a home, an interesting coffee table display is a buyer magnet. For just plain living, a coffee table is a creature comfort. A place to put a drink, a book, even your feet at the end of the day.

Just about anything can serve as a coffee table as long as the size works with your sofa. In general, your "coffee table" will look best if it's about the:

  • Same height as the seat of the sofa and
  • Slightly smaller than or equal to the width of the sofa.

Visually divide the surface of the coffee table into thirds and try three items or three groups of items that have the following properties:

  • Height - Tall, medium, small.
  • Color - Tie in the color scheme with the rest of the home.
  • Texture - Vary the texture of items: smooth, rough, shiny, dull, etc.
  • Greenery - Fresh or quality artificial plant or floral.
  • Whimsey - Something fun and unexpected to make you, your friends and the buyer smile.

Step back periodically and assess the result:

  • Take something away.
  • See how it feels.
  • Resist the urge to crowd. It's so easy to over do it!

Coffee Table Ideas
Rustic Luxury


  • Large coffee table is in scale with the size and furnishings in the room.
  • Three candlesticks of varying heights provide the tall (one candle is pear shaped adding a touch of fun).
  • Basket of balls coordinate with the fabrics and color in the room (medium height).
  • A decorative box is always pretty.
  • A book of Colorado Photography invites you to sit down, take a look, and relax.

Elegant Luxury


  • A round glass coffee table is good for a smaller room with a more intimate seating arrangement.
  • A vase of hydrangeas that coordinate with the colors in the room is elevated onto a stack of pretty books. This is a great way to add height to one of your items.
  • Another pretty box, medium height.
  • Two stone doves provide texture and interest.

Small Formal Living Room


  • A small, black, round coffee table fits this elegant room with high contrast of light and dark.
  • A large yellow floral in the center repeats the accent color used throughout the room.
  • A simple stack of books. We can't see what's on the stack, but I could imagine a small sculpture of some kind. Like a faux coral.

Pottery Barn

Small Condo


  • In this small condo, a chest doubles as a coffee table and provides much needed storage.
  • Tall red vase with grass makes a colorful centerpiece.
  • A metal tray with red apples continues the color scheme.
  • Finish with a photo album that invites a peak inside. 



  • This is a perfect room to get comfortable, put your feet up, pour a cup of tea and enjoy a quiet afternoon reading.
  • Always add something fresh looking like this pretty bouquet of flowers.
  • Small pottery dish adds a little interest and would look even better with something in it. Possibly some bead strands.

Pottery Barn

Small Bedroom Used as a Study


  • Sometimes it's nice to turn an extra bedroom into an out-of-the-way place to watch TV. This small vintage coffee table is the perfect size for the tiny loveseat.
  • A tray with a tall box of gourmet cookies, two mugs, and a bowl of fake strawberries says "Come sit down, relax a minute, and enjoy your favorite TV show!"

Decorating a Coffee Table - Wrapping it Up

Decorating a coffee table isn't hard, and it doesn't require that you go out and buy new furniture or accessories. Turn your creativity loose. Shop your house for interesting objects. What can you combine in a new way to make your home more enjoyable and inviting? Sorting and packing can give you some ideas of what to look for. 

What's Your Favorite Coffee Table Idea?

Coffee tables are fun, easy, and a great addition to a beautiful room. And there are so many ways to decorate one. What's your favorite? If you're a decorator or home stager, feel free to include a link to your website!

Return from Decorating a Coffee Table to

Home Page

Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.