Tips for Decorating a Coffee Table in Your Living Room

Tips for Decorating a Coffee Table in Your Living Room

So, you’ve gotten your elegant, mid-century modern, solid wood Heywood-Wakefield Cocktail Table with Drawer, and it’s a stunning centerpiece for your living room. But it looks kind of bare just sitting there with nothing on it. Even the most minimalist among us are likely to prefer decorating a coffee table at least a little bit. Otherwise, it falls short of being the appealing, expressive centerpiece it’s meant to be.

Some people know exactly what they want to use to deck out their coffee table. For others, though, it’s not such an easy decision. For all of you, we bring you back from the brink of decision paralysis by offering these basic tips for decorating a coffee table. They’ll help make choices that are pleasing to you and that make your home feel even more like you want it to feel.

How to Decorate a Coffee Table

  • Consider how you use your coffee table to help determine how much stuff you should put on it, and how easy it should all be to remove when you need the space for entertaining or other purposes
  • If you’re into trinkets, consider placing them on a tray so you can easily remove them when necessary
  • It’s not hard to make a coffee table look cluttered, so don’t get carried away
  • The “rule of threes” is a good one to follow, especially if it’s a rectangular coffee table; this can refer to using multiples of three for the number of items placed, or for visually dividing the table into a certain number of sections
  • You can use just one relatively large item if you’ve taken a minimalist approach to your living room décor, or if there’s a lot of furniture pieces around the table
  • Use items of varying shapes, sizes, and heights
  • Echo your living room’s accent color on the table, and choose colors that play well off the color of the coffee table
  • Arranging items in a grid pattern works well on a rectangular or square coffee table
  • If you have a cat, skip things that can be easily nudged off the edge of the table
  • Be practical; if you have a few remotes, include a basket for them; if you eat or drink at the table, leave open space for dishes and put down some coasters
  • Choose decorative items that reflect your personality; for example, if you’re a big reader, books can work; alternatively, cultural items or personal mementos might best fit the bill
  • A small plant (be wary of how much sunlight it needs), an attractive stone, or other outdoor item can be a nice touch; decorating a coffee table is one opportunity to bring nature into your home décor
  • Consider changing your decorative theme seasonally (e.g., spring flowers in the spring, beachy stuff in the summer, etc.)
  • If you’re a frequent entertainer, place a conversation piece or some puzzles and games on your coffee table
  • Inspect your decorating from different angles—including from above and from the various seating positions around the table—to make sure it looks appealing and balanced from all the vantage points people will see it from

Looking for a beautiful solid wood coffee or cocktail table?

Take a look at our selection of stylish mid-century modern tables!



Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

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