How to Style a Coffee Table (Three Ways)

By Brittni • posted on 08/31/2023

How to Style a Coffee Table (Three Ways)

Coffee table styling can often be a challenge to figure out. Trying to balance form and function on a small surface can be a chore sometimes. So, I put together three ways to style a coffee table to give you a little push in the right direction.

To make things fool-proof, I added product sources for each coffee table styling option too, all in partnership with Sparrow & Wren – Bloomingdale‘s wallet-friendly (mostly under $100) curated assortment of home goods and more. Click through for my tips for styling a coffee table from scratch, three ways!

How to Style a Coffee Table (Three Ways). Click through for tips and tricks for styling your coffee table at home, like the pros.

The Basics

Styling Tip 1: My biggest tip for coffee table styling is… Determine how you want your coffee table to function. Do you want lots of clean, empty space so you have plenty of room for drinks, snack, etc? Or are you looking for something that is more focused on design / something that looks cool, where the function isn’t as quite important? Once you have that answer, it will be much easier to determine the overall look you want for your coffee table and how to execute on it.

Styling Tip 2: No matter what you’re looking for in a coffee table, one thing that you really should have regardless of your coffee table’s main purpose is a flat surface for resting items temporarily (keys, drinks, your cell phone, etc). Trays, shallow dishes, and short stacks of books are great options for something like this, especially if you’re working with a non-traditional coffee table that is soft like an ottoman.

Styling Tip 3: Think in all directions when pairing decorative items for your coffee table. I like to vary heights, widths, etc for decorative objects on coffee tables to keep things interesting. So, when placing objects, I look at them from side angles and from above to make sure they work at varying angles. Another thing that helps with this is sticking to an odd number of objects whenever possible. Groups of three, five, or seven typically work well and often feel more effortless.

Coffee table styling

So now that you know the basics for styling a coffee table, lets get specific! I’ve put together 3 different coffee table options, based on your style / interests. Each option uses affordable decorative items from Sparrow & Wren (which has been an awesome resource for coffee table styling especially).

They have such a variety of products from brands you know and love in the home category. Here are some brands that are carried under the Sparrow & Wren line…, Rifle Paper Co, Poppin, Voluspa (they make amazing smelling candles), Kate Spade New York, Dwell Studio, Cupcakes & Cashmere, Sunnylife, Bloomingville, DENY, etc.

How to style a coffee table (for the minimalist).

Coffee Table Styling for the Minimalist

Lets start off simple, with a clutter-free coffee table option. Because when you actually use your coffee table everyday, you don’t want every inch covered in decoration. I’m calling this option the one for the minimalists. There’s a few decorative elements, but for the most part, the coffee table is completely uncluttered and ready for anything you want to throw at it. 🙂

All the decorative elements are off to one side of the table, which frees up the rest of the table for drinks, snacks or nothing at all. I love the asymmetrical look and of course felt the need to throw some leftovers flowers together for an arrangement. Monstera leaves would be another more minimal option for vases too, if you want something clean and modern.

Get this look. Bloomingville copper bread basket (available in store – similar online) // Caravan marble vase (available in store – similar online) // Short stack of books!

How to style a coffee table (for the entertainer).

Coffee Table Styling for the Entertainer

If you spend a lot of time entertaining, utilizing your coffee table as another spot for guests to grab appetizers, drinks, etc makes sense. So, I put together a styling option that works well for parties. It involves a bit more than the minimalist’s coffee table, but is still pretty clean.

Get this look. NEST Fragrances three wick candle // Bloomingville hexagon marble cutting board (available in store – similar online) // Sparrow & Wren blue stripe platter // Caravan marble vase (available in store – similar online) // Kate Spade coasters (available in store – similar online) // Bloomingville etched glass // Voluspa maison candle // A couple of books!

How to Style a Coffee Table (Three Ways)

Coffee Table Styling for the Book Lover

Last but not least is the book lovers coffee table. I think this is my favorite look because it has a more creative vibe and is easy to execute. You basically just need a big book collection and a few other things! But, it’s also the least functional of the three, though there’s still plenty of flat surfaces for drinks, etc.

Get this look. Caravan marble round tray // Bloomingville copper bread basket (available in store – similar online) // Bloomingville metal copper votive holder // Voluspa maison candle // Kate Spade coasters (available in store – similar online) // Fringe mini round tray (only $9!) // Bando sticky note set (You’re Straight Up Magic) // Lots of books!

How to Style a Coffee Table (for the constant hostess)

I hope my tips and examples can help kick start some awesome coffee table styling for you in your home. Let me know if you have any other questions though! I’d love to help.

How to Style a Coffee Table (Three Ways)

Photography by Amelia Lawrence

What look is your favorite? How do you like to style your coffee table?

This post is in partnership with Bloomingdale’s and ShopStyle. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who help keep Paper & Stitch running.

8 comments | Click here to reply

WOW! This looks beautiful and delicious.

Angela Maciel

[…] may already have a coffee table for the studio, but I reserve the right to change my mind. PLUS I’m still on the hunt for a coffee table for […]

The Coolest Coffee Tables Under $1,000 - Paper & Stitch

[…] bought a new coffee table for the studio recently (sneak peek on my how to style a coffee table post). But before choosing ‘the one’, I had a big ol’ list of contenders that I […]

But First Coffee (Tables): The Coolest Coffee Tables Under $500

Oh Brittni what a surprise to see Decorate on your table, made me happy to see my first book!!!! Eeeeee! What a wonderful day I’ll have now thanks to you!


Agreed Michelle. Coffee table books for the win!


Coffee table books are always a wonderful way to style a table, or for that matter, anything!


Thanks Rena. 🙂 I like the first one too – very simple and clean.


It looks very tasteful! The first one is my favorite!
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

Leave a reply