The Art of Styling: Coffee Tables

The Art of Styling: Coffee Tables

So, picture this. You’ve got yourself the most gorgeous new coffee table but you’re struggling to find some cute accessories to start styling it that won’t completely overtake the beauty of the piece itself… Plus, you don’t really know whether it’s even going to look great once you’re done with the random bits you’ve purchased.

Whether your signature style is modern and contemporary or chic Scandinavian, you’ve come to the right place! Styling is a large part of interior design, generally right at the end of a project. Coffee table styling is one of my absolute favourite things to do as an interior designer, and I’m here to give you my top tips on how to style them like a pro.

Are you ready?



First things first, you need to understand the art of layering when it comes to styling. Any great designer will tell you that brilliant design comes from carefully thought through layers. I will go into more details of this in another post as it is really important skill, but I will briefly explain it now.

An example of layering in design is styling a sofa. But think of it like the layering of a cake. There is the first layer of sponge, which in this case is the base fabric / upholstery of the sofa. Then you have your jam filling, here it is the first set of cushions (probably neutral / plain in complimentary colour to the sofa). Your second sponge layer comes next and is the accent cushions (generally some form of pattern or interest, not just a plain colour like before). And finally you might have your icing, a nice throw that ties the whole thing together (but this is optional).

When styling coffee tables, there are a few options for each layer which hugely depends on the size of table you have and what your desired style is.

As always, if there is anything you see in this post that catches your eye – by clicking on the image it will take you straight to the product – you’re welcome!



The first layer to styling any coffee table has got to be a beautifully crafted tray. If your table is particularly small in size, you may want to skip this step.

There are so many different styles of trays out there at the moment – from mirrored ones to rustic wooden – not to mention the quirky shapes available too. The choices really are endless!

The perks of having a tray on your coffee table is that you can display personal nick knacks on them, candles, diffusers, vases – almost anything else featured in this post.

So if you have the space – I would recommend using a tray that is at least a third of the size of your table. This way you can leave enough clear space around the edges to still see the table surface itself. My top tip for trays is to position it off-centre on your table – slightly to one side so you have space for some of the other accessories covered in this post.

Here are some of my current favourites…″> West Elm Mirror Trays, starting at £49[/caption] [caption id”> Notre Monde, Heavy Aged Bronze Mirror Tray, Large, £159


Books are probably my favourite things to accessorise any space with. They are hugely personal to you. The books you purchase define who you are as a person which in turn makes your space unique.

I have a large collection of interior design related books on my bookshelf because that’s what I am most passionate about as a person and I believe it’s important to show that. There are a lot of mindset books there too which adds another personal layer to it.

Books fit in really well to a coffee table display. You could have one or two beneath your tray, or have a collection stacked on the opposite side to it. There really is no right or wrong way to stacking books. However I would recommend that you choose a few of your favourite ones that you feel define you as a person.

If you don’t have space for a tray, books are a great substitute for your base layer.

Undoubtedly, the most popular coffee table books are fashion related. These are great because they go into the depths of the designer and have the most beautiful photographs.

Some of my favourites include…

Tom Ford Fashion Book, £55.25
Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age Book Vanity Fair 100 Years Book, £37.99Alexander McQueen Coffee Table Styling Book Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty Book, £22.75 Valentino Themes and Variations Book, £42.50
If fashion isn’t your thing, take a look at these other hobby related books you could use instead…
Luxury Toys – Mega Yachts, from £87 Eat, Drink, Nap, Bringing the House Home book, £20.40 Zaha Hadid, Complete Works from 1979 – Today book, £23.79 The Chamber of Curiosity: Apartment Design and the New Elegance book, £36.99



Styling your coffee table with magazines is very similar to using books. The obvious difference here is that you need to keep them up to date with perhaps three or four of the most latest issues for your favourite magazines.
Which magazines you choose to display on your coffee table hugely depends on what you’re interested in. I will normally have the latest issue of Elle Decoration or catalogues for my favourite retailers, such as The White Company.



No interior is complete without diffusers or candles. Every home has a scent and it is totally unique to you.
Adding candles or diffusers to your coffee table display is like the jam filling to a cake. The jam makes a cake look and taste like a proper cake, so you shouldn’t skip this step!
Display your most loved scents on your tray or books for the ultimate chic look. These can either be tea light holders, glass pot candles or a mixture of both.
Here are my top picks for gorgeous home scents…

collection”> The White Company, Seychelles Collection, starting from £7

Flower Arrangements


Another one of my favourite types of accessories to use throughout the home – fresh flowers. Of course sometimes it’s not always possible to keep up with fresh flowers throughout so I would recommend finding good faux florals instead.

The best thing about displaying flowers on your coffee table is the wide variety of vases to choose from. There are some brilliant designs available at the moment to add another layer of beauty to your table.

Top Tip: Display flowers that are in season. If you choose to go down the faux flower route, you can easily store these in a cupboard wrapped in bubble wrap and bring them out when the seasons change. You might find you start to keep a collection of them and even rotate some within each season.

I want to share with you my two go-to faux floral suppliers, of whom I would be lost without! The first is India Jane. With their wide selection of individual stems and pre-arranged bouquets, you’re sure to find something for every season.
Abigail Ahern is my other ultimate faux floral guru. I’ve used many of their botanicals for projects in London and they are simply stunning and by far the best quality fauxs I have ever come across! You can purchase full bouquets here, or browse through their entire botanical range here.

Knick Knacks


Another extremely personal touch to any display in the house are through knick knacks. Now I’m not talking about those random touristy things you pick up each holiday, these are carefully curated items that you have chosen. It is important that you chose things that are personal to you and your family, nothing completely random.

Here is a selection of my favourites as a starting point for your search …
lass=”size-medium wp-image-195″ src=”×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ /> West Elm, Symmetry Object, starting from £19.20[/caption]
src=”×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ /> West Elm, Metallic Glass Knots, now starting from £9.95 (normally £29)
“>×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ /> Next, Set of 3 Metallic Orbs, £18[/caption]”> Pols Potten Pineapple in Silver, £58 from Amara (also available in white, gold and matt black)
“×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Dahlia Porcelain Flower from Amara, £110[/caption]”> Amara, Large Nest Box, Large, £42 (also available in pink)

[caption id="attachment_212" align="aligncenter" width="300"]”> Amara, Pols Potten Prickle Decorative Ornament, £23
[/caption]Remember, with whatever accessories you choose, try not to over do it. You don’t want to completely cover your coffee table with random stuff. Be confident in your layering and most of all – have fun with it!
Have you read my recent post on the Ultimate Spring 2018 Colour Palette? You can check it out here, where I explain more about the colours of this season and how you can easily implement it into your home, whatever your budget.
See you soon!
Jessica xo

Styling & Design Advice


Fancy a hand styling your home? Simply fill out the form below with your interior dilemma and I’ll be in touch to arrange a free consultation …
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