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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Styling a Coffee Table

Styling a coffee table sounds like such a simple task, especially relative to everything else necessary to design a beautiful, cohesive room. Yes, it is just another detail, but it is one of those details that can really make or break a room. This simple task is one that always gives me heartburn- finding that delicate balance between form and function, using too much or too little, etc. And even after you decide what you will use, the placement of objects on the table can be a challenge too!
Here are some pictures we find inspiring. You will see some common themes throughout these rooms, regardless of the room's particular style.
This mirrored gold leaf table is very similar to the one in my den. Here they have used a uniform stack of books, a couple of sculptural elements, and fresh flowers. Whenin doubt, always add fresh flowers!
Decor Pad
A mirrored parsons table. Perfect with flowers, a little box, and a couple items like seashells.
Decor Pad
Love love love this living room!!! The basic gold leaf coffee table with a marble top is just right for the space. Add a neat stack of books, vase of pretty flowers, and a bowl, and that is all you need!
Decor Pad For a clean, polished look, just add a pillar candle in a hurricane, a neat stack of books, and a little dish or two.
House Beautiful If you opt for a tufted ottoman instead of a wooden table, definitely add a tray as shown here. Add a plant (live of course) and a candle in a hurricane, and you have a great look!
House Beautiful For a longer coffee table, we like the neat stacks of books and magazines shown here. You don't often see magazines on tables in designer pics, but practically speaking, almost everyone places them on the coffee table. Our advice is to keep them 1) current issues 2) in a neat stack on the table. Don't let the stack build up into a magazine tower! And as for catalogs, we vote to hide those in a less conspicuous part of your home.
Todd Romano
Pretty zebra ottoman-turned-coffee table! Nearly the entire surface of the ottoman is covered, but it really works here and isn't too busy. The neatly arrangement of the tray and stacks of books is a key here! (and we love the turquoise lantern!)
Photo Courtesy of Patricia Gray Interiors
This is a large, open room with a very large coffee table. Yet one simple flower arrangement and two curved candlesticks (?) are all it needs.
Naeem Khan's Home in Elle Decor So Chic
Once again, a neat stack of books, fresh flowers, a box and a couple little decorative items (knick-knacks) really do the trick! As for the knick-knacks, they don't bother us as long as they have some meaning to you. We like to use ones from our travels or something else meaningful- just say no to the racks at Marshalls!
Miles Redd
We absolutely loved Marjorie Gubelmann's Manhattan apartment in Elle Decor. Her coffee table has the perfect arrangement of items to give the room a sophisticated yet cozy look. And MoS Charlotte recently saw an IDENTICAL coffee table for $125 at the local Habitat Re-Store (sorry, Marj).
Elle Decor
This clean-looking table is well edited and sophisticated. We like an item or small dish/ tray placed on top of a stack of books.
Madeline Stuart via Studio Annetta
Three groupings seems to work really well on rectangular tables. Here we have two stacks of books separated by a pretty vase of flowers. It's simple and looks great!

Lindsey Coral Harper, courtesy of La Dolce Vita
With so many fabulous things going on in this room like the chandelier, yellow zebra chairs, and beautiful fireplace, it's easy to overlook the coffee table. But it really serves its purpose well, and does not stand out too much in this showy room.

October 2007 Elle Decor
The room/ table is a little too rustic for our style, but we can appreciate the placement of objects on it. We love the sunflowers for a splash of color!
Elle Decor
We love how they have used a pair of gold leaf coffee tables, placed vertically in front of the sofa. The stacks of books and gorgeous flowers are so pretty in this room!

Elle Decor
How pretty is this collection of silver objects on a round coffee table? Maybe not so child or pet (tail) friendly, but what a fabulous way to display your silver?!

Mark Badgley and James Mischka in Elle Decor
The double-decker coffee table is always a challenge. This is what my mom has, and it is so difficult to find a way to stylishly place objects on the top and bottom shelves. Maybe the key is to keep is REALLY simple, like they have done here. Frankly, this arrangement is a bit boring to us, but then again, when you have two shelves, you don't want a look that is full of knick-knacks or too busy.
Apartment Therapy
In Aerin Lauder's pretty pretty room, once again we see the two neat stacks of books separated by a pretty vase of flowers. We love this gold leaf coffee table with a Greek key motif and black marble top, and the simple arrangement of items on top does not detract from the beauty of the table itself.
Elle Decor
In a pretty gray room, we like this mirrored table with three groupings of books. Three must be the magic number when it comes to coffee table arrangements.

Elle Decor
We love this two-level table and how it has been styled! Stick to several simple stacks of books on the bottom, and on top place some flowers, a small object or two, and a pretty lacquered box.

Austin Harrelson, courtesy of La Dolce Vita
And if you need to add some books your coffee table, here are a few of our favorites!

So is styling a coffee table a simple formula? Two stacks of books, some fresh flowers, maybe a little tray or lacquered box, and a knick-knack or two?! Sounds so easy!


goheels83 said...

Good stuff! I love Naeem Kahn's room, and also Aerin Lauder's chandelier!

That Vogue Living book is great, I have it on my coffee table!

Julie said...

I love the Decor Pad room. I laughed about the double-decker coffee tables. I think my mother and grandmother have suffered through some not-so-stylish versions over the years. Great post!

Erin said...

Great images and ideas!!! And I REALLY appreciate having a formula to mind likes formulas! Oh and "just say no to the racks at Marshalls!" LOL!

annie said...

enjoyed your blog! hope you and your viewers enjoy mine.

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