Your Coffee Table

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. We’re still down in North Carolina for the High Point furniture market. We’re so looking forward to sharing all of the new product that’s being introduced this fall (more on that tomorrow!). Today we wanted to do a super simple coffee table accessorizing tutorial. One of the most common questions we get from clients and readers is “What do I put on my coffee table?” Figuring out how to accessorize this tabletop can be intimidating, especially when it’s large. But in the end it’s all about layering. We bought this super chic lacquer coffee table for one of our clients whose living room we installed last week. Do you remember it
Here’s what it looked like once we were finished accessorizing it:

Once we were happy with the placement of the new coffee table, we set about making it feel real and lived in. One of the most crucial parts of installing any room is accessorizing. What you put on the walls and tabletops is what brings your space to life. The last thing you want is to create a beautiful room filled with gorgeous pieces of furniture in a well thought out floor plan and have it feel unfinished or sterile. So here’s where we began, a totally blank slate:

The next step in our 3-step coffee table accessorizing plan is to add a large tray. This one is an oversized chocolate brown lacquered tray from Jonathan Adler. We chose the larger size because this coffee table can handle it. Place your tray anywhere but dead center.
Next up, a layer of books. We usually like to stack our books 2 or 3 high and use at least two different size piles. The symmetry of the stacks are thrown off with a large rectangular book in the lower left hand corner. A few books on top of the tray is another way to give a more layered effect. The 3rd and last step is adding your tchotchkes. You need to give your tabletop a bit of height and dimension with a few vases, bowls and objects d’art. The easiest piece to add is a low vase with flowers like this one:From there any small bowls or trays you may have collected or even something fun like these horns will pull your tabletop together. 
And there you have it! To recap: 1. Tray 2. Books 3. Tchotckes. Easy, right?
Do you have any fool-proof coffee table accessorizing tips you’d like to share? A favorite product that always looks great? Do tell!

  • Kiley Cogis Brodeur

    But what about a round coffee table? They are much harder to accessorize!

  • kimmacumber

    More than anything I try to find things in my clients’ homes to start the process … they need to be personal! Anyone can run to Home Goods and buy things … make your coffee table say something about YOU!! Love this post, great how-to! xo

  • Lauren

    We use the same three steps with round tables!

  • Carlin

    What do you do for clients with little children? Our coffee tables are uber-bare because we have a 2 year old and a 5 year who are prone to “undressing” the styling of their mommy. With an open concept house, it is really hard to restrict their access to rooms, especially when they are adjacent to their bedroom or the kitchen or the dining room.

  • Kiley Cogis Brodeur

    Do you use a round tray then? Could you point me in the direction of any inspiration images? Thanks, Lauren!

  • Lauren

    I think depending on how large your round coffee table is, you could use either a round or square tray. The coffee table would have to be rather large to make a square or rectangular tray work.
    Here are some great inspiration images from our Pinterest:

  • Suzanne

    For clients with kids we mostly use books and a sturdy lacquer tray like the one above. Less, if any objects. If we do use objects they are always not precious and unbreakable. This is a very heavy duty wood tray that can take quite a lot of dropping! These little wood boxes are also great for kids:
    Hope that helps!

  • ashley

    Thank You! Great tips and perfect timing as I was just looking at my bare white coffee table and wondering where to begin. Do you happen to know the name of the style of your client’s table? I have been looking for a similar style side table for a little girl’s room.


  • Gina

    What table is this? Where do I find it?

  • Susan

    I’m glad Kiley asked this question – I have the same challenge. Thanks for the Pinterest inspiration Lauren! But I must admit I am still struggling to make the styling of our pretty large round coffee table look good/natural. Squares and rectangles are much simpler which is a drag because I really love the round ones! 🙂