20 Accessories to Help Create a Perfectly Styled Coffee Table

Create a living room centerpiece that's all you.

Decorating your coffee table can sometimes feel like a puzzle. And while there's no hard and fast formula that works for everyone, you can tackle the challenge of styling your table with a mix-and-match approach.

I believe there are certain decor items you can keep on hand to make sure that you always have the makings of a perfectly styled coffee table, and I want to share my favorites with you.

But don't feel overwhelmed! Simply pick four to five items from the following list, play around with the placement on your coffee table, then sit back, put your feet up and relax.

 1: Serving Tray

Photo by: Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

A simple serving tray is a great piece to have on hand for almost any coffee table. You can use it to hold some of the other items below or stack it on top of some books.

 2: Candle

Photo by: Barneys New York

Barneys New York

If you love to switch up your decor based on the seasons, a candle is a simple way to do this. Choose a floral or fresh scent in the spring or summer, and opt for something a bit spicier closer to the holidays. If you have some favorite candles, it’s also nice to buy extras so you know that you always have them on hand.

 3: Hardcover Book

Photo by: Amazon


Large, hardcover books work beautifully on coffee tables. You can either go with a minimalist look and display one book, or stack up a few in various spots on your table. Choose books on topics you're passionate about, but make sure the book you have sitting on top matches with your design and color scheme.

$35, amazon.com

 4: Sculpture

Photo by: World Market

World Market

An interesting sculpture is another go-to item that will always work. Depending on the size of the sculpture you choose, you can either place it on top of something else (such as a tray or stack of books), or leave it on the table itself if you want to make sure it gets a bit more attention.

 5: Plant

Photo by: Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel

Even if you're someone who tends to have a black thumb, you have some options when it comes to plants on your coffee table. You can choose a succulent, such as a cactus, that doesn’t require much water. Or you can always go faux and choose a plant that never needs to be watered.

 6: Storage Box

Photo by: CB2


Much like a tray, a small, decorative box is another easy way to bring a bit of order to your coffee table. A large one can hold unsightly items, such as remote controls, while a smaller box can be used to hold matches for your candles.

$25, cb2.com

 7: Framed Photos

Photo by: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Framed family photos can also work well on a coffee table. However, you want to make sure that you don’t include too many or your space can start to look messy. One or two frames are a nice way to share some of your favorite family moments. If you’re not crazy about photos, you can frame tickets from a recent trip, a favorite quote or even your kids' artwork.

 8: Crystals

Photo by: Target


In addition to the potential spiritual and emotional benefits, displaying beautiful crystals is a great way to bring a bit more texture and interest to your space. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and can work great with all of the other basics on your table.

$18, target.com

 9: Large Bowl

Photo by: New Hampshire Bowl and Board

New Hampshire Bowl and Board

A beautiful, all-purpose item for your coffee table is a large, wooden bowl. You can simply display the bowl as is and choose one with color and texture. Or, you can fill it up with various items, such as fruit, decorative orbs or collected shells.

 10: Vase

Photo by: Ikea


Choose a beautiful vase, then simply rotate your arrangement each week. Or you can add a vase with flowers on special occasions or when you're having guests over.

$10, ikea.com

 11: Globe

Photo by: Home Decorators Collection

Home Decorators Collection

Globes work well on a coffee table, as they provide a bit of height to a styled display. Place a smaller globe on top of a stack of books. Display larger globes directly on the table.

 12: Animal Figurine

Photo by: Target


Animal figurines are a fun way to bring a bit of whimsy to your table. You can choose from a variety of materials depending on the look you're going for. If you prefer vintage items, there are lots of brass animal figurines available online, too.

 13: Coral

Photo by: Target


If you’re not crazy about plants but still want to bring some organic vibes into your living space, consider a piece of coral — real or faux. They come in a variety of sizes, so make sure to choose one that will work with your specific table setup.

$34, target.com

 14: Adult Coloring Books

Photo by: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Add some adult coloring books and some markers for an unexpected addition to your coffee table setup. You can put the markers into a beautiful glass or piece of pottery so they’re easy to grab and beautifully displayed.

 15: Snow Globe

Photo by: Z Gallerie

Z Gallerie

An alternative to a standard globe is this slick, grown-up snow globe. Instead of "snow," this globe features gold glitter and a Buddha.

 16: Coasters

Photo by: Anthropologie


Coasters are a practical item to have on your coffee table. However, if you choose some beautiful coasters, you'll be proud to keep them on display at all times.

 17: Charcoal Scent Diffuser

Photo by: Net-a-Porter


A fab alternative to a candle is this charcoal scent diffuser. You simply leave out the diffuser and it scents the air for several months at a time. If you choose one in a beautiful glass jar, it will look beautiful sitting out on your table.

 18: Hourglass

Photo by: Anthropologie


An hourglass is another fun item to have out on your coffee table. It could come in handy if you like to host game nights, or simply leave it out as a beautiful, interactive display.

 19: Bookends

Photo by: West Elm

West Elm

While coffee table-sized books are a great choice, you can also display some standard-sized books on your coffee table. If you do, you can really fine-tune the look with a beautiful pair of bookends. Go to your local thrift store and find a set of vintage books to display.

 20: Dominoes

Photo by: Nordstrom


Choose a beautiful domino set to display. These also come in a variety of styles (such as Lucite and wood), and would look stunning sitting on a tray or on top of a stack of magazines.

15 Designer Tips for Styling Your Coffee Table

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Maintain Balance

Nothing makes for a cluttered surface faster than a large collection of small knick-knacks. Contrastingly, displaying only large items can look heavy and cumbersome. To keep your coffee table balanced, vary the scale of display items and stack or group like objects together.  

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Form a Grid

When working with an oversized coffee table, knowing where to begin can be half the battle. Our tip: tape off sections to form a grid and position objects within the squares. This helps compartmentalize your styling and makes the entire task less intimidating. 

Make Seasonal Swap-Outs

As a living room focal point, your coffee table is a great place to rotate seasonal decorative elements. For example, nothing says spring like a vase of fresh tulips. In summer, place a sea conch on a stack of books for beachy vibes, then come fall, swap out the shell for a pumpkin or gourd. 

Look High and Low

When all items are at the same eye level, nothing gets noticed. To create a more eye-catching vignette, vary the height and scale of your coffee table's decorative objects, as designer Charles Faudree has here. 

From: Charles Faudree

Photo By: Photo Credit: Jenifer Jordan © Gibbs Smith, Charles Faudree Interiors, Charles Faudree, Jenifer Jordan (photographer)

Three’s Company

The age-old rule of threes comes in handy when styling your coffee table. Like in Tip #2 (Form a Grid), dividing your tabletop into three separate sections can help you decide where things look best. This especially holds true for long, rectangular-shaped tables. 

Contrast Colors

Choose decor that plays off the color of your coffee table. If the table is white or a neutral, go with bold colors on top. For black or dark woods, showcase metallic and crisp white tabletop items. And with a versatile clear table, any color choices are a go. 

Pick Sides

If you're working with a large area to cover, choose to decorate just one side both to keep the coffee table from feeling too cluttered and to ensure you leave plenty of space for friends and family to set a cup, plate or any other personal items. 

Go Green

Even for those with a black thumb, the coffee table is the perfect setting for a small, low-maintenance plant. Set it right in the center for an organic, fuss-free way to bring life into your space. 

Use a Tray

A tray serves both a practical and stylish purpose by showcasing your favorite small finds while also making them easily removable should you need to clear the surface for entertaining. A tray is also useful for giving structure and symmetry to a freeform table, anchoring tabletop items that might otherwise feel like they're 'floating.'

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Be Entertaining

Give guests a way to break the ice when seated around the coffee table. A few playful options to consider: a vintage board game, deck of cards or dominos to add a bit of whimsy to your space. 

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Examine Every Angle

When selecting coffee table items, consider how they will look from multiple vantage points. Picture frames, for instance, only offer one good angle and are better suited for the bookcase or mantel.

Be Choosy

If the thought of curating a large collection of knick-knacks doesn't appeal to you, showcase just one or two decorative pieces you really love. The benefit of opting to embrace this minimalist approach? You get to splurge a bit more on your favorite items. 

Provide a Practical Place

The coffee table is the hub of social activity in your living or family room. Focus on functionality with baskets, catch-alls or wooden boxes to provide a handy place to stash remotes, coasters, reading glasses or any other everday essentials that typically cause coffee table clutter. 

Photo By: CamilleStyles.com

Make It Personal

Let the objects on your coffee table tell a story about your passions and memories. A grouping of sea shells collected from a memorable vacation, hand-me-down figurines or roses snipped from your own garden are all great ways to give your living room's decor a personal twist. 

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Encourage Activity

Most of our beloved coffee table books collect dust over the years. Leave your current favorite open to a pretty page, encouraging all to take a peek. 

Photo By: Molly Winters via CamilleStyles.com

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