Coffee Table Essentials

There is almost nothing I like better than styling the tables and flat surfaces around my house. It's fun to add something new from time to time, as well as "shop" your own house and move things around for a little change of pace. And the prime place for styling is the coffee table. So when Chairish approached me about writing a blog post that incorporated what I feel are "coffee table essentials," I jumped at the chance. For those of you not familiar with Chairish, it's a website where design lovers can buy and sell vintage furniture to one another with an amazingly large selection and reasonable prices.

One of the reasons the coffee table is a favorite to decorate is it's a fairly large, flat surface with lots of room for styling and secondly, (at least for me) it's one of the first things people see when they come into my home as my front door opens to a view of the living room. I love them styled many different ways, but there are some things I think are essential to completing the look. Here is my new coffee table below - completely bare and ready to be styled!

Here is what my table looked like for the last couple of months. I love my antique dough bowl and I like the contrast of the roughhewn wood against the smooth marble. To this, I also added some books. Books are probably my number one essential! Not only do they add a pop of color and something interesting for a guest to peruse and thumb through (especially if they are travel or art books), but they also elevate anything you put on top of them. On top of the books, I highlighted my vintage brass birds and a little green marble container. Both of these are one-of-a-kind items and things that I found over time. I do like there to be at least one thing on the table that is unique. It doesn't have to be vintage, but I do think it adds something store bought just doesn't. However, if that's not your thing, I would at least try to have something of special value or uniqueness that speaks of "you."

In the combo above I wanted to lighten it up for Spring and Summer, so I removed the brass items and the wood bowl, exchanging those for some silver items. I also added some natural elements, which I felt it needed since the wood is gone and all the silver is very cool. The green topiary and even the lemons add texture and a bit of nature, which I also like. I also changed out the darker books for some lighter colored ones, again lightening up the vignette. And just a little tip; if you need books but don't want to spend a fortune on "coffee table" books, go to your local library (most of them have a little re-used book store) and you can get them for a steal. I just picked ones I liked the titles of and/or the colors of the spines! And if the covers were beat up, I just threw those out.

Here I switched out the topiary for the flowers. If you can afford it, and you are not a cat owner (I am!) fresh flowers are my absolute favorite thing to have on a coffee table. Unfortunately, I can't usually do it because a) my cat will eat the flowers and b) she will then throw them up on my carpet! But they are gorgeous and add that natural element again.

I changed it up a little here, adding a different candle (candles are a very nice touch) and the antique urn with the dried artichokes. Again, I probably couldn't have the flowers there for longer than one night, but then I would keep something like the topiary or artichokes to keep the naturalness. There's also a little personal touch under the cloche which holds an old vintage hotel key with the room number "92" which is the year we got married (sorry you can't see that in this photo). Again, try to make sure that there is something unique that truly reflects you!

One more version. Here I added a bowl of vintage marble eggs and changed out the urn for a silver tray (you can see the hotel key on the tray there!) I'm sure you've noticed that I don't do too much on the table; I don't like them to be so busy that no one can put their feet up or set down a drink! I like the styling to add to the room, but not be too overdone.

I do love styling tables! In fact, in just putting together this post I got inspired to change it up again (and maybe work on the family room one)! It's fun, and the more you do it, the better you get at it, I think. Hopefully you got some ideas on how to style your own coffee tables, or at least some things to incorporate. There are really no hard and fast rules, but these are my basic "essentials":

Something from nature (a plant, topiary, flowers, or even fruit)
Something unique (preferably vintage, but it can be anything that is special or unique to you)
Books! (A must!)
Other options: trinkets from travels, candles, cute boxes or containers, trays (great for corraling other items), silver, other vintage items

Now go out and style your coffee table! For other ideas on coffee table styling, read my post from last year here, and to check out the coffee tables available on the Chairish website (over 2000 right now!) go here.

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Sharing this week at:

French Country Cottage
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