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Coffee Table Decor Tips: How to Style the Perfect Vignette

Coffee Table Decor Tips: How to Style the Perfect Vignette
4 min. read
Coffee Table Decor

Image: Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com

A perfectly styled coffee table can take your living room from OK to OMG! But getting the look just right can be easier said than done. It turns out there’s actually a formula for it. However, with a little insider knowledge, you too can create a perfect vignette. Here’s what you need to know about coffee table decor.

Start with the Right Coffee Table

To make your coffee table decor look its best, it helps to start with a coffee table that fits your space. Style and color will vary for every room, but there are a few quick tips to help you get the size and scale right:

  • The coffee table should be at least half the length of the couch.
  • The top of the coffee table should be within 4″ of the top of the seat cushions on the couch.

Cut the Clutter

Nothing looks pretty when it’s cluttered. The first step to styling a stunning coffee table is to remove all the functional (but unattractive) items. Things like remotes, magazines and phone chargers tend to accumulate on the table. Tuck them away in a drawer or leave a cute basket under the table to keep necessary items handy but out of sight.

Set an Anchor

A tray makes the perfect base for a coffee table vignette. It provides an anchor to tie the different elements together and makes the display look intentional. Your table can look cluttered without an anchor like you just left a few things on the table. If you don’t have a tray on hand, a pretty dish, serving platter or board will also do the trick.

Use Books

Books are one of the best weapons in your coffee table styling arsenal. They add a pop of color and make a great platform to display smaller things. Coffee table books work well on a large surface, while smaller books are ideal to create a stage for tiny dishes or sculptural elements.

The secret to successfully using books as decor is to choose the book by its cover! In this case, the book’s content is not as important as the color or theme it brings to your vignette. Shop your shelves, thrift stores, garage sales and used book stores to find the right look at a low cost.

Add Some Shape

A sculptural object will add interest and dimension to your table. It can be a sculpture, piece of driftwood, memento from your travels or any item you find interesting. Look for something that offers a contrasting shape to the rest of the items in the display.

Bring It to Life

No vignette is complete without a natural element to bring it to life. Depending on the look you’re going for, add a plant, flower or branch to finish off your arrangement.


Now that you’ve got all the elements, here are a few tips to help you put everything together.

Don’t Keep Things on the Level

Ensure your display doesn’t fall flat by using items with a variety of heights and sizes. The pyramid formula will help you get it right every time. Use tall, medium and short items and arrange them in a pyramid to draw the eye in and keep it moving.

3 is the Magic Number

For some reason, things look better in groupings of odd numbers. To avoid a cluttered look, work with three different items when decorating your coffee table.  But you don’t have to be too literal here; a pair of candlesticks or a small object on a stack of books can count as a single decor piece.

It’s a 360 View

When decorating your coffee table, keep in mind that there’s generally no backside. That means you should consider how your vignette looks from every angle. Things like framed photos can be tricky to work with since they’re best viewed from one side. Stick to items that look pretty all the way around.

Keep Your Colors in Check

Stick to the color palette of the room when choosing items to decorate your coffee table. If you introduce new colors that don’t relate, the vignette will look out of place.

Change with the Seasons

Keep things fresh and relevant by swapping out your coffee table decor at least once a season.

Now that you know the secrets to decorating a perfect coffee table, you might not be able to stop styling new looks!

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