Tips for styling your coffee table

Coffee tables come in different shapes and sizes, and in a variety of materials and finishes, all of which cater to a specific ergonomic and aesthetic need. Being at the center of the living room, a coffee table is almost always the focal point of the living area. It is essential to note that, in some cases, the coffee table itself is an art piece that should have very minimal accessories, which may obstruct its artistic appeal. However, for tables that need sprucing up, there are a lot of decorating options available, and embellishing the furniture could be a fun activity for any homeowner. When done right, styling a coffee table not only brings character and life to the space, but also completes the living room ensemble. Here are some tips to consider when embellishing a coffee table:

The first and most important factor to consider when accessorizing a coffee table is the overall design or theme of the space. All furniture pieces in each area are tied together in terms of function and beauty to form a cohesive design. As such, a coffee table’s styling should not be isolated from the rest of the living room. The accessories on this furniture should complement the theme; if personal or sentimental trinkets are displayed on the table, the pieces that accompany them should highlight these subjects, not overpower them.

Placing ornaments on the coffee table comes next. There are different ways to lay out the accessories, all of which depend on the shape and size of the table. For large surfaces, a systematic method is to draw a grid that will compartmentalize the styling process. Another option is to choose one side to decorate. This creates a subtle impact on any viewer and helps draw their eyes to the decorative pieces. For long and rectangular coffee tables, as well as round and irregularly shaped ones, the rule of thirds would be the fail-safe option. Group your collection into three, and juxtapose them in such a way that they don’t take all the surface area of the table. They can be placed following the silhouette of the table for a streamlined and clean look, or they can be angled to contrast the outline of the furniture to create a more dynamic design. For a minimalist approach, you can choose one statement piece to display on your table.

Once you have your design approach and layout drawn, the bulk of your styling activity would involve layering. This covers a myriad of elements such as colors, textures, sizes, heights, materials and finishes. In terms of colors, it is a good practice to contrast the hue of the table. Bold colors picked out from the living room would look good on a white or neutral table, while metallic or stark white would pop out from a black or dark wooden table. Glass tables are versatile and can hold the colors of your choice.

On the sizes of decorations, note that a collection of nothing but small pieces would make the table look too cluttered. On the other hand, using big, bulky pieces alone would put too much volume and make the design too heavy. It is also not advisable to place elements in one level, or put ornaments that are of the same height, because nothing gets noticed in this setup. Play with varying heights and scales.

The key is to strike balance in all decors. As base, small pieces can be placed in trays so that they are grouped together and are easy to move around when necessary. The trays also help visually anchor the objects to the table. For the mid-level, a stack of books or ornamental boxes can be used. The tallest décor usually come in a stand-alone piece, such as a tabletop sculpture or tall glass vase with a single-stem plant.

Styling choices for your coffee table are countless. You have the liberty to play with different design elements until you find the look that best suit your taste and home. With these tips in mind, you can surely transform your coffee table into the focal point your living room deserves.

*Appreared in The Philippine STAR on March 10, 2017