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Styling Tips for the Coffee Table: Expectations vs. Reality

Styling Tips for the Coffee Table: Expectations vs. Reality

The coffee table is often the centrepiece of a living room, serving as both a functional and decorative element. It is the perfect canvas to showcase your personal style and elevate the overall aesthetic of your space. However, when it comes to styling your coffee table, there can be a discrepancy between what you expect and what you actually achieve. In this blog post, we will explore some common expectations and the reality of styling tips for the coffee table, helping you strike a balance between functionality and visual appeal.

styling coffee tables

Expectation: Perfectly arranged coffee table books and magazines.

Reality: While coffee table books and magazines are a popular choice for styling, achieving the perfect arrangement can be trickier than it seems. Instead of striving for perfection, opt for a more relaxed and effortless look. Stack a few books or magazines in different sizes and arrange them casually, slightly overlapping each other. This creates a visually interesting display while maintaining a lived-in feel.


Expectation: A decorative tray with carefully curated objects.
Reality: The idea of a decorative tray is appealing, as it adds structure and organisation to the coffee table. However, the reality is that trays can sometimes limit your creativity and make the arrangement feel forced. Instead, consider placing objects directly on the table surface. Mix and match different textures and heights, such as a small sculpture, a potted plant, or a unique vintage find. This creates a more eclectic and personalised look.

 styling barefoot gypsy coffee tables

Expectation: Fresh flowers or plants as a centrepiece.

Reality: Incorporating natural elements like fresh flowers or plants can bring life and freshness to your coffee table. However, the reality is that maintaining fresh flowers can be time-consuming and costly, and not everyone has a green thumb. Consider using high-quality faux plants or dried flowers instead. They require minimal care and can provide a long-lasting and low-maintenance solution while still adding a touch of nature to your space.


Expectation: Minimalistic and clutter-free design.

Reality: While a minimalistic and clutter-free design is undoubtedly appealing, the reality is that a coffee table should also reflect your lifestyle and interests. It's okay to have a few items on display that showcase your personality, such as a collection of vintage postcards or a small bowl of meaningful trinkets. Just be mindful of not overcrowding the table, as it can quickly become visually overwhelming.


Expectation: Symmetry and balance in arrangement.

Reality: Achieving perfect symmetry and balance is a common expectation when styling a coffee table. However, the reality is that a more asymmetrical and eclectic approach can often create a more visually engaging display. Play with different shapes, sizes, and heights to create a dynamic arrangement. For example, pair a tall vase with a stack of books and a small decorative object to create visual interest and balance.

styling coastal coffee tables

Styling your coffee table is a creative endeavour that allows you to showcase your personal style and create an inviting focal point in your living room. While it's easy to get caught up in the expectations of a perfectly styled coffee table, remember that the reality is about finding a balance between functionality and visual appeal. Embrace imperfections, incorporate meaningful objects, and have fun experimenting with different arrangements. Ultimately, your coffee table should reflect your unique personality and make you feel at home in your space.

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