Coffee table styling is an easy way to inject your personality into a living area. It looks easy when you browse through home interiors magazines, doesn't it? A few candles here, some books there, tied together with a vase of flowers? But it's not quite as easy to get it right as it looks, unless you stick to a few important guidelines.
'But surely a coffee table is supposed to be practical?'I hear all the men cry out. 'It's for the tv remotes and my cup of coffee?'
Well... yes and no. Because since when has design and styling ever been practical?
So let's get down to it. In answer to your question of what sort of decor you should exhibit on your coffee table, the answer is PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING; as long as it works with the style of your room and you don't overcrowd it.
Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with a beautiful vase of flowers or a potted plant as a starting point.
Then there are trays, small pots and bowls, or larger timber bowls brim-full of succulents, husks, African beads, shells or metallic decorator balls that can add texture to the room as well.
Books add an air of restfulness and sophistication, as do candles. And most stylists recommend a statement piece - an antique, a family heirloom, or that clam you bought back from the Great Barrier Reef on your honeymoon.
So as you can see, pretty much anything works as long as you stick to the following ten secrets:
1. Don't overcrowd the table. Apply the same 'less is more' principle to coffee table styling as you do to the rest of the house if you are styling to sell.
2. Don't place anything too tall on your coffee table if you're selling your home. A humungous vase of flowers is not ideal for your Internet shots, and if you're still living in your home, it will be difficult to see anything or anyone beyond it. Pay attention to height, and mix it up.
3. I like to create vignettes by using trays, plates, or large shallow bowls. Not only do these containers group your objects together more effectively, they also make it easier to clean beneath them. Working in odd numbers is best - usually three to five items per container. For larger rectangular coffee tables and circular tables, I might use three different clusters - eg. a pile of books, a vignette on a tray, and perhaps a candle or two.
4. Make sure that your decorator pieces are different heights and textures so they look more interesting and so that one piece doesn't overshadow another.
5. Check how the coffee table looks from every angle of the room.
6. The styling of your coffee table must reflect the styling of the rest of the room. For example, you can go a bit more crazy in a Hamptons or Boho-style living room than in a minimalist or Scandinavian scheme.
7. Mix textures. Put together metallics, ceramics, plants and baskets, as long as there is cohesion with the style and colours in the room.
8. Make sure your accessories work with the scale of the room and with each other.
9. If there's a shelf underneath the coffee table, don't forget to dress that as well.
10. And finally, have fun! You've already made all the huge decisions, so now is the time to play.
Photo Credits: 1. Photo found on Pinterest from Cuore Bello. 2. Photo The Styling Consultant. 3. Photo found on Pinterest (Etsy?)