coffee table

  • How to decorate a coffee table

    Your coffee table serves an undoubtedly useful function in your home. But whether you have an ornate marble top table, a rustic oak design or a sleek, minimalist glass top piece, your coffee table can end up looking lacklustre if it’s not styled properly.

    It’s time to see this essential item of furniture for what it is - a canvas that can be used to project your style and personality. With a little effort, you can say goodbye to bland and create a conversation starter in your living room. Whether you’re an earth lover who’s drawn to the natural look, a quirky collector of knick-knacks or a stylish devotee of clean lines and monochromatic design, you can make your coffee table work for you.

    In this article, we show you how to add some oomph to this part of your home with some clever tricks and tips.

    How to dress a coffee table

    Whatever your style preferences, following a few golden rules should help you to achieve a chic coffee table look.

    Rule 1: Less is more

    It doesn’t matter if you own the biggest collection of art books known to man or you’ve managed to amass every candle that Jo Malone has ever released, when it comes to your coffee table, less is more. Having a few statement pieces helps to maintain a simple, uncluttered look and creates focus in your home. And remember, you can rotate items over time. So while you may go for Gauguin and gardenia one month, you might swap to Warhol and wood sage the next.

    Rule 2: Variety is key

    Create contrast and interest by using a range of textures and colours. It helps to vary the height and size of items on your table too. For example, you could pair a delicate white orchid with a heavy metallic sculpture. Or you could put two tall gold candle holders next to an asymmetrical ceramic bowl.

    Rule 3: Create harmony with colour

    Bold pops of colour can work well against neutral design schemes but try to keep colours complementary. For example, if you have a pastel theme running through your living room, brash primary colours may look out of place. Similarly if you have a lot of vibrant hues in your space, you might find that more subtle shades can cause your coffee table pieces to fade into the background.

    a decorated coffee table in an elegant sitting room.

    What to put on a coffee table

    As we’ve already said, your coffee table presents an opportunity to showcase who you are. So there’s a whole range of items you could choose to put on it, from vintage fashion magazines, to antique trinkets, to natural artifacts, to contemporary decorative figurines. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    Books

    Whether you love 80s sci-fi cover art, you want to show off your intellectual credentials with a Nietsche hardback or you’d like to start conversations with a display of guilty pleasures, you can’t go wrong when it comes to books. We find that big often works best but there are no hard and fast rules. If you have a small table, for example, a classic Jane Austen paperback may work beautifully.

    Flowers

    A bouquet of flowers can act as the perfect coffee table centrepiece. You could create an arrangement of peonies in a low glass vase for a subtle, fresh look. Or for a more dramatic effect, why not add some roses and baby’s breath to a wine bottle?

    Art

    From bold geometric sculptures, to decorative mother and child resin statues, to kitschy rubber duck-lookalikes, displaying art on your coffee table can add flair and interest. It can also tell visitors a bit about you.

    How to accessorise a coffee table

    Whether you’re looking to upgrade a well-loved coffee table or add a personal touch to a new addition, we have accessory ideas to get you thinking.

    Runners

    A simple runner can transform the look of a table. The textures, patterns and colours can create visual interest and make your table look truly at home in your space.

    Coasters

    Spice up your table with some interesting coasters. From handmade pieces made from recycled newspaper, to rustic olive wood designs, to coasters made to look like your favourite vinyl records, there are a host of great options out there when it comes to finding something to put your drink on.

    Storage

    Whether you choose a fancy decorative box, a raffia basket or a simple wooden tray, a storage solution can help to keep remote controls, matches, phones and other odds and ends from making your table look unsightly.

    How to arrange books on a coffee table

    Show off those spines by arranging a small stack of books by colour or size. Top the arrangement with a succulent for a really chic look. Alternatively, create balance by placing two books face-up at either side of a centrepiece. If you have a two tier table, you might choose to create a few stacks of books at even height on the lower tier for a neat, sophisticated appearance.

    What to put on a glass coffee table

    Glass is derived from the natural world so natural objects can work really well on this kind of surface. Coral, crystals, natural beads, seashells and greenery can all compliment a glass coffee table exquisitely.

    If you have a mirrored tabletop, you could play around with perception by placing a chandelier on the ceiling above it. Candlelight also looks fantastic on a reflective surface so why not add some tea lights or
    votives (glass candles) to your table?

    Fern xx

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  • How to Choose a Coffee Table

    Utilised as the final missing component in your living room’s décor, a piece designed to contrast with the colour and style of a seated area or simply to hold drinks when friends and family come to visit, a coffee table is an item of furniture that acts as a centrepiece to any home’s room for entertaining guests.

    A coffee table may be taken for granted, but if it doesn’t complement other items of furniture in the room it's situated, it could be the downfall of your entire aesthetic. In this blog, we explain the many uses of coffee tables before providing help on what criteria you should consider for picking out a new coffee table for your home.

    What is a coffee table used for?

    In the process of decorating a living room or another space that is designed for relaxing and spending time with friends and family, sofas are a component that simply cannot be ignored. However, coffee tables are often seen as the second most important items after sofas, providing an additional practical element to combine with your sofas and completing the look. Indeed, while many people may choose to include a coffee table for design purposes or simply because they feel it’s mandatory, it would actually be more beneficial to use a coffee table for practical purposes.

    With many styles, shapes, colours and materials to choose from, a coffee table can fill unwanted space in a seated area. That said, coffee tables do more than just please the eye, offering support for holding drinks, television remotes, magazines, and if you actively look to turn your coffee table into a centrepiece, books, vases, candles, lighting and ornaments.

    A set of coffee tables displayed in a modern living room.

    How to pick a coffee table

    Often located in the middle of a living room space, a coffee table can’t be ignored, so you need to make sure that the one you pick is perfect. Coffee tables are available in a vast selection of different forms, but it’s possible to pick out the correct option for your living room providing you consider the material, shapes and uses of your ideal coffee table.

    Coffee table materials:

    Wood - ideal for a rustic, authentic feel

    Glass - a minimal option for upmarket layouts

    Mirror - perfect for promoting a feeling of elegance and enhancing the appearance of space

    Metal - typically associated with vintage feels or used as an arbiter between new and old

    Marble - popular with light tones and sophisticated décor

    Coffee table shapes:

    Rectangular - modern and best suited to larger areas

    Square - suitable for both practicality and representing symmetry alongside other items of furniture

    Circular - casual and easier for people to move around with ease

    Oval - a welcome mix between the perks of square and circular options

    Uses:

    Aside from the visual side of your coffee table, it would be beneficial to think of practical uses. For example, an ottoman would be an alternative option for privately storing items, nesting tables give you the option to split off your tables into separate pieces and use in different areas of the room, or you could opt against a coffee table, instead using a couple of matching side tables.

    What shape of coffee table goes with a sectional sofa?

    A key consideration when it comes to choosing a coffee table is that it works alongside other pieces of furniture in your living room. This extends to any components in the room - including curtains, bookshelves, lighting, the fireplace, doors, windows and even the colour of the room itself - but whether the visual aesthetic works or not will be dependent on the shape, size, colour and style of your sofa. However, while this will take some thought, you may be even more uncertain of your living room’s layout if you have a sectional sofa.

    Sectional sofas are made from several pieces, often meaning that it could be formed as a corner sofa or possess a section that allows the user to lie down. As such, they aren’t always square shaped and symmetrical, leading to potential problems with finding a coffee table that fits alongside this type of sofa.

    Matching a coffee table with a sectional sofa isn’t actually as difficult as it may sound, and you shouldn’t have any problem doing this as long as you bear in mind a few fundamental factors. For instance, it’s crucial that your coffee table is proportionate to your sofa. Sectional sofas are often oversized and significantly larger than traditional sofas, so this could mean investing in a larger coffee table.

    As for L-shaped corner sofas, square coffee tables will present a sleek sense of correlation between similar shapes with circular coffee tables will provide easier navigation for anyone looking to sit down or stand up. The important factor for making a coffee table work with this type of sectional sofa is to ensure that it is positioned inside the length of the sofa. If it overlaps outside of the sofa’s length, the oversized nature of the sofa will look more out of place, making it stand out uncomfortably.

    How to choose a coffee table size

    Identifying a coffee table that is the correct size for your living room is just as important as finding one that is visually appealing and complements your existing colour scheme and decorative style.

    A coffee table is typically between 16 and 18 inches tall and around 58 inches long, but that’s not to say that these measurements are right for the space you’re decorating.

    If you need help with picking the size of your table, you should:

    • Ensure that there is at least two feet between the coffee table and all other items of furniture
    • Measure your room to get a feel for what size would work best
    • Pick a coffee table that is around two thirds shorter than the length of your sofa
    • Check that the height of the coffee table is in line with the sofa's cushions.

    While these tips are likely to help the process of choosing the correct size to suit your sofa and other elements in your living room, you should make sure that you’re sizing a coffee table using your own specifications.

    For instance, if you have a lot of space in your living room and you’ve planned for your furniture to be several feet away from your coffee table, it would be more suitable to get a coffee table that is wider, longer and closer to the ground. Alternatively, if your living room is more compact and you want a cosier feel and more storage options, it would be better suited for your coffee table to be thinner, taller and carrying shelves and drawers for holding items.

    Fern xx

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