One of my favorite parts of the design process is the styling phase. After form and function have been accounted for, it is time to infuse the space with the client's personality. Styling the space with special treasures and mementos that your client has collected tells a story about them. It adds the personal layer and feels more warm and inviting.
Styling seems to be one of the biggest challenges that clients face. They typically know what they like, but not sure how to display them to look cohesive with the rest of the space.
I would like to share some of my favorite styling items, which I almost always use on my design projects, and some tips on how you can incorporate them for your coffee table styling
1 - Books
Whether you are an avid reader or not, books are one of the items that when displayed correctly, can make your coffee table look inviting and high-end. I love to incorporate hardcovers and larger books that I often get at second hand book stores locally, or on Amazon. I typically stack them about 3 or 4, but it all depends on the mood and style of the rest of the room. In the picture below, this living room was meant to be a maximalist space with a lot of collections displayed, so I brought in 4 stacks of books arranged around the parameter of the coffee table. These books inspire my love, and aspirations of traveling and of course interior design and birds. Check out a few of my favorite books HERE that you can incorporate into your coffee table styling.
2 - Floral Arrangements
I am the first to admit that I am great at killing plants. I love incorporating plants and florals into my spaces, but I have no time to tend to them to keep them alive. I often use high quality faux greenery and florals for my coffee table styling. Florals bring a softness and organic feel to the space like nothing else can. They are a great way to support the color story of the space, and add texture as well. I recommend using water-likes similar to the one shown below, which is basically acrylic poured into the containers and then hardens as it dries. It's best to use high-end florals because they are better quality, and look more real.
3 - Trays
Trays are such a great addition to coffee table styling. They corral everything and keeps them looking organized and orderly. They are a great way to add some pattern or color to the space as well. Care should be taken of the size and scale of the tray compared to the size of coffee table. A square table works better with a round tray or square tray. You may need to add other elements to make up for the size if your tray is too small for the coffee table.
4 - Candles
Every room needs various forms of lighting, and candlelight is by far one of the most essential to add to a space where you want to turn up the romance factor. In this bedroom sitting area, we kept it pretty simple with a pair of brass candle holders with tall candles. Choose candle holders that make the statement you want in the room - whether simple elegance, or clean and sophisticated. I tend to always use either white or off-white candles versus color ones.
5 - Ginger Jars
Coffee tables don't have to be coffee tables at all. Cocktail ottomans are a great alternative for extra seating and a soft spot to rest your feet. This is when trays become essential, providing a solid surface to add accessories. Here we included a beautiful ginger jar, which I often use for its classic charm. Blue and white is such a timeless color combination, and seems to work with lots of different color palettes
6 - Boxes
This particular coffee table below seems to have all my must-haves. Boxes are always great for that well collected feel that I love for the spaces I design to have. Boxes are often the little things that someone could pickup on their travels, so they definitely enhance the "collected" and "storied" feel in a space. They are perfect for hiding things like the remote control or the lighter for candles. I usually sit a box on top of a stack of books to raise it up just a bit
7 - Something Exotic
Exotic things are things that are often unique, and definitely add to a collected feel in your home. They are great conversation pieces for when you have guests over. I recommend sourcing exotic or unusual pieces that speak to you. Some great sources can be found on Instagram and Etsy. Things like shells, crystals, ceremonial necklaces or beads, boxes, globes etc. Below, I used a vase full of African porcupine quills. I love the texture! The photo below that includes two horns, which I also love. They definitely say exotic and well-traveled.
When arranging your coffee table there are a few rules to keep in mind:
*Add height by bringing in one piece that is taller than everything else
*Vary the heights while keeping proportions in mind
*Step back to make sure it looks balanced and your eye can easily "travel" around the entire arrangement
*Group similar items
*Use the rule of odd numbers - arrange things in 3's and 5's. Your eye will read a tight grouping as 1 item so keep that in mind. For example, the horns in the above photo read as 1 item.
Have some fun with styling your coffee table. Try different arrangements to see what works for you. Display things you love. And if all else fails, reach out to us to book a styling session. Learn more about our styling session options HERE