Coffee Table Decor Ideas That Add Interest + Style

A list of coffee table decor ideas that you can mix and match to get your own signature look, and to inject a breath of fresh air into your space!

dough bowl coffee table decor

Coffee tables come in all sizes and many shapes. Whether it’s a hard surface, or something soft like a large ottoman, styling your coffee table should be fun, and it should reflect your own personal taste. A coffee table placed in front of a sofa is the centerpiece of any living room, so it’s the perfect place to display your favorite things. Find below a list of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing, and then some easy ways to incorporate your ideas into your home’s decor.

dough bowl with eucalyptus on coffee table

Before we go any further, I want to remind you that what follows is simply a collection of ideas. There is absolutely no right or wrong way to style your coffee table. Follow your instincts. Showcase accents that speak to you, items that reflect your family’s interests, and most importantly, treasures that reflect your own personal style.

I love neutral decor, so that’s what I generally use on our round coffee table…with, of course, touches of blue. If you have a bright and bold color scheme, definitely incorporate that into your coffee table decor. What you are going for is this: when someone walks into the room, they should be able to figure out your style and color palette just by looking at your coffee table!


If you are shopping for a new coffee table, consider getting one with two tiers. That lower level doubles your surface space and can be used as storage, or to display more of your treasures.

How can I decorate a coffee table?

Any of these items, or a combination of, can be used as the focal point of your coffee table.

  • Bouquet of fresh flowers
  • Baskets
  • Trays
  • Bowls
  • Pots & urns
  • Lanterns
  • Candles + Candleholders
  • Faux flowers or greenery
  • Stack of books
  • Designer storage boxes (to hide clutter like coasters, remote controls, etc.)
  • Cake plate with pedestal
  • Sculptures
  • Planters with faux or real plants
  • Dough bowl
  • Wood bead garland
coffee table decor lantern books small pitcher

Layer with Trays

The versatility of trays is amazing, and they make coffee table styling so easy. There is no hard and fast rule in regards to what size or shape should be used. It’s fine to use a round tray on a round table…and it’s equally OK to use a square or rectangular tray. 

Trays are your most important layering tool. Begin by placing a tray on your coffee table. Whatever you add next will take on a cohesive and stylish vibe because the tray gathers everything together. Stack items on one another, and make sure to vary the heights.

lantern books and pitcher on tray coffee table decor

Beautiful Coffee Table Books

Coffee tables and books go hand-in-hand. There have been a few times in my life when I bought a book simply because I liked the cover. Books with beautiful covers bring personality and uniqueness to a coffee table…so gather your prettiest books, or ones that have a special meaning, and start stacking. Gardening books, decor books, or books about flowers, are perfect for this!

coffee table decor tray with lantern books

Lovely Lanterns

Think outside the box when it comes to lanterns. Of course candles are wonderful, but a candle isn’t the only thing that looks good in a lantern. A small nest filled with eggs, a pot with fresh or faux greenery, moss balls in varied sizes, scented potpourri, pine cones, or yarn balls are just a few suggestions for ways to add interest to a lantern. See how to make the cute Mod Podge terra cotta pot {HERE.}

pitcher and bowl coffee table decor

Bowls + Baskets

Bowls and baskets can be used for layering, just like trays, but they add an interesting shape and texture. A large, neutral bowl can be used literally anywhere in your decor, but it’s an exceptional tool for styling a coffee table. Fill it with greenery, or place a pitcher in it for a classic Farmhouse look.

I’ve had the bowl pictured above for at least 20 years, maybe longer. It was a birthday gift from a friend, and it’s one of my most treasured decor accessories. It moves around our home, but more often than not, it resides on our coffee table.

When it comes to layering, baskets do the same thing as bowls, but their super power is adding texture. If you have a dark coffee table, consider using a light colored basket for contrast. Layer unexpected things, and try to include something tall.

pitcher and bowl with roses

Fresh + Faux Natural Elements

The best way to take your coffee table decor to the next level is to include any kind of fresh or faux natural elements in a lovely vessel. My first choice is always fresh flowers, but I also love to use faux flowers and greenery or a combination of both. Something green, whether fresh or faux, adds life to your coffee table decor that can’t be obtained in any other way.

coffee table decor lantern books mod podge pot

Natural elements are also a great way to bring in something seasonal. Apple blossoms in the spring, peonies in the summer, sunflowers in the fall, pine cones or fresh pine for Christmas. The image below shows the coffee table at our house on Sutton Place, when my peonies were in full bloom. It was very simple to do, and of all the pictures I have taken over the years, this is one of my favorites.

pitcher of peonies on coffee table

Use Odd Numbers + Vary Heights

Here is where the rule of 3 comes in handy. Using odd numbers adds interest, and allows your decorative objects to stand out without looking matched. Varying the height of your items does the same thing. A taller item will balance out the lower items, resulting in a cohesive coffee table vignette.

Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee table height should range from 16 to 18 inches, or slightly lower (no more than an inch or two) than your sofa cushions.

Your coffee table should be approximately 18 inches from your sofa. You should be able to easily reach items on the coffee table while sitting on the sofa.

This question is hotly debated online. An easy starting point is to find a coffee table that is 2/3 the size of your sofa. In other words, take the width of your sofa and divide by three. Take that number and multiply by 2. With this measurement, your coffee table should sit nicely in front of your sofa with ample room on each end.

Click the links below to be taken directly to the product listing. Every effort has been made to provide sources for the items found in this post. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.

*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

coffee table | matching side table | dough bowl | faux eucalyptus | wood tray (similar) | lantern | mod podge pot | neutral pitcher 1 | neutral pitcher 2 | neutral pitcher 3 | large neutral bowls | rectangle hyacinth tray | round wicker tray (similar)


Now that you are equipped with ideas and inspiration, have fun styling your coffee table! If it’s not exactly what you had in mind the first time around, be patient. When I feel the need for a coffee table change, it often takes several days to get the right combination. Just keep editing, adding, and arranging. Be brave and try something new, and have faith. You will get there!

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  1. Gail Martin says:

    Ann, I was pleased you mentioned a plate wall. What method do you use to hang yours? I saw on Amazon that they used an adhesive backed kind and then also the usual metal plate holder.

  2. The coffee table perplexed me for years until I finally found the perfect tray! I love all you ideas about how to decorate the table.. I’ve got a small lantern shaped glass box that will look perfect. I had the box for years and never thought to use it on the table! As soon as I clear the Christmas decor, I will definitely move it to the table with some faux greenery! Happy New Year!

  3. Sue Patterson says:

    I love your living room decor and your furniture too! Forgive me if someone already asked this but I would love to know where you purchased your sofa?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sue…our sofa was purchased several years ago from a local furniture store that has since closed. I don’t think the brand is being made anymore. I wish I could be more helpful!

  4. Love your style and love your rug@ Where can I find it?

  5. Your favorite picture of the peonies is a stunner! I have to say, your photography and the way you use variety is above all.

  6. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, I always look forward to your posts! I love the look of your coffee table with the lantern, the plant inside it, the lovely blue books and the vase with greens in it! So pretty! I’m going to work on our coffee table tomorrow and make a few changes! Thanks, Ann, for always giving us so many wonderful ideas!

  7. Hi Ann, I never bought flowers for myself until reading about how you do that. And you’re so right, it adds beauty and joy to your life. I try to place them where I’ll see them often. They really do lift your spirits! Thanks for the great suggestion. Hope you’re enjoying your lovely new home.

  8. Be sure if anyone uses a nest and eggs that it is “faux”. It is illegal to use real bird nests and eggs, believe it or not. I too love using trays. Nice post

  9. Jacqueline Moncrief says:

    I’ve been looking for inspiration after putting Christmas decor away. Thank you!

  10. Such a great post. Everything that you do is amazing.

  11. I need color, Ann. I’ve been a follower for many years, but your change to all neutrals over the past few years just doesn’t speak to me. I LOVE vibrant, rich color. It really hit home yesterday when I went to one of your favorite shops and I didn’t see anything but white, tan, etc. So, it’s time to part ways.

      1. Ann,

        The two tiered coffee table that wood and metal in the first photo…..any idea who makes that ?
        Looking for a new round table with those accents.


  12. My coffee table used to be decorated with a stack of current magazines, a wooden box to hold remotes ect and a small basket for coasters. Maybe a bouquet of flowers depending on the time of year. Since reading great blogs like yours I have leaned so much and I now always use a large tray to hold a seasonal vignette and a glass cloche with a faux candle to add some light and interest. Still use my box for remotes and the little coaster basket but my table looks so much better. Thankyou for sharing. Your new home is just lovely.