As much as I’d like to think that my coffee table just naturally came together into beautiful stacks of books topped off with perfectly-sized accessories, the truth is: it’s an art. A well-styled coffee table requires a bit of thought and – most importantly – a great mix of accessories. Below, a few of personal tips and tricks for creating the perfect coffee table.

  1. Books make a great foundation. Since I collect books, this is always an starting point for me. I create stacks of my favorites (see: here, here, and here) with the largest tome on the bottom. (Tip: sometimes it’s a good idea to remove the jacket from the book. What’s underneath might be more visually appealing.) I find that stacks of two to four usually work best.
  2. Top off the book stacks with personal trinkets and various decorative objects like vases, a Diptyque candle, or nesting bowls. Not only does this add some much-needed height, but it also gives the table an overall more collected and interesting look. A few of my favorite decorative pieces I’ve purchased over the years include Aerin’s match striker, an acrylic candy bowl (I keep Hershey’s Kisses in in mine) rom AVF, and one of Sklo’s glass wrap objects.
  3. Trays are a secret weapon for turning clutter into something much more appealing. If the coffee table is where you keep your TV remotes, for example, then use a tray to corral them into organized line-up. I love the “Bedford Tray” from Serena & Lily. If you’re looking for an antique, Etsy is great source. (Check out this beautiful silver tray!)
  4. Don’t forget flowers. It’s the quickest way to perk up any space or tabletop. I always add a beautiful vase into my coffee table mix so I have a home for fresh flowers. If you choose to go big, you can find some great large-sized vases for great prices on One Kings Lane and Terrain. I also love the idea of opting for something smaller like this chic bud vase. Bonus: it’s under $25!

Below, a full shopping list with all my favorites for the coffee table.

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