Coffee Table Styling: a How-To that Actually Works!

For some years now, I’ve had a coffee table with random books and/or magazines, a lacquer tray of some kind, candles either encased in glass or in candle holders, and either sea glass or a shell. I don’t know at what point this formula become ingrained in me or where it came from, and then I came across this FABOO blog entry on how to style a coffee table and what are the elements needed to give it that magazine style chicness. Get this: Everything I had is on it!

Hi Sugarplum! How to Style a Coffee Table

(PLEASE spend some time looking around this site. It’s so great! Lots of tips and tricks and full of great ideas!)

After briefly patting myself on the back for being ahead of the game and picking up what makes coffee tables’ pop without being told, I tried out some of her combinations. I was able to perfectly achieve the one with the lantern and zebra tray (number four), however, lanterns are tall. Newsflash: If you lay on your couch and watch TV ever, or if you have a husband that likes to, you will be hard-pressed to keep that damn lantern on the table. Despite my best efforts, the lantern I have (with two smoothed limestone rocks stacked in it from our honeymoon) did not last on the table. We compromised and put that on our bar cart, which I will do a post on later. I think I was able to pull off the general look and vibe without the lantern.


Here’s what I did, based on Hi, Sugarplum’s GENIUS tips!


coffee table styling

  • I took the lacquer tray off the table (it’s quite large) and I replaced it with these two safari-inspired appetizer plates. They do the same thing as a tray would, but in less space. They’re basically there to house your smaller items. (ie. my little jar of sea glass, collected from our honeymoon and a jar of matches)
  • I LOVE using anything “natural” in decorating, and am constantly on the lookout for faux antlers, faux animal heads, driftwood, shells, and the like. I can’t get enough of it. Fortunately, we have a giant conch shell (that you can blow like a horn because of the hole on the end… Also from Jamaica. We were taught how to use it like a horn by a local fisherman.) That is my main piece of nature/life here.
  • Candles! Again, I have had pillar candles on candlesticks, but they block the view like the lantern, so I would advise against that, unless you’re not a TV-friendly house. This one is a yummy smelling lemongrass and it’s delish! Candles make everything warmer.
  • Remember: When you stack books, I must advise you to vary the height. It adds interest to the space.



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