Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thoughts on decorating coffee tables

Now you may be surprised  to discover that some people  (especially decorators) put a lot of thought into turning a coffee table into a work of art!

   I frequently admire the sometimes over the top arrangements (vignettes or tablescapes to decorators) found in many decorating magazines and online portfolios, but they rarely seem practical to me.  First and foremost, a coffee table is a functional item that provides a place to lay  drinks, nibbles etc., but  I do agree that it is a flat expansive surface that calls out for some adornment.   How far you want to go with this adornment is up to you. 

Thoughts on decorating coffee tables Designing Home
Margaret Ryall

This is the most I have ever had on a coffee table and there was still lots of room for drinks and cheese. My ceramic  bird finds various homes around the house. You never know where he  might pop up.  Books are always great props if you don't go overboard. They provide  height, colour and text as design elements.  

Everyone should have one great bowl .  Mine is from IKEA and it can always be found on my coffee table. Sometimes it has a vase of flowers added, 

 or Christmas ornaments  or gourds,  ... you get the idea.  So a great looking bowl of some sort is a very practical solution that you can keep changing.  I like silver  and low because everything looks great with it. 

Here are some other great bowls....

Ceramic vases especially white ones are also great additions for every decor.  I particularly like small ginger jars or fret work jars. 

Mixing metals is very in right now and having a gold or copper bowl really warms up a space.  When you have a large coffee table you need an equally large bowl to keep the scale working. This is a very  "masculine" look.  Consider small globes, gears, wooden sculpture, carved boxes, magnifying glass, etc. for masculine additions.

 The ultimate bowl coffee table combination :) from Phillips Collection.


Margaret Ryall 

is the versatile tray.   When you arrange objects in a tray and you want more space you simply lift it off the table.  This is a very simple fall arrangement on my coffee table/bench in  my family room.  Note Mr. Bird has moved rooms. The paper bag ceramic vase in grayish white is another of my staples.  It gets filled with all kinds of things from twigs to candles.

Three candle holders of varying heights are very versatile for  your decorating needs. You can change the colour of the candles for seasonal events. Natural elements like coral and flowers always add texture and a little of the outside world.  Think about starfish, shells, ferns, twigs, grasses, natural complements to glass and ceramic. Heights and textures add interest and move the eye around.

Very simple and effective selection of objects in white and black. I like the fact the tray is wood which instantly warms up the collection.  A sphere of some sort is also a versatile object to own.  One with texture is even better.

And don't forget plants...

...with a little sculpture thrown in.  I have been looking for something sculptural to add to my small collection, but nothing has appeared yet.

Hope you found some ideas for your space.....


  1. very nice and interesting designs!
    loving everything, great!

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    Visit Modern Living
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    Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi
    Right now my table has a bunch of candles wrapped in burlap and lace. Those are sitting in a round tray. I also have moose antler that I found under my moms patio. Cheers


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