Styling a coffee table three ways

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Coffee tables tend to be rather simple, there’s not much more to them than a certain shape at a certain height, so you can really go to town on the accessories in order bring the room together for a unified look. The place where you can be really daring is the rug you use beneath the coffee table. A brightly coloured rug or a strong pattern will draw the eye to the centre of the room and towards your beautifully styled coffee table. I found my retro-inspired rug in the rug category at Habitat and used the grey and yellow colours as the starting point for my coffee table creations. I decided to create three looks for my nest of coffee tables for three different occasions; work, a cuppa with friends and a romantic evening.coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-7 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-11 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-3The first look is my relaxed working coffee table. It’s for those Saturday mornings where I want to get ahead with my work, check a few emails and make some plans for the coming week. So I’ve got out my laptop, planner, stationary and styled up the coffee table with this useful wood veneer tray and metal pen pot in yellow (both from Habitat) to keep everything neat. I need everything to hand if I’m going to be productive – I can’t stand settling down to work and then realising that I need to get up again for a calculator or notepad. I’ve also included a ‘working breakfast’ on my coffee table, with a cool glass of fresh orange juice and a big bowl of fruit. I used a clear acrylic box from Habitat to display my fruit because I’m more likely to eat it if I can see it!coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-10 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-8coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-16 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-9 The second look is a casual cuppa with a friend. Of course I needed a couple of funky mugs to serve up my tea and coffee so I picked out a couple that coordinate with my retro serving tray from Habitat. I added homemade biscuits and custard creams on my grey ceramic tray (originally a bathroom tray!) that matches my small milk jug perfectly. I wanted to include fresh flowers in this look to make the occasion feel a little more special so I picked some hydrangea heads from the bush in my garden and arranged them in a clear glass storage pot. coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-13 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-15 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-17coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-12The final look is for a romantic evening in with a film. It’s mainly styled for serving up food and drinks so I picked out my favourite retro wine glasses with copper films that sparkle in the candle light. I dished up nachos and popcorn for evening snacking in my oven-proof bowls with funky hand-painted patterns. To protect the coffee table I put down a gold placemat. In order to create a romantic atmosphere I dotted around some tealights in sparkling gold holders. coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-2 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-4 coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-3

Here are my tips for styling a coffee table:

  1. Go low – bouquets of beautiful flowers should be cut down to a posy size and displayed in an equally diminutive, low vase or jar. The lower height means that you’re not ‘displaying’ a bunch of flowers that you got for your birthday, as we tend to do with bigger bouquets on the mantlepiece or sideboard, you’re simply enjoying the colour and scent of fresh flowers in the room without them being over-powering or the main focal point.
  2. The rule of threes – I’ve noticed that coffee tables are a great place for showing off collections or your favourite items, but always group them in threes. This creates a unified, curated collection rather than just another pile of clutter on your coffee table. Heck, I’ve even got three tables!
  3. Books. This is the fun part – pick out your favourite texts, glossy magazines and classy books that you haven’t got round to reading yet and stack them up. Bonus points if they match your colour scheme and are interesting design-related tomes.
  4. Night time – Consider how your coffee table will look in the evening, as this is when you’ll most often be viewing it. Include some candles to create ambience and choose metallic or glass to reflect the soft candlelight.coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-14coffee table styling for work tea and romantic evening-5

What do you think of my attempt at styling up my coffee table for different occasions? What would occasions would you use your coffee table for? Let me know by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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