How to Style Square or Rectangular Coffee Table
09/22 Styling Guides

How to Style Square or Rectangular Coffee Table

A go-to coffee table recipe

A well-styled coffee table can pull a room together like nothing else… 

but it can be hard to know where to start. Not only are there countless ways to style a coffee table, but there are so many different sizes and shapes of coffee tables, each permitting a different magic balance. 

When it comes to styling a square or rectangular coffee table, it’s all about starting with the basics.  

Here are our favorite tips for styling a square or rectangular coffee table:  

Explore our 2021 Fall Collection at McGee & Co

No. 1: Set the foundation  

Creating a base to build off is important when designing anything, but especially when styling a coffee table. One of the easiest ways to start is with a tray. Not only do trays bring the perfect focal point or base, but they are great for corralling everything that ends up there, whether that’s a candle and coasters or a stray remote.  

From The Sunset House

Grounding & dimensional styling trays

A base perfect for corralling everyday objects.
Explore more trays
McGee & Co
Rounded Rattan Tray
McGee & Co
Cordova Tray
McGee & Co
Carved Paulownia & Leather Tray
McGee & Co
Leather Crafted Tray
McGee & Co
Genuine Leather Tray
McGee & Co
Seagrass Catch-All Basket
McGee & Co
Woven Seagrass Table Tray
McGee & Co
Natural Grass Woven Tray
McGee & Co
Paper Mache Round Tray
McGee & Co
Paulownia Wood Tray
McGee & Co
Vintage Wooden Oval Tray

No. 2: Add books 

Next, you want to build off the look with more sustains all pieces.  

Coffee table books have more purposes than we can count. They are beautiful, they are conversation starters, and they may even encourage you to slow down and flip through some inspirational pages. We love stacking books to create a bit of height or a landing place for other decorative items. 

From our Rye New York Project

Our favorite coffee-table books

Add personality and sophistication to your coffee table.
Shop our favorite coffee table books
McGee & Co
Houses: Atelier AM
McGee & Co
Architectural Digest at 100
McGee & Co
Down To Earth
McGee & Co
Georgia O'Keeffe: Watercolors
McGee & Co
Cy Twombly: Making Past Present
McGee & Co
Monet: Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
McGee & Co
Pacific Natural
McGee & Co
Great Escapes Europe
McGee & Co
Sailing the Seas
McGee & Co
Great Escapes Italy
McGee & Co
Restoration House
McGee & Co
Surf Shacks Vol. 2
McGee & Co
From The Land

No. 3: Add in levels  

Whether your coffee table is big or small, it’s always a good idea to have some varying levels to bring interest. Playing with height doesn’t have to mean tall breakable vases or florals you can’t see the TV over. In some cases, we use a few stacked boxes for form and functionality. Bonus: boxes make for great storage to store those random things that always seem to end up here.   

From our AZ Homestead Project

Decorative boxes we love

Bring more levels of height to the look with stacked decorative boxes.
Shop more boxes
McGee & Co
Natural Cane Box
McGee & Co
Rectangle Brass Boxes
McGee & Co
Wilmot Boxes
McGee & Co
Broken Stripe Box
McGee & Co
Woven Cane Tuscan Box
McGee & Co
Crossed Bone Box
McGee & Co
Rattan & Glass Box
McGee & Co
Travertine Striped Box
McGee & Co
Grid Patterned Box
McGee & Co
Wood & Brass Box
McGee & Co
Plateau Lid Box
McGee & Co
Hexagon Patterned Box
McGee & Co
Lidded Natural Wood Container
McGee & Co
Natural Woven Baskets (Set of 3)
McGee & Co
Burl Box
McGee & Co
Grid Bone Box

No. 4: Layer in decorative objects 

Decorative objects are the best way to add some interest to your coffee table, but you don’t have to use a fragile sculptural piece to implement this tip in your space. Something beautiful but functional like a door stopper, paperweight, or even a pretty deck of cards will do the trick.  

From The Cliffside Netflix Remodel

How to Style Square or Rectangular Coffee Table
How to Style Square or Rectangular Coffee Table

From our Beckham Project

Objects of interest

Elevate your coffee table with a decorative object.
More decorative objects
McGee & Co
Wooden Chain Links
McGee & Co
Charcoal Soapstone Link
McGee & Co
Aluminum Crosshatch Object
McGee & Co
Aged Brass Bells (Set of 3)
McGee & Co
Duo Marble Stone Links
McGee & Co
Industrial Weave Object
McGee & Co
Gold Loop Object
McGee & Co
Bucharest Iron Bells
McGee & Co
Knotted Marble Object
McGee & Co
Faceted Bone Beads
McGee & Co
Iron Cubed Object
McGee & Co
Round & Square Wooden Links
McGee & Co
Jute & Wood Garland
McGee & Co
Curved Aluminum Interlude Object
McGee & Co
Intercept Sculpture
McGee & Co
Linked Wood Object
McGee & Co
Brass Anchor Paperweight
McGee & Co
Stone & Iron Door Stop
McGee & Co
Gilded Knot Object

No. 5: Add a pretty candle  

The key to making your living room feel instantly cozy? Light a candle! We love layering in designer candles to bring an elevated touch to the space, ignite all the senses, and create an experience.  

Explore more of our 2021 Fall Collection here.

Candles that steal the show

Ignite the senses and create an experience.
Shop designer candles
McGee & Co
Palo Santo & Oakmoss Candle
McGee & Co
Neroli & Vetiver Candle
McGee & Co
Freesia & Pear Candle
McGee & Co
Sandalwood + Fleur Candle
McGee & Co
Citrus + Birch Candle
McGee & Co
Salt + Sea Candle
McGee & Co
Voyage et Cie 3-Wick Candle
McGee & Co
Maison Louis Marie Candle
McGee & Co
Maison Louis Marie Candle
McGee & Co
Maison Louis Marie Candle

For tips on styling a circle coffee table, check out our post here.

Watch our video below for a visual guide to how we styled the coffee table in our Pine Brook Project 

Video
Play
Show Comments
5 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. At which project was this filmed? I’d love to save the living room photos to my idea board for our next home. Thanks!

  2. Looks lovely! I’m curious — where do you keep the books (of which there are several — Bible, devotional, my book, my husband’s book, my journal) that you use regularly? I have them on the coffee table and it isn’t attractive.

    1. You could store them in a large box, stacked or alone! We tend to keep journals upstairs in our nightstands!

  3. Any thoughts on wood coffee tables and how the decor should coordinate? For example, if I have a wood coffee table, is a wooden tray a no-no? I noticed that you went with a leather tray in this example.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading Next Post...