Three Ways to Style a Coffee Table
Regardless of how you approach it, the coffee table is a styling stalwart.
A well-styled coffee table can pull a room together—
—but it can be hard to know where to start when first approaching your coffee table decor. Not only are there countless ways to style a coffee table, but there are so many different sizes and shapes of coffee tables, each striking a different magic balance between its shape and the things that are on top of it. When it comes to coffee table styling, it’s all about starting with a theme, and the theme can be “mish-mash.” We went back through the Studio McGee photo archives to identify three coffee table styling themes—the coffee table as a bookcase, the coffee table as a curiosity cabinet, and the coffee table as a game room—and brought them here to get the styling inspiration juices flowing. Here are three of our favorite coffee table styling moments.
Look No. 01 | The Coffee Table as the Bookcase
Letting your coffee table styling double as a bookcase is a tried and true styling theme. In past Studio McGee projects and McGee & Co. collection shoots, Shea and the design team have approached the coffee table first and foremost through books, then layered in other elements to finish the design. We love the look of three or four stacked piles of books, letting the color of their binds and their covers be just as much part of the design as the coffee table itself. In interior design, 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 instead of immediately turning to a device (we’re all guilty of it!). They also communicate a lot about the people who inhabit the house—what their hobbies are, where they love to travel, and what their design aesthetic is. Stack your books in various heights to create some visual interest across your coffee table styling. It also creates a nice landing place to layer in other decorative items—curiosity pieces, floral arrangements, candles, and catch-all bowls for remotes.
Look No. 02 | The Coffee Table as the Curiosity Cabinet
Decorative objects are a great way to add some visual interest to your coffee table, they often are both tactile as well as pleasing to the eye. Something beautiful but functional, like a door stopper, paperweight, or even a pretty deck of cards, will do the trick. These items are meant to be picked up, turned over, and touched. We love the idea of having a textural, tactile moment on display as part of your coffee table styling. You can also implement not-so-touchable curiosities, like a glass box full of a feather collection, a bowl of dried petals from a special occasion, or a succulent garden in a beautiful terrarium. These coffee table styling elements are sure to strike up a conversation and establish your home as a well-traveled, cultured one, thus relaying the same message about those that live within it.
Look No. 03 | The Coffee Table as the Game Room
We love the idea of giving your family and your guests a reason to engage around the coffee table. Incorporating games into your coffee table styling is a great way to do that, or at least present the option. In a past Studio McGee project, Mountainside Retreat, Shea and the design team styled the coffee table with a beautiful marble chess set. And in a shoot for McGee & Co., a stunning Baswara marble and Italian brown marble tic-tac-toe board dressed up the coffee table styling with some beautiful veining.