If you’re here from the Glitter Guide tour, welcome to my home on the web! You can find out more about me here, my work as a design coach here, and catch me posting affordable finds over Instagram.
One area that causes a lot of confusion for my clients is decorating a coffee table. “How much is too much?” is a question I’m asked a lot.
This is especially challenging if you have a round coffee table.
Somehow arranging things on a circular surface instead of a rectangular one can seem like you’re trying to do a 1,000 piece puzzle while highly sedated. Yeah, that bad.
After trying dozens of combinations, I’ve come up with a few “decor formulas” for solving this problem. Today I’m going to show you how to style a coffee table three different ways, and break it down so it’s completely fail-proof to imitate.
OK, my behemoth of a round ottoman may not be the most dainty thing on the planet, but let me tell you I love it. Basically, it’s a toddler crash pad that happens to hold a ton of stuff inside and some pretties on top. I shared last week how our formal living room is my mommy-needs-a-grown-up-retreat-so-plastic-toys-see-your-way-out zone.
I’ve pretty much set this room up to be safe but completely boring for a toddler. Then at 8:30pm, it becomes my unwind with wine and magazines room. And all the mamas said, “Amen”.
THREE WAYS TO STYLE A ROUND COFFEE TABLE
#1 BOTANICALS & BOOKS
What You Need:
-A plant(s) for the center to add height
-Coffee table books in varying sizes
-A pretty paper weight
Why It Works:
This is for the people who totally dig symmetry. Because of the three book stacks, it looks balanced from all angles. It’s a no-frills approach to decor that leaves room open to hold drinks or even small plates. It shows off those pretty books, and is great if you prefer not to have too many small objects laying around.
#2 ROUND TRAY + BOOKS + DECOR
What You Need:
-Large round tray that covers at least 1/2 of the table surface
-Two medium sized books
-A metallic or glass tray
-Small ceramic or sculptural piece
Why It Works:
Because of the repeating circles, this feels like a cohesive collection even though there is a lot going on. It creates a nice vignette that offers both organic and geometric shapes. It’s perfect if you need to quickly clear your coffee table, as you can conveniently lift everything off at once.
#3 RECTANGLE TRAY + BOOKS + DECOR
What You Need:
-Candle sticks for height
-Small floral arrangement
-Variety of coffee table books
-Colorful ceramic vase
Why It Works:
Of the three looks, this feels the most feminine and eclectic. The tray keeps smaller items grounded, so they don’t look too cluttered. This set up is nice if you frequently like to change your decor because the tray can constantly be rearranged and updated seasonally.
FAKE PLASTIC TREES
Confession time…all the plants used in this post are 100% artificial. Here’s the thing about real plants…I love them, but they hate me back. I do have a couple real houseplants and one massive fiddle leaf fig (don’t ask me how), but I also have fake succulents in almost every room. Fresh blooms are gorgeous, but who besides Martha Stewart can spend $25 a week on fresh cut flowers?
The white faux croc tray was one of my favorite TJ Maxx finds last year. It was under $20, and has been used in three rooms already. Obviously, I like to change things up a lot, so style #3 is my go-to arrangement.
Which look do you prefer, and why do you like it?
Barbara (WA) says
This is of interest to me because I am considering this very coffee table. We now have baby grandchildren that I don’t want to fall against a sharp edged wood table but that also means having to remove any decor easily. So I like the round tray idea – swoop it up out of the way when the grands are on the way!
I think you’ll like it if you end up buying it. It’s nice and sturdy with good storage. I will say that I thought it would be a true black, but it’s more of an espresso color. Yes, the round tray is for “swooping”!!
Beth of designPOST interiors says
I am using a round coffee tbale in my living room now so I am so glad you posted this! I need some fresh ideas!
That’s right-you do have a round table! Can’t wait to see what you end up doing with it.
These are great tips! I love all the options! Our ottoma holds throw blankets and board games do we need easy access. I personally use a gold tray stacked with magazines, a magnifying glass and a decorative paper weight.
Gold tray + magnifying glass = gorgeous!! Sounds like you’ve got a great setup going on. Thanks for stopping by Robin:)
I have the leafy green (from Target!). It’s gorgeous anywhere around the house. I think my favorite is the dish!
I agree about that leafy green! It doesn’t look too fake (my litmus test for bringing home a plastic plant.)
i can’t believe those plants are fake! so great. i love all your idea…makes me wish i had a round coffee table to style!
They are the most “real” fake plants I’ve ever had:) Honestly, I like the look of rectangle or square coffee tables better, but I’ll gladly use my round one through the toddler years.
Hi I have bought coffee brown seats that am wondering what colours to put on the wall to complement. Could you advice
May be if I could post colours of my current living room and the new seats that I intend to change for advice. Thanks
I have a round glass table with an espresso wrought iron base. It was purchased from Pier 1 about 12 years ago. I still love the table, but sometimes find the glass and round combo a challenge to style. Love the idea of using books. Thank you.
Paula Diekhoff says
where did you get the round off-white platter (example #2); it is exactly what I’ve been looking for!
Heather Freeman says
I found it at Home Goods ages ago…Sorry I don’t have an up to date source!
Lisa B. says
Oh my gosh, this is so helpful. Like you l, I have a round tufted ottoman that I adore. Styling it has always been so frustrating for me. Now I know exactly what to try. I even have the same croc tray in black. A million thanks.
ankur sharma says