How to Style a Coffee Table

Never underestimate the importance of the coffee table. Not only does it receive a lot of use, but it ties the other pieces in the room together. For that reason, it is often the center of attention once everyone is seated. Here at UpMarket,  we think coffee tables have an opportunity to be stylish.


What people do wrong:

  • They leave the table empty.

  • They load the table down with too much “stuff.”

Adding Style to the Coffee Table:

Our UpMarket in-store designers have a few tips on how to style your coffee table and pieces that we use to achieve the perfect look.

1. Use a tray as the base element.

A tray groups items so the table can be functional—not just beautiful.  It also comes in handy when the table must be quickly cleared for a family board game or snacks.  Instead of having many things scattered about the table, use a tray to group objects into a cohesive unit.  For example, in the store we have a Christmas scene of well over 10 items-- all contained in one, wicker tray. 

What could have appeared cluttered looks pulled together when styled inside the tray.

2. Tray Composition

Select a tray that compliments your coffee table’s color and composition.  For example, a dark wood coffee table should not have a dark-colored tray because it would just blend in.  We have trays made of wood, wicker, and lucite, to name a few, which come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors for contrast. 

3. How to Style a Tray

LAYER IT: Once the perfect tray has been selected, begin to layer the tray to make it interesting and unique.  The tray or container doesn’t have to be large. Here we used a turquoise tray that added the perfect, eye-catching color to which beads and antler brush were added for a spark of fun.

    CANDLES: Consider using Baobab candles in your design. They come in beautiful colors, and the vases are so stunning that you will have them to use as statement pieces long after the candles have burned down.

      Abstract accessories are great for layering and creating visual interest.  In the store now, we integrated a metallic texture with the use of a metal knot, adding dimension. 

        We tucked a rock crystal box into a design, giving off a natural element.

        We also love to use interesting figures, like the abstract giraffe head that currently graces a tray design.

        In a Lucite tray with a patterned bottom, we layered abstract items for texture and dimension.

        In the background, we’ve placed a Baobab candle that compliments the color scheme and a faux floral. To add height to your tray design, use other items such as bowls, coasters, candlesticks, coffee table books, beads on trays, and picture frames.  


        Grouping Items Without a Tray: Even if a tray is not used, be sure to select one item to “anchor” the rest of the décor. An example is the use of a coffee table book layered with bone bowls and an abstract vase to create a cohesive look.


        Did you know we will help you create a one-of-a-kind styling by coming right to your home? We bring items from the store that we feel might work, and then you get to choose, right there, what will stay! Many of our clients love this service because it takes the guess work out of creating a beautiful design for their home. Give us a call and we can help you style any area of your house.

          | 210.698.7774