How to Decorate a Coffee Table
So back when Shad and I were in the "planning" process of buying a home, I use to "clip" out magazine pictures from Pottery Barn and other home magazines I received and I would put them in my "One Day" book.
I called it this because during the saving process, I would always tell Shad, don't worry "one day" we're going to have a beautiful home with everything we dreamed of. Think of it like a more involved "pinterest" before pinterest became popular. Most of this was usually done on snow days--- I tried to compile all different ideas for our "One Day" home- because I knew when we actually purchased that home, picking paint colors, furniture, and ideas would be too overwhelming at the start.
So anyways.. what I began to notice from "clipping" magazines when it came to "coffee table" decor, is that most coffee tables out of Pottery Barn and Ballard magazines had similar looks to them with different items.
For example: When searching the internet I came across these four different decorated coffee tables.
Now what's the same about all of them?
The formula: A Tray, Flowers/greenery of some sort, something tall, interesting objects, books, and something "appealing to the eye.
1. Start with a Tray: Make sure you measure the top of your coffee table before ordering a tray online or going to a store to shop for a tray. You don't want the tray to be too small, but you also don't want it to take up the table. If you have a wood table, consider getting a tray in a different color all together like blue or grey, or going with a metal tray instead (for example: white coffee tables shouldn't have white trays). Homegoods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's have great trays between $15-$30. Mine is from Homegoods, and while it is also wood- I thought it was perfect because the black accents match the other black metal on my table.
2. Tray Essentials: This is the place where you will hold all of your remote controls. It's a good idea to get coasters, so when guests are in your living room, they take the hint that you want their drinks on coasters. Some people put candles in their trays- I feel that's more for sitting rooms rather than living rooms. I have one on the coffee table in my sitting room. Magazines are also the perfect "decor" item for this space. My "something appealing to the eye" object is inside the tray. See below.
3. Something appealing to the eye: In my case I chose a magnifying glass, because I thought it was cool looking and it was only $6.99 at Marshall's. (BTW- Marshalls is the best spot for "something appealing to the eye", they have a lot of random objects for pretty cheap.) Can't figure out if it's eye-catching? Let a child in your home, it's the first thing they'll touch (I'm not kidding). Examples of other eye-catching pieces: hour glass, a metal decor object, a piece of fake coral...
4. Greenery or flowers of some sort: This can be done so inexpensively. Not creative? Homegoods sells flowers in glasses already anywhere from $25-$50. That's more than I wanted to spend, so I went to Hobby Lobby (try Michaels too), when they had a sale and got these hydrangeas to match my yellow pillow accent color for 50% a stem. I love hydrangeas or peony flowers. The best part about fake stems is you can't kill them. Hobby Lobby has the best real-looking- fake-"greenery"- if you want to go that route instead of flowers. I change my flowers for Christmas to reflect my Christmas decorations. The round vase on my table was given to me as a wedding gift- it's Lenox, and probably the most expensive thing in my house (because I'd never spend that on a vase- thanks Aunt Donna!).
5. Something tall- I love the idea of "something tall" but just not for my living room. We want to see the TV and "something tall" obstructs our view. "Something tall" is better suited in a sitting room that isn't used as often (See example of wooden horse in photo up top). So for my coffee table instead- my "something tall...er" is my greenery/flowers from #4. If your going this route, make sure it's taller than the tray, but not too tall to block the TV.
6. Interesting Objects: In the case of my coffee table I have a bottom part that can be decorated. I decorated it with these round spheres I got from Homegoods for $7.99 and $9.99 each. If you have children- you may want to get something that can't "roll" (they have awesome spheres that don't roll at Hobby Lobby that I bought for a client's coffee table who had children). Or you may want to forgo the idea all together until your kids are older. A basket can be put underneath the table instead and you can hide toys in this for when people visit. Throw a blanket over top of the toys and no one can see your clutter.
7. Stacks of Books: These can go on top of your table next to a smaller tray, or if you have a shelf underneath you can stack them there. I like to stack books all to one side like "left or right" alignment in a word document. You can also stack them "centered" It's a matter of preference.