The Goods

How to style your coffee table, no matter the shape

Steven Sabados shares how to keep this classic fixture from looking like a jumble of accessories.

Steven Sabados shares how to keep this classic fixture from looking like a jumble of accessories.

Decor blogs and magazines often feature the most covetable coffee tables, and it's usually the styling that makes them stand out. And since coffee tables are bound to take up precious decor space in your room, they might as well be used to showcase your nick nacks. Like many of us, you may have all the decor accents, but are struggling to keep your tabletop looking like a random mess. Thankfully, Steven Sabados shared his tips for styling three different types of coffee tables into gorgeously curated fixtures.

Square coffee table  

When arranging a square coffee table, think of the table space in quadrants and divide the coffee table into four. With a two-tiered solid shelf, the bottom shelf can handle more weight and be used for storage. Treat the table as though it is 360 degrees of display space, meaning the spines of the books should face outwards in 4 all directions. Top the books with accessories, but keep them balanced diagonally. This means a single object should be across from a single object and multiple objects can be balanced with more objects or a large floral arrangement, as pictured below.

Anchor the bottom of the table with a contrasting tray to keep storage boxes contained. And always keep bottom shelf items solid so they don't compete with what is happening on the top shelf.

Oval coffee table

Opposites are key when styling an oval coffee table — colour, shape and shine should balance out diagonally from the top to the bottom shelf. Let the style of your coffee table dictate the style of the accessories. This table has more transitional and traditional lines so the accessories are more classic.

Glass coffee tables are always a bit of a challenge, especially if they have a second shelf. Aim to keep your tallest items closer to the centre and then work outwards with accessories on the top shelf of the table. The top should be the most interesting and showcase your favourite design elements whereas the bottom shelf should be less weighty. For your second shelf, opt for items that are similar in shape and finish, but half the scale.

Nesting coffee table

Steven's biggest tip when you're dealing with a nesting table set is to only decorate the main table. The nesting portion should be left clean unless you have guests over and need a spot for drinks.

Follow a triangle rule if your table is an odd shape or has multiple levels. This means you should put the tallest item in the centre and work out to three points from there — this approach works great with unconventionally shaped coffee tables.

Resource Guide

Square coffee table

Ikea

Steven Sabados

HomeSense

  • Books 

Oval coffee table

Ikea

Steven Sabados

HomeSense

  • Crystal ball
  • Candle lantern
  • Crystal vases
  • Geode rock

Indigo

Nesting coffee table

Ikea

CB2

West Elm

HomeSense

  • Books
  • Feather
  • Marble coaster

Indigo

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