Photo courtesy of @kellybehunstudio

Top 9 Ways to Style Small Coffee Tables

With our chic edit of vases, books, elegant stemware; and, exclusive tips and tricks from Nest Casa founder Sara Colombo herself, there’s no reason not to experiment with these top creative ideas to perfectly style small coffee tables.
Gretty Garcia May 11, 2020
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There are few things more aesthetically pleasing than an immaculately-styled coffee table. Regardless of the themes and finishing touches — which can run the gamut from fun, contemporary accouterments to endless stacks of books, beautifully-curated floral arrangements, and one-of-a-kind objets d’art — one thing is for certain: there are simple tips and tricks that can instantly transform a mashup of miscellaneous items to ultra-stylish, envy-worthy small coffee tables.  

Whether you add a bevy of candles, a dose of entertainment by way of accessible games, or keep things hyper-organized on a tray, our editors shed light on the art of styling small coffee tables. Keep scrolling for our chic edit of vases, coffee table books, elegant stemware, and more. Plus, get insight straight from Nest Casa founder Sara Colombo herself, who provides tips and tricks for the most perfectly-appointed small coffee table!

Stack Your Coffee Table Books

Go the chic, minimalist route and display a collection of top coffee table books for everyone from the style aficionado to the cigar savant. These can feel especially impactful if you have a vibrant coffee table, if your books are color-coded, or if they carry a specific theme.

Sara's Tip

Stacking is a great way to create some levels and verticality on your table.  I use coffee table books for this purpose and often place a favorite object or small tray on top to keep the clutter to a minimum.  Another way to do this is by placing one of your favorite books open on a book stand, art books or photography make wonderful centerpieces.

Add Stylish Vases for Floral Arrangements

Beautifully-arranged flowers have the innate ability to do everything from introduce a splash of color to your coffee table to add height and draw the eye up if they are long and elegant. Make sure these flowers are accompanied by equally stunning vases for added effect.

Sara's Tip

I adore fresh flowers — the simpler the arrangement the better for me — and a vessel or vase to show them is one of my absolute must-haves. I have learned over the years that choosing a vase that looks beautiful with or without flowers is important because I don’t always get around to the florist!

Make Your Space Snack-Friendly

The snack bowl just got a serious upgrade. A certifiable kid- and adult-friendly essential, these are able to be filled to the brim with endless options including color-coordinated M&M’s à la the Kardashians and an assortment of cashews, almonds, and other salty snacks. Regardless, our exclusive edit of options ensures that your stylish coffee table bowls look as good as the treats they hold!

Store Objects in a Multi-Functional Box

With remote controls, car keys, and a myriad of other objects that invariably end up on your coffee table, it’s easy for this space to get cluttered. Add a multi-functional box that doubly stands out on its own to help reduce clutter, and simultaneously add dimensionality and uniqueness to your tablescape.

Activate the Olfactory Senses

Scents have the innate ability to transport us to regions far and wide. In fact, it’s the first of the five senses to activate when we are born, and it filters into our consciousness in both subtle and profound ways. Add beautiful-looking and remarkably-smelling candles from the most renowned craftsmen and distinguished brands to your coffee table that instantly dovetail into all of the senses!

Sara's Tip

A lit candle is an essential. Something about the movement of the flame and warm light along with the scent enveloping the room gives life to your table.

Make It Fun With Game Sets

Who said coffee tables couldn’t mix business with pleasure? Use a chess set, backgammon game, or even a beautiful box of dominoes to add interest and instantly capture attention. Plus, the pieces themselves add a touch of vibrant hues and interesting shapes to the mix.

Introduce Objets D’art

If the idea of mixing an amalgam of decorative objects really isn’t your style, opt for one statement piece that reflects your personality. Eye-catching sculptural novelties or stunning marbled bookends are sometimes all that’s needed to complete a coffee table.

Keep Elegant Stemware on Hand

Decorate to your heart’s content by adding elegant stemware for wine, water, and anything else. A few eye-catching pieces can work wonders for a coffee table by bringing a pop of personality.

Organize With Versatile Trays

It’s a no-brainer that trays are a sure-fire way to stylishly organize a coffee table. Able to be used to serve food and drinks when needed and to store a bevy of always-at-hand objects, consider this curated edit of trays the ultimate clarion call of versatility and design.

Sara's Tip

Grouping is another way to create interesting compositions on your table.  This is used very often when visual merchandising, and is something I learned very early on when setting the floor at Nest Casa’s retail stores. My magic number is 3, although sometimes on a large surface, groups of 5 will be very impactful. Either way, grouping items of varying color, shape, and height makes a statement.

Gretty Garcia
Gretty Garcia handles features and special projects at Editorialist, and covers all things from exciting new releases to profiles on prolific figures across multiple industries. After studying at Harvard College, she began working at Editorialist and is now simultaneously pursuing her master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. When she’s not covering this season’s must-have accessories, she’s adding to her book collection or listening to culture podcasts.
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