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This is the Way You Should be Styling Your Coffee Table

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Your coffee table serves a lot of functions in your living room. It's a place to rest your feet, set a book or magazine you're reading, put your favorite tiny decorations, and if there's still room, that vanilla latte you just whipped up.

It's more than just a piece of furniture, it's a canvas for you to express yourself, a little world of your room or even your whole house. When guests come to your house, they'll pay close attention to your coffee table. What kind of story are you telling them?

Here are a few ideas to style your living room coffee table. Let's start with the table. The coffee table itself needs to be the right size for the room. Coffee tables are generally low to the ground and are usually square or rectangular, although they can be round and triangular coffee tables as well. The design of your coffee table should not only fit in your room — not too big, not too small — but it should match the decor style. If your couch and chairs are, say, Modern Farmhouse, you don't want a coffee table that looks like a hand-carved Victorian heirloom.

Next, think of the top of the table. There are different materials you can find — wood, glass, granite, even wicker. Which one will stand up to your usage and lifestyle? Do you like putting your feet on the coffee table when you watch TV? Glass and wicker are probably out then. Do you want something that will look timeless and not go out of style? Wood is always a tried-and-true classic.

As far as the decorations go, the first place to start is with coffee table books, the big, colorful hardback books that people own but never read. Pick a few of your favorite topics or people and get a couple coffee table books on that subject. For example, there are books on Vincent Van Gogh, nature photography, European castles, Trave, Fashion and plants! Find books on subjects that you love as a way to show people what you're passionate about. (And then consider reading them once in a while.)

A small plant or two can add a little color to your coffee table. You don't necessarily want one that's going to grow huge and take over the entire table. Try some sculptural succulents, like a small cactus, or even a small ZZ Plant or Pothos. Just be careful with your greenery if you have pets or small children.

Break the table up into zones. Depending on your coffee table, you can visually break things into three zones for rectangular tables or four zones for square tables — books in one area, knick knacks in another, greenery in a third.

You can also use trays to create zones. Imagine breaking up a 4-foot coffee table into three zones with just a 12-inch tray sitting in the middle. You've automatically divided the table into three zones with a simple tray.

Don't be afraid to stack things. You'll want to stack your coffee table books, of course, but don't be afraid to put a few smaller objects on top of that stack, like a bowl or a small plant. This keeps them from being hidden between the stacks of books, and can still give you plenty of room to use the table.

Strive for balance. One style mistake some people make is that they have a lot of small knick knacks and trinkets on the table, which can make a big table look cluttered. Or there are only one or two large objects — say, a stack of coffee table books and a large plant — on a small table, which makes it look more like a display stand. Create a sense of balance with two large items and several small ones, or a large item (a stack of books) in the center, with a few small items on either side. But choose accordingly based on the size of the table.

Finally, don't fill it up. You may be tempted to put as much as you can on your coffee table, but less is always more, so don't feel the need to cover every square inch. Consider leaving a zone of the table open, or put smaller items inside one zone, and save that for coffee and small plates when friends come to visit, or when you're just watching TV on a Saturday morning. Want to learn more about styling your own coffee table? Are you looking for a new coffee table to fit your home? You can get some great ideas from the home experts at Parker Gwen. You can reach us at support@parkergwen.com, or visit our website for more information.


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