Coffee tables aren’t as essential to home décor as they once were, but they’re still a great way to add character to a room, not to mention storage space. With all that in mind, we’re not necessarily saying you should rush out and buy one. However, if you already have one, or have plans to acquire one, it makes a lot of sense to make it look great.
Unlike many of our features here at 10 Tips, this guide isn’t procedural. You shouldn’t necessarily seek to use all 10 recommendations in this one. Instead, consider personal tastes, space and the style of the room and decide which of these options could potentially make the most difference to your table.
1. Create a Reading Hub
Many members of the 10 Tips team are writers, so we might be biased when we say that people don’t read enough in general. It’s no secret that sales of print books and magazines have slowed as more people go digital. However, if you still buy them or have some old favourites somewhere in the home, the coffee table can be the perfect place to store them. You could even take the technological approach, add a charger to the table and keep a family iPad or Kindle there.
Even if you only read when there’s nothing better to do, having something out in the open can add character and give you a reason to read, without the need to get up and seek out a book.
2. Use a Tray
Trays also form an essential part of our decorative line-up. There’s no hard and fast rule regarding what constitutes a tray and, even if there was, it’s not like you can’t get them in just about any colour and material imaginable. Therefore, you can’t use a tray not fitting the current design as an excuse! Looks aside, we love the functionality. Whether you want to serve a couple of cups of tea, or quickly clear the table when you need it for something else, a tray can make a world of difference. It also combines well with the other decorative tips throughout this feature.
3. Add Some Life to the Room with Flowers or Plants
We’re also big fans of indoor plants and flowers. They may not be functional in the purest sense, but just a few of them throughout the home can improve air quality and odour. Even if you don’t require any particular benefits, they look great and can inject a dose of colour into any room. They don’t last forever either, so it’s okay to make mistakes and try something different.
4. Enhance the Theme with Knickknacks
We don’t generally go for clutter, and we’ve mentioned several times in the past that if something doesn’t have a purpose, it shouldn’t be in the home. We’re willing to make an exception for coffee tables. If you plan to use your table as a centrepiece and have a defined style in the room, a few relevant objects can make it stand out. If you’ve gone for a specific time period, collect matchbooks or other small objects to decorate the table. If your style comes from a particular country, place a few relevant ornaments on the table to bring everything together.
5. Candles Work Well
There’s no consistent opinion on candles among the 10 Tips team. Some of us love the light and scents, while others would rather incorporate just about anything else into their designs. However, coffee tables are perfect for them, as they can make for a central light source and create smells from the centre of the room that will permeate the whole house.
6. Consider Storage Options
We’ve talked in the past of considering storage whenever adding a new piece of furniture to a room. It doesn’t always work with coffee tables, as you may not want cupboards and drawers as they go against the rest of the design. However, if a cube would fit, that’s more space to store things like TV remotes.
7. Think About Fabrics and Textiles
There was a time when no coffee table would be complete without a doily. Those days are gone, as far as we’re concerned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate the surface with something similar. If you’re happy to buy online, you can find just about anything imaginable, so decide on a material you like and go wild with the colours. As with plants, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not too expensive to replace them.
8. Combine Form and Function
We’ve already spoken on making your decorative items useful, and it can be worth browsing online and on land for the perfect piece. It could be something as simple as an antique spoon. Such an item looks great on the table and will happily stay out in view, but you can also use it to stir your coffee – as long as you wash it regularly!
9. Consider Nesting as a Design Feature
Nesting coffee tables aren’t anything out of the ordinary, but many people choose them when they want more mobile surface space in the living room. That makes sense, but you can go down this route with design considerations in mind too. It doesn’t need to be anything more than a cascade effect to make a real difference to the aesthetics in a room.
10. Don’t Overpower the Room
One of the best things about making the coffee table a centrepiece is that they come in all shapes, sizes and finishes. However, that doesn’t mean going as big as you can. If you have a relatively small lounge, you don’t want something that’s only a net away from being a ping pong table! Size matters in terms of looks as well as function, so give some real thought to what will look good while also meeting your needs and base your purchase decisions on what makes the most sense.