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Modsy Designers On: Our Favorite Coffee Table Books and How to Style Them

Styling your coffee table is one of those finishing touches that helps pull together the style of your living room. But actually styling your coffee table can prove to be quite the challenge. Where to begin? What objects and home decor to include?

One of our favorite items for coffee table styling is using coffee table books. A small stack of these, paired with a decorative object, candle, or tray can pull your whole look together in no time.

To help you out, we polled our Modsy designers on how they style coffee table books and rounded up some of their best coffee table styling ideas! Bonus: They’re also sharing their favorite and best coffee table books! (Coffee table books make a perfect holiday gift for the design-lover in your life!) Keep reading for all of their best surface styling tips.

coffee table books

Step 1: Choosing Your Books

When styling your coffee table with coffee table books, you’ll want to start by carefully selecting which books you want on display. Are you going for a purely aesthetic look? Look for books that have visually stunning covers. (And don’t be afraid to remove the paper book cover if what’s underneath works better with your color scheme!) And if you’ll have a small stack of books rather than a single book, make sure the colors of the covers work well together.

However, you could also choose books based on your personal interests—whether that’s home decor, gardening, travel, or anything else that piques your interest! This will definitely make you more apt to actually sit down and read your coffee table books rather than simply using them for display.

Of course, you don’t have to stick with the same stack of books all year round. You can switch them out seasonally (or whenever you get a great new book!), with topics or color schemes that suit the mood or decor of your space!

Here’s how some of our designers are bringing these tips to life…coffee table books

Removing Your Book Covers

“I always remove the paper sleeves of the books to reveal the hardcovers, which are normally textured and solid, in turn creating a cleaner look. Organizing them in a tray is also great for achieving a tidy look!” –Valentina.

Valentina’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love anything that has to do with travel! I feel most inspired to create unique home designs after immersing myself in another culture’s design habits. One of my favorites is New York Times’ 36 Hours: World.”

Opting for Books With Solid-Colored Covers

“My coffee table books are always solid colors, so they pair well with accessories. I currently have Homebody by Joanna Gaines on my table, which underneath the paper cover (which I always throw away) is a gorgeous faded blue linen. On top, I place a mini globe and I angle the book slightly diagonally, lining the remote upside down with the diagonal line of the book.” –Sam K.

Sam’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love the History of Interior Design by John Pile and Judith Gura, and the Interior Design Master Class. Under the paper covers, they both have beautiful sagey green/blue solid-colored covers. And I love that they’re not just beautiful but also very informative!”

Rotating Books Throughout the Year

“You don’t have to have the same books out on your coffee table year-round. Rotate them throughout the seasons, and remember to crack them open occasionally!” –Natalie B.

Natalie’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I’ve recently loved displaying pretty cookbooks like Cherry Bombe!”

coffee table books

Step 2: Styling With Other Objects

Once you have your coffee table books selected, you’ll want to start thinking about how to arrange them. You can certainly just style your coffee table with one or two stacks of books—but it’s always nice to add some other objects and decor for visual interest.

Two things that go perfectly with books, every time? Plants and candles. You can’t go wrong by layering one or both of these objects on top of or alongside your coffee table books. We also love integrating personal objects, for a more custom look.

When styling, you want to think about visual balance. We recommend choosing objects with varying heights—or using your stack of books as a foundation to add height to one object, while another sits directly on the coffee table. When layering in different books and decor, think about contrast—both in color and texture. This will add visual interest to your vignette. Another good rule of thumb when styling your coffee table? Work in pairs if you want a more symmetrical look, and work in trios of objects if you want a more organic look.

But don’t layer in too many objects. Ultimately, your coffee table is about function, so a simple arrangement is better.

Here’s how some of our designers are bringing these tips to life…

coffee table books

Creating Some Visual Drama

“I love the look of beads or a chain draped over a thick stack of books. It gives the whole arrangement a dramatic flair. A small decorative box placed on or beside some coffee table books is a sleek way to tidy up your table.” –Gracie H.

Gracie’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

Neutra: Complete Works has an amazing collection of his work and a very cool wood cover. I also love Old and New—it has some amazing reuse projects!”

Incorporating a Variety of Heights, Textures, and Colors

“I recommend keeping the coffee table styling simple by using stacked books with either a decorative object or a small plant on top. They should be functional by incorporating a decorative box to hide TV remotes as well. There is also the opportunity to use a variety of heights, textures, and color.” –Brookes M.

Brookes’ Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“Some of my favorite coffee table books include Christian Dior: History and Modernity, 1947 – 1957; The Big Book of Chic; Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life; and Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color.”

Adding a Personal Touch

“Coffee tables should be a representation of comfort and a reflection of a family’s needs and how they use the space. And I ALWAYS add a personal touch to coffee table designs!” –Karen G.

Karen’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love looking at architectural books from around the world to inspire me to think outside the box.”

Varying the Heights of Decorative Objects

“I like making piles with my books and adding other accessories on top of them to create an arrangement with varying heights across the table.” –Karen D.

Karen’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I’m a big fan of all the Kelly Wearstler books!”

Considering Scale and Proportion

“I like books paired with similar-sized items—like a basket for remotes, a decorative game board, or a tray for smaller items—or flanked by two smaller items.” –Erin K.

Erin’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I find Architects’ Houses really inspiring.”

Creating a Lived-In Look

I love to pair books with candles and magazines to give it the lived-in look. Having a small decorative bowl on the table also helps to store things like remotes on the coffee table while not detracting from the decor.” –Rachel S.

Rachel’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

She: Muses, Visionaries and Madcap Heroines by Kate Spade New York is such a cute one. I also enjoy The Finer Things from Pottery Barn.”

coffee table books

Including Some Snacks

“Plants and snacks are my go-to coffee table decor to pair with books. I like to keep something to munch on in a beautiful bowl or glass next to my stack of books!” –Ayah O.

Ayah’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love Vogue collections and any country-specific landscape books.”

Using Books to Create Height

“When you group items together, it makes a bigger statement. I love to use coffee table books to add height to a small object!” –Morgan W.

Morgan’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love A Tree in the House: Flowers for Your Home, Special Occasions and Every Day; Live Beautiful; and Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating.”

coffee table books

Creating a Collection

“I love a collection of things on a coffee table—like a few books or magazines with candles and potted plants. A good way to hide a remote is to have a small bowl or tray where you can set remotes—adding beauty to the arrangement without taking away the functionality.” –Katelin S.

Katelin’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love home magazines and catalogs—anything from Taste of Home to Pottery Barn. Just something that has a warm and cozy feel to it.”

Working in Layers

“Like my design style, I like blending old and new, as well as colorful with subdued, and blending in different interests, like gardening and cooking. I like to layer the tallest stacks in the back or middle, and shorter stacks in the front, placing some decorative boxes, candles, photos, plants, or bowls on top of some of the books, but not all. Decorative boxes make a great place to stash remotes or a book or matches.” –Brielle M.

Brielle’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I love anything Tricia Guild for her gorgeous patterns and anything Bobby McAlpine for his amazing architectural style. I also love vintage books on patterns, furniture, and architecture. And when I’m looking for some classic inspiration, I turn to Mark Hampton and Mario Buatta.”coffee table books

Step 3: Incorporating Storage + Organization

As we just mentioned, a coffee table is ultimately about function. It’s the surface you use for beverages, snacks, laptops, phones, and whatever else you have nearby when on your sofa. So, you don’t want too cluttered of a surface. And it also helps to incorporate some storage and organization.

This can start with a storage coffee table if you want larger amounts of hidden storage. But you can also integrate good-looking (albeit smaller) storage options right within your styled surface. That’s where trays, boxes, and bowls come in. Trays are an excellent way to corral all of the styled objects on your coffee table and give the arrangement an added look of intentionality. (They also make it easy to clear off your coffee table for a game night or movie night dinner!)

Bowls make great catchalls for a match collection or anything you want to keep handy. But if you prefer hidden storage, a decorative storage box is going to be your best friend! They offer the perfect place to stash remotes when they’re not in use, or to tuck a pad of paper and pen for when you’re struck with a brilliant idea!

Ultimately, it’s all about incorporating storage and organization in a way that works for your needs.

Here’s how some of our designers are bringing these tips to life…coffee table books

Embracing the Catch-All

“I love having some sort of catch-all for remotes and game controllers on my coffee table that is functional but still looks great! Right now, I’m using a gorgeous bamboo and lacquer bowl but I’ve used decorative boxes, small baskets, and trays for this, too!” –Mackenzie R.

Mackenzie’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“To me, the best coffee table books are conversation starters! I like to display books that feature my favorite artists. (I currently have quite a few Frida Kahlo and Banksy books!) It’s so fun when people come over and start to flip through the pages. They always land on a piece that speaks to them and it usually sparks some fun conversations about their favorite artists!”

Utilizing Hidden Storage

“I love a good coffee table with hidden storage—that way you can keep the less pretty items hidden and make the surface of your table beautiful without losing the important function of the room. (Because let’s face it, we’re all bingeing everything these days, and we need those remotes!) Pairing a book or two with a candle, small succulent, or leafy plant and a funky vase is perfect for a simple yet intriguing vignette.” –Becky S.

Becky’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“Vintage interior design books are amazing! It’s so fun to look back on what was trendy (and sometimes still trendy!), and they make much more interesting talking pieces than any old design book you can find on Amazon.”coffee table books

Corralling Objects With a Tray

“Using a beautiful tray on your coffee table helps hide your remotes. All you see at a glance are the books and greenery.” –Kelly W.

Kelly’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“The Fall season is all about Halloween for me, so I love bringing in my London’s Strangest Tales, Scottish Myths & Legends, and Scottish Folk Tales books.”

Creating Your Own Hiding Spot

“The oldest trick in the book (pun intended) is hiding remotes inside a coffee table book with a secret cut-out.” –Arlene H.

Arlene’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I’m currently loving Homebody by Joanna Gaines and Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs.”coffee table books

Including Useful Objects

“I love layering a small tray over a book and adding useful objects like a candle, coasters and a ceramic vessel for holding remotes in a stylish way.” –Lauren H.

Lauren’s Coffee Table Book Recommendations

“I really enjoy The Travel Book, The Outsiders, Humans of New York, Made to Order by Campion Platt, and Allure by Diana Vreeland.”

Need some other living room design ideas? We’ve got you covered with an endless feed of inspiration! And if you need help with other furniture and surfaces in your living room, check out our coffee table buying guide and our bookshelf styling ideas!

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Buying Guide: 7 Tips for Choosing A Kid Friendly Coffee Table

Your home’s living room is usually one of the biggest and most stylish rooms in the house. It’s where you can display some of your most beloved decor and furniture items and also the area you spend the most time in—especially if you have little ones! Designing a home is already difficult, and designing with kids in the picture adds even more to the mix! If your living room design needs to accommodate kids or babies, it’s important to have kid-friendly coffee tables to avoid the danger of sharp corners in the home.

The good news is that kid friendly living rooms don’t have to skimp on style! Read on for some of our best tips for finding a kid and baby safe coffee table for your living room.

baby safe coffee table1. Choose Safe Shapes

Coffee tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main thing to look for in kid-friendly coffee tables is sharp edges, which keep your kids safe from painful bumps and bruises. Round shapes skip these sharp corners and pose less of a threat to little ones. This wooden coffee table and soft, rattan poufs also have rounded edges so kids can navigate the room without any trouble. We also love the texture and patterns they create in the room!

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baby safe coffee table2. Opt for Soft and Stylish

In addition to steering away from sharp corners, it’s also helpful to stick to plush options when choosing a kid-friendly coffee table. Choosing an ottoman or poof made from soft materials is an easy alternative to traditional coffee tables and can also be used as extra seating. Many options also have hidden interior storage—a double whammy!

Pro Tip: Put a tray on top of a plush coffee table to get the function of a solid top on your coffee table. This also makes it easy to pick up all your items and move the table for more play space on the floor.

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3. Look for Smudge-Free Style

Glass coffee tables are a popular choice for living rooms because they can make a room appear bigger and blend in with many styles. But if you need a baby safe coffee table, steer clear of certain coffee table materials like glass—it can present a definite safety hazard. Glass can also be hard to clean up and we all know sticky fingers smudge easily. Try to look for materials that clean up easily, like this stylish leather table or a leather ottoman. These pieces fit perfectly into rustic style living rooms.

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4. Go Natural

If you like more organic looks, there are plenty of kid-friendly coffee tables made from natural materials with a softer feel. Again, skip high-maintenance tables that require frequent cleaning and heavy, hard tables like stone in favor of natural materials. This woven seagrass table is soft with rounded edges for extra safety, which is extra great if your living room doubles as a playroom, like this one.

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5. Seek Out Low-Maintenance Looks

Choosing low-maintenance materials means that you don’t have to worry about a little wear and tear on furniture. Look for materials that don’t require constant maintenance or that can stand up to kid’s play. Weathered woods with a patina are a great choice and won’t show scratches/scuffs. If you go upholstered, stick with performance fabrics that are stain-resistant and easy to clean. Slip-covered options that are machine washable are also a great choice.

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6. Sneak in Savvy Storage

Most kid-friendly homes tend to have lots of toys floating about! This can easily lead to a crowded, messy look and nobody wants that in their daily living space. Furniture items with plenty of interior storage make for an easy place to stash kid clutter. It helps you to clean up quickly by tucking toys, games, and books into interior storage in between playtimes.

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baby safe coffee table7. Skip It Altogether

There is no rule that says you 100% need a coffee table in your living room! If it’s not important to you or your overall design, it’s totally okay to skip it altogether! A big, woven living room rug like one also helps open up space for more play at home. You can also try a coffee table alternative, like these wooden building blocks or a funky leather ottoman. Check out these stylish coffee table alternatives for more ideas!

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13 Ways to Style Your Coffee Table

The coffee table is the centerpiece of your living room, so invest in one that suits your style and space. Keeping in mind some common coffee table dos and don’ts, you also want to make sure it’s functional for your daily lifestyle. If you have little kids, a storage table that corrals clutter can be a lifesaver, or if you love to entertain, a tiered table with an extra shelf can be a great choice.

Beyond function, though, a stylishly arranged coffee table can help set the tone in your space. It can be as simple as a few stacks of books topped with objects or one that’s organized with trays of objects. No matter your coffee table styling approach, it should feel personal and be visually appealing to you.

To inspire you, here’s a roundup of coffee table ideas with our best tips for styling it into an eye-catching visual display.

Coffee table ideasPretty & Practical

A simple arrangement of elegant everyday items can go a long way as decorative finishing touches on your coffee table. Curate accents and objects that tie back to the color scheme of your room. This grouping of coffee table books, a feather tray, and a lantern candle holder make for a minimalist display that reiterates the room’s calming, neutral vibe.

Styling Tip: Your room’s palette is a great jumping-off point if you’re not sure where to start with your coffee table decor. This approach guarantees your final display will blend seamlessly with the other pieces in your space.

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Coffee table ideasEclectic Mix

A good mantra for coffee table styling is to stick to the rule of three—three different kinds of objects in varying heights and shapes. Here, a decorative wood box is mixed with a tall planter that adds texture, color, and height along with a stack of vintage-style books. There’s not shortage of intrigue and balance here.

Styling Tip: An eclectic coffee table works best with an eclectic mix of objects. The wooden trunk table here offers both storage space and an unexpected look. If your style leans more quirky, consider coffee table alternatives that have the same edgy look as the items you plan to put on top of it.

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Coffee table ideasSimple & Understated

When it comes to cool and functional living room design ideas, you can’t go wrong with a pair of matching coffee tables—or bunching tables pushed together! With a pair of coffee tables, you already have a visually bold setup, so keep the surfaces simple. A book and a small cactus does the trick here, adding a pop of color and texture.

Styling Tip: If you go with a pair of tables or one that has a bold sculptural design, they’re already ornamental in and of themselves, so keep the surface minimally decorated. Think a small tray, a tiny plant or a scaled-down vase.

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Coffee table ideasTransitional Minimalist

Speaking of minimal styling in the living room, a simple wood coffee table design is the best surface for styling up or down as you like. You can layer statement decor on top or keep it tightly curated with just a few accents, like one or two gorgeous vases to compliment your room decor, like the blue-and-white combo here.

Styling Tip: Sometimes it’s all about aesthetics with your coffee table display. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it ties back to the overall look of the rest of your room. This is perfect for those of you who don’t use your coffee table every day.

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Coffee table ideasFamily-Friendly & Functional

Coffee tables with built-in functionalities, like a hidden drawer or a tray top, are perfect multitaskers for family homes in our book. They’re made for corralling objects and styled up displays that bring focus to smaller decorative items, such as plants, candles, small trays, books, and even decorative boxes. Don’t dismiss these tables!

Styling Tip: Round tables are perfect for homes with little kids since they don’t have sharp corners. They’re also perfect for books and other more angular objects, which provide visual contrast to the table’s rounded form. It’s always a good idea to contrast shapes in this way!

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Coffee table ideasReading Surface

If your living room is more focused on quiet reading time than TV watching, choose a practical wood coffee table that gives you a clean surface to pile books, magazines, and other reading materials on top of. You can also stack coffee table books for a more polished look, but the idea is that this is a working surface that has everything you’re currently reading or flipping through.

Styling Tip: This is perfect for those who enjoy reading on their living room sofa. Just make sure your coffee table has a spacious surface for you to spread your reading out. One with a tiered design can give you extra storage for more books and magazines.

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Coffee table ideasLevels Of Use

A two-tiered coffee table is always a great choice for a living room that has furnishings in a range of styles. A tiered design also makes for fun coffee table styling since it gives you double the surface to showcase objects and accents. Or you can even turn one shelf into a full storage space for books, baskets, and even blankets.

Styling Tip: With double the surface area, it helps to designate what goes on top and what goes on the bottom. A tray on top is great for cups, plates, remotes and other loose everyday items, while the bottom shelf is always a good place for things you might need in a pinch, like a candle, a throw or even a board game.

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Coffee table ideasStreamlined Styling

For those after a clean-lined contemporary living room, your coffee table doesn’t have to stay bare to keep that aesthetic alive. Make sure to first choose a streamlined table that goes with your style and top it with similarly pared-down items, like a stack of magazines or a small modern votive, box, or vase.

Styling Tip: Think playful but polished when it comes to coffee table accents. And less is definitely more here, so go for the sleek and unique tray or small modern sculpture piece to give your coffee table display just the right amount of oomph.

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Coffee table ideasMovable Display

You’ve seen us mention trays a few times. That’s because it’s one of the easiest and most stylish coffee table ideas to work into any space. Plus, they’re endlessly functional since they’re easy to move around and can be used to hold anything from flowers and candles to tea sets.

Styling Tip: Consider styling a tray with a teapot, candle, and plant so that it’s always ready for entertaining guests and family. Our favorite is turning a coffee table tray into a breakfast tray for serving a delicious morning meal in the living room. Once you’re done, just carry the tray to the kitchen and unload everything. It’s simple and it’s stylish!

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Coffee table ideasWhite Hot

If your coffee table has elements of white or a marble top, consider layering it with other white accents and objects for a look that packs a punch. Whether it’s a book or a candle holder or a vase, a white on white on white look is always chic.

Styling Tip: With this coffee table styling approach, it’s less about color and all about shapes and textures. You want to group together white objects that have varying textures and details, like perforations and weathered wood or a smooth white book cover. It’s all in the contrasts.

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Coffee table ideasOrganization First

Two smaller trays paired together on a large wood coffee table gives you double the function and endless styling possibilities. This allows for plenty of open space still on the table surface while giving you areas to corral and curate objects.

Styling Tip: Don’t be afraid to go all out with a style or theme! Here, the trays are filled with nautical decor and accents that reflect the room’s overall coastal aesthetic. When in doubt, always look to the rest of your room’s decor for styling inspiration.

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Coffee table ideasSleek & Spare

For city dwellers living in sleek condos with modern furniture, coffee table styling is all about paring things down. If this is your style, consider a concrete-and-glass coffee table that comes off as a sculptural piece in and of itself, allowing you to keep it bare or style it up with a few clean-lined accents.

Styling Tip: With modern industrial coffee tables, like this one, they don’t need much styling. But if you do decide to layer on accents, keep to simple low-profile objects that don’t steal away from the table’s bold form. Think tiny vases, white-cover books, and a paper-thin tray.

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Coffee table ideasSculpture Show

One of our favorite coffee table decorating tricks is to curate an array of sculptural decor in varying shapes, sizes, and styles. That can range from anything like a decorative coral piece to a seashell to a porcelain bust or a super curvy vessel. Be sure to pick pieces with varying heights, which will make the display more captivating.

Styling Tip: When grouping together pieces that have varying sculptural shapes, be sure to pick pieces with different heights, which will make the display more captivating. You want to style it in a way that invites people to move in and examine each object more closely.

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Surface Styling 101 – Tips for Decorating All the Surfaces in Your Home

Surface styling is key in creating a homey, lived-in look! From your coffee table to your nightstand, it’s those final touches that turn a room into an Instagram-worthy interior. But surprisingly enough, it’s these small decorative moments that can be the trickiest things to master.

To help demystify the surface styling process, we’re cracking open our Modsy designers’ playbook and giving you the inside scoop on our best decor ideas.

Ready to give your surfaces the style treatment they deserve? Read on for our best surface decor ideas!

decor ideas

1. Nightstand

Function is the number one rule to keep in mind when styling your nightstands.

Start with a table lamp – the main event – and then layer on your accessories. Consider a bedside clock (a great alternative to smartphones) alongside other smaller accents like candles, a small plant, vases, and framed photos.

decor ideas2. Dresser

When it comes to decor ideas for your dresser, always start with taller pieces on the outside edges of the dresser. A collection of vases in varying heights, potted plants, or table lamps are great options here.

One you have these “bookends” established, layer in your smaller accent pieces alongside the larger decorative accessories – books, a jewelry box, or candles are all great options!

As far as crowning your dresser, if you need a mirror the place above your dresser is the perfect place. If not, a piece of art you love makes a great focal point.

decor ideas3. Pillows

Pillows are a great way to highlight a sofa, accent chair, or bed and introduce different colors, patterns and textures into your space. Layer your sofa with pillows to create dimension in your room and make your sofa look extra cozy for lounging!

Bonus idea – pillows can be an inexpensive way to change up your decor from season to season. When you get tired of the ones you have, swap in some new ones to totally mix up your look.

decor ideas4. Coffee Table

Books, candles and small decorative objects are the perfect decor ideas for dressing up an empty coffee table.

Keep scale in mind when choosing your accessories. Pieces that are too small will feel insubstantial and make your coffee table seem scattered. Accents that are too large will overwhelm the table and can make your space feel cluttered.

decor ideas5. Fireplace Mantel

If you have a fireplace, odd are it’s the focal point of your living room. This is a great opportunity to make your space shine!

Keep it simple with one large art piece or a mirror, or spice it up with an odd number of decor pieces on each end for a balanced look.

decor ideas6. Bookcase

Built-ins and bookcases don’t have to be packed to the brim with stuff! Styling each shelf with 2-3 decor pieces will help bring the room to life, without adding clutter.

Depending on how wide your shelves are, follow the 3-5 piece rule. The key is to group an odd amount of pieces together and switch up placement on each shelf. Be wary of too much symmetry, which can be distracting and often feel sterile.

Adding smaller pieces of artwork, books, and greenery are an easy way to fill up space and create that amazing, layered look.

decor ideas7. Credenza

Similar to mantels, a grouping of an odd number amount of decor on each end of a credenza or in the middle helps create a balanced look. The trick is to incorporate pieces of varying heights and shapes to keep the look visually interesting.

Credenzas are a great place to hang a large mirror, a statement artwork, or even create a gallery wall moment. Think about topping your credenza with bowls, vases, candles, greenery, books, and mini sculptures.

decor ideas8. Dining Table

No matter the size, all dining tables need some decor love! Consider one statement item, an odd grouping of smaller decorative pieces, or a few candles as quick and easy ways to complete the look.

Some of our favorite centerpiece ideas include bowls, candles and candle holders, vases, and flowers and greens!

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No Coffee Table, No Problem – 7 Things You Can Use Instead

If you give a living room a sofa, it’ll want a coffee table to go with it. Or at least that’s what those traditional interior design rules say. And it’s true that sofas and coffee tables are generally the focal point of your living room.

With that, there are many things to consider when landing on the right coffee table for your space. You’ll want to consider the coffee table shape and size in relation to your sofa, as well as the coffee table material, to make sure it blends with your living room’s style. And then there are the lifestyle needs to consider—like if you need a kid-friendly coffee table or one that includes storage.

coffee table ideas

But just because they’re a key piece of furniture in your living room doesn’t mean you have to go for something traditional or expected. In fact, you can get pretty creative with coffee table ideas. There are actually quite a few coffee table alternatives out there to suit your interior design style and your preferences and lifestyle. So, if you’re interested in exploring some alternatives to coffee tables, keep reading for seven of our favorite ideas!

Whether you’re struggling to design a small space, or if you want your living room to be a bit more kid-proof, here are 8 coffee table alternatives that will work in any space.

coffee table ideas – ottoman

1. A Plush Ottoman

Ottomans are an awesome coffee table alternative because they can act as a table but are kid-proof. With soft edges, there are no corners for kids to bump into. And if you still want to style it, add a few of your favorite coffee table books or place a tray on top as a stable surface for drinks! Plus they double as extra seating options so your kids and guests have space to sit!

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coffee table ideas - 2 poufs

2. A Pair of Poufs

Similar to a plush ottoman, poufs are another kid-friendly favorite for living room areas. Two poufs can make a perfect replacement for a coffee table and are just right for smaller spaces and for people who like to entertain. We love that they can easily double as a footrest, side table, and extra seat!

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coffee table alternatives

3. A Bench

Not a fan of using a large table as your centerpiece? One of our favorite coffee table alternative ideas is to use a bench instead. Using an attractive wooden or upholstered bench as a coffee table can add surface space, extra seating, and even additional storage. Talk about a triple-threat!

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coffee table alternatives

4. A Cluster of Side Tables

A coffee table doesn’t always have to be one large table. In fact, one of our favorite coffee table styling ideas, when you want something out of the box, is using a cluster of side tables as a coffee table alternative. This allows you to easily move them when you are entertaining in order to give your guests an easy place to set their drinks.

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coffee table ideas

5. Side Tables With Varying Heights

Two small, mismatched side tables can also be a good alternative for smaller spaces that don’t have room for one large table. Make your space feel less cramped by opting for one short and one taller table. This is one of our favorite coffee table ideas for people who want to make their space feel more dynamic.

coffee table alternative

6. A Storage Ottoman

Need some extra storage? Opt for one of our favorite small apartment furniture ideas: A storage ottoman. It not only acts as a coffee table alternative but also an extra seat and hidden storage. Simply open up the lid in order to store things inside. It’s great for storing blankets, books, magazines or other things you want to keep handy but out of sight.

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coffee table ideas - c-side table

7. A C-Side Table

If you have no room at all, you can try a C-side table in order to maximize space in a small living room. C-tables are small and easy to move; and, because of their shape, they can snuggle up close to your sofa so they don’t take up much floor space. You can also use them as an impromptu desk when you don’t want to leave the sofa to work.

8. A Single Stool

Another coffee table alternative that’s great for small spaces? A single stool. It’s a great pairing with low-profile sofas, as the low height of the stool works well with the lower sofa seat. And speaking of seating—using a stool as a coffee table gives you an extra seating option, which is perfect for small or multipurpose spaces, like a studio apartment. It’s also more affordable than a traditional coffee table, which makes it a great budget-friendly coffee table alternative as well! And if you move and decide to upgrade to a larger coffee table, you can easily use a stool elsewhere in your home.

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These are just a few suggestions for you to use other pieces of furniture in lieu of a coffee table! What are your favorite coffee table ideas?

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