Secrets of coffee table styling from the experts

We love a well styled coffee table but it can be hard to achieve — often looking too cluttered, same-same or just blah.

That’s why we’ve invited top Australian stylists to share their secrets of coffee table styling!

Related article: The tips and tricks to styling your coffee table with ease
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Jason Grant coffee table styling
Styling by Mr Jason Grant, photography by Lauren Bamford

Mr Jason Grant says a coffee table is a great place to begin styling at home and is the perfect canvas to show off a few of your favourite or latest items.

Start with a base, books or a tray are great for this as they lay the foundation and can contain arrangements.

“There’s no need to overcrowd the space and of course a central focus like flowers or an object is always great. Your coffee can be a work in progress — add and subtract as you feel the need and keep things moving,” he explains.

Coffee table Shay
Styling by Shay Paine

One of our favourites from The Block, Shay Paine, seriously wowed us with her styling eye and she recommends using your coffee table to reflect your personality or your family.

Choose a coffee table book the references something you are interested in or place you have travelled to. Layer items on trays and create different heights with your styling pieces. Most of all, always have something green or natural to bring life to the room, fresh flowers or maybe an indoor plant.

Shop coffee table styling essentials

Small white vase
Small white vase
Clear quartz cluster
Clear quartz cluster
Hammered brass bowl
Hammered brass bowl
Clay coffee table book
Clay coffee table book
Marble tray
Marble tray
Styled book
Styled book
Kinfolk book
Kinfolk book
Steel candle holder
Steel candle holder
Glass cloche
Glass cloche
Brass candle
Brass candle
Small white vase
Small white vase
Clear quartz cluster
Clear quartz cluster
Hammered brass bowl
Hammered brass bowl
Clay coffee table book
Clay coffee table book
Marble tray
Marble tray
Styled book
Styled book
Kinfolk book
Kinfolk book
Steel candle holder
Steel candle holder
Glass cloche
Glass cloche
Brass candle
Brass candle
Scented candle coffee table styling
Styling by Gina Ciancio

Style Curator Editor and Interior Stylist, Gina Ciancio, loves mixing up coffee table looks and shares all her tips to style your coffee table with ease here.

Contrast is the name of the game. High and low elements, slimmer pieces (like a candle stick) and wider (such as stack of books), hard objects (like the metal bell above) with soft (such as a woven basket). A stack of books or tray is also an easy way to create a base that you can place items on top of for a confident and layered look.

How to style a coffee table
Styling by Julia Green, photography by Annette O’Brien for The Style School

The oh-so-talented Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors says it’s important to consider the shape and size of a coffee table.

For a standard round table, I would use a trio of objects. The odd number of objects works well against the play of a perfectly symmetrical shape. Within that trio would be some foliage, books and one unexpected object.

“On my own coffee table at the moment, I have a beautiful piece of vintage lilac glass that is handblown and sculptural. Always allow enough room for your tea or coffee to sit, as over cluttered tables become booby traps and according to my husband, ‘counterproductive!’,” she says.

“If I am styling a rectangular table, I like a bit of symmetry. In my view there is nothing better than generously laden piles and stacks of coffee table books. They alone can look beautiful.”

Emma Blomfield coffee table styling
Styling by Emma Blomfield, photography by Lisa Zhu

Co-founder of The Decorating School, Emma Blomfield, says variety is key.

Vary the shapes and sizes of the objects you’re placing on the coffee table so ensure you have some round objects as well as rectangular. In order to keep it neat and organised, try arranging your items on a large tray, this is a great way to show off your styling skills!

Have these styling tips inspired you? Show us your coffee table by tagging us @stylecuratorau when you share them online!

Check out more styling tips

This article was first published in May 2016 and has been updated with new information and images

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