How complete is your living room coffee table? While you might think of this as a convenient place to keep beverages and various remotes, it’s actually a great deal more than that.
Your coffee table or sideboard is a piece of your personality, a conversation starter, a source of natural life, or even a bookcase. It’s far more than just a table – in many ways, it’s the centre-piece of your living room.
The key to an effective coffee table is well thought-out content. From books to plants or flowers, a good coffee table should hold your must-have items as well as acting as a useful conversation starter for when you have guests over.
Is your coffee table bare? In this guide, we’ll share and explain the five items every coffee table should have so that you know exactly how to decorate it for style, function, personality and more.
COFFEE TABLE BOOKS (PREFERABLY MORE THAN ONE)
Coffee table books serve several purposes. They’re perfect for leafing through and reading while waiting for your cup of coffee to cool down, great for adding a bit of colour to your living room and wonderful for starting conversations.
For the best effect, choose a selection of books – three to five is good – that serve all three purposes well. Books of photography, collection books, classic car guides, art collections and other visual books all work well, regardless of whether your table is a modern coffee table or traditional.
Make sure you choose books that match your interests. If you like watches, a book of classic Rolex wristwatches is a great choice. If you like to travel, choose a book that’s full of panoramic photographs of the world’s most beautiful cities.
If you love modern art and design, choose a book on the Bauhaus. If you love to cook or bake, choose a recipe book or two. Books that express your personality look great on any living room coffee table.
A selection of books covering different topics that you’re interested in is usually the best choice. This way, it’s easy for guests to start a conversation after they spot the right book on your coffee table.
A HOUSEPLANT OR VASE AND FLOWERS
The best side tables or coffee tables blend manmade and natural materials. Adding a houseplant or vase and flowers lets you add a little bit of colour and natural life at the same time.
While most houseplants are too large, some small plants fit nicely as a coffee table centrepiece. Choose plants that require little maintenance and survive in a variety of different temperatures and humidity levels.
If you choose to go the vase and flowers route, try choosing a vase that stands out in your living room with a unique colour scheme. If your room has white walls, brown wooden flooring and plenty of natural light, try an orange or light blue vase.
The key is to add contrast and life at the same time. Try using a vase that contrasts with the flowers you keep on your coffee table to introduce two colours into your living room at once for a bold, powerful look.
CANDLES (OR A SMALL TABLE LAMP)
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as reading a book on the sofa. If you read late in the evening, it’s important to have a source of task lighting that doesn’t light up the whole living room.
Adding a table lamp is a great way to add an alternative light source to your living room. Candles are also a great stylish and functional item to add to your coffee table.
Not only does a table lamp or set of candles act as a great light source for reading – it’s also a useful soft light that you can switch on while you watch TV or movies for functional light that doesn’t wash out your TV screen.
For a great combination of style and freshness, add scented candles to your coffee table. Light them for a minute or two at the beginning of each day to freshen your living room for the next few hours.
AN INTERESTING ACCESSORY OR TWO
How much does your living room coffee table say about you? Within a few seconds of glancing at it, any guest visiting your home should be able to work out a few key aspects of your personality.
Books play a major part in achieving this, and a great selection of coffee table books can help start conversations with ease. Accessories are also useful, especially unique accessories that say something about your personality.
From items related to your favourite sports teams to souvenirs you picked up on an international holiday, add a couple of interesting accessories to your coffee table to give it a touch of personality and make starting conversations easy.
A COFFEE TABLE TRAY FOR ORGANISING
Adding a tray to your coffee table is a great way to introduce new colour into your living room while adding some useful functions. Keep small items on a tray to make it easier to clean up your table or choose a coffee table with drawers to clear away items to create working space.
Need to eat a meal in front of the TV? Pick up your coffee table tray to clear away an empty space, then replace it with a placemat. Need to serve coffee and snacks? Pick up your tray, place the items on and carry it back over to the coffee table.
Trays look great on your coffee table and keep your living room clean making spills far less likely and cleaning up simple. Instead of wiping down your coffee table after a spilled drink, just bring your tray into the kitchen for a quick scrub and spray.
If you like the high fashion look, contemporary coffee table trays from brands like Hermès offer a luxurious look that’s perfect for any classic living room. In a modern living room, a brushed metal or black wooden tray is a great match for most glass coffee tables.
IS YOUR COFFEE TABLE FULLY DECORATED?
Is your coffee table fully decorated or are you missing some of the five items listed above? Decorate your living room coffee table with a combination of books, natural life, unique accessories and lamps or candles for a complete, unique and personalised look. If your coffee table isn't up to the task, then why not browse our choice of the latest styles including glass, ceramic, high gloss, marble or wooden coffee tables, so you can quickly and easily freshen up your lounge’s look.