What Should I Put on My Coffee Table?

The Table

You’re not putting anything on a coffee table if you don’t have the coffee table. It’s a key element in this process and you need to make sure you have the right one.

This table’s going to say a lot about you, and of course, we recommend you find your style with Furnish.app. But you may need a bit of guidance while you look for what you want. Let’s break down the process a bit.

First, think about what you want your room to say as a whole. Are you wanting something sleek and modern? Something more homely? A cosy feeling? You may want to maximise your storage with drawers, shelving, or the full ottoman? Something with a patterned top may help to make a statement on its own, but a solid colour is more classic.

Now that you have the table ready, it’s time to conquer what to put on it.

Keep It Simple

First things first; keep it simple. You don’t want to overcrowd your coffee table. Don’t cover every centimetre. After all, where would you put your coffee?

In most cases, you will also want to go simple with your colours. Work with colours that feature elsewhere in the room and use different shades to make them stand out. If you have a white table in a light room, a glass vase will maintain the airy feel and will complement the table. Add different textures to create a more interesting visual. For example, go with a vase with carved details.

It’s also good to go simple with content. The classics are classics for a reason; they work. Flowers, succulents, books, and miscellaneous golden orbs are coffee table staples. All you have to know is how to place them.

Keep It Balanced

The easiest way you can create balance is symmetry. Visualise it like a scale; something big in the middle, then two weights on either side. The big piece is going to be your statement piece, the eye-catcher of the table. A nice vase, an interesting ornament, candlesticks; whatever brings out your personality. Your home is a reflection of you and your style after all. Achieve symmetry by using the same weights on both sides. Though, you can play with the heights of them. Your collection of golden orbs can work here, but for something more functional it’s best to go with books. 

Books will also say something about you to your guest. Do you want to present yourself with cookbooks? Charles Dickens? Magazines? Some random hardbacks from the charity shop? Not a book but a box that happens to look like a book?

You can remove the statement piece in the middle and have two of the same thing on either end of a table. Of course, to keep the balance you’ll need a long coffee table so that there are clear ends.

You don’t have to go with symmetry to create balance. Three items in the middle of a table, with coasters on every corner, is going to create balance. You’re going to want some sort of statement piece, so try finding items that are pre-grouped together.

Keep It Short

Flowers are beautiful, but a tall vase can create a problem. That problem being you now can’t see your friend while you talk to them. No one wants to spend the entire conversation ducking around the flowers.

That’s not to say to keep everything at equal levels. Even with a height limitation, you can get playful. Arranging things so that they sit at different heights creates visual interest.

Whatever you’re putting on the table, keep it short enough that it’s not going to upset the flow of conversation.

Focal Point

So, what is going to be that statement piece? The focal point of your table, something that’s going to bring everything together. Flowers and a vase are easy, and there’s no shame in them. If you like flowers and can handle the upkeep of them, go for flowers. Get a nice vase that fits the table. Books, real or fake, are also something common, easy, and a great way to express yourself. Not to mention they can be a great conversation piece.

If you’re looking for something practical, bowls offer a little extra storage. For something more minimalist, a set of 3 orbs or cylinders grouped together will be enough to draw the eye.

If you want to get eccentric with it, hit up your local antique place, car boot sale, or auction house. Ornaments, a set of jars, a fossil in a glass case, a nice storage box, etc. If it draws you in, then it belongs with you.


One way you’re going to make your life easier is a tray. What the tray does is group everything together so that you feel less like things are at risk of being out of place. It also makes it easier for you to move things on and off the coffee table without much disturbance.


A feature you can bring to your coffee table is adding a different colour to the works. A runner along your coffee table creates a difference in colour, texture, and pattern. If you have a dark room, a runner can make it brighter. If you have a patterned ottoman, a solid-coloured runner will help break up that busy look. It’s something eye-catching and can add variety.

Compliment the Room

Colour theory is your best friend, it’s going to bring your home together and make everything look nice. Get out the colour wheel and identify complementary colours. Your complimentary colours are going to bring everything together. Your contrasting colour is going to make a specific thing stand out. A black table in a white room is going to create a strong contrast. As will mixing whites and blacks in the items on the table. Remember the old scale idea? Well, have your centrepiece in your main colour. Then opt for books either side in complementary colours. Play with colours, take a step back, and find what is drawing your eye in the room and if it’s what you want.

Also, consider shapes and materials. Make sure what you’re putting on the table (and the table itself) make sense in the room. Rounded corners with rounded corners; mid-century with mid-century; etc.

Going All Out

Okay, you disregarded everything else and want to go all out. Buy a set of tables, we’re going all out. There’s no coffee on these coffee tables, this is all about looks.

Get all the eclectic ornaments or knickknacks you want and get experimental. Find the perfect way to capture different heights and make a statement. Now, do yourself a favour and group all your new table ornaments into some sort of sub-categories. One way to do this, and create a nice effect, is by combining these on different levels.

Try and have an image in your mind. Find what you’re looking for. As before, this is saying a lot about you as a person. You may want to showcase things that appear precious or want to spark some imagination. Allow yourself some time to play. Try something and see if it creates the response you’re looking for. Get a second pair of eyes and see how they respond to it.

Keep colour theory in mind throughout, make sure your eyes are always going to where you want them to.

Consider Every Angle

Regardless of how you decorate your coffee table, the best thing you can do is look at it. Take a walk around it. Take a walk around it from a couple of steps back. Sit on every seat around it and see what you see. What impression is it making? If it doesn’t work, move some things and try again. Cut any stems you need to and make sure the coasters are set, ready for their first cup of coffee.

As mentioned before its starts with the table so find your perfect one with Furnish.app.