Tips for Creating a Cozy Coffee Table

A coffee table serves many purposes in a living room, including as a surface for food and drink, a spot to rest your feet, a hiding spot for the remote, and, of course, as an attractive decorative accent. It could be all of these things, at the very least. If you aren't careful, your coffee table can quickly become a cluttered mess, and if you're afraid to get creative, it can be a drab disappointment. So that you can master the art of decorating a coffee table with confidence and flair, I have compiled some useful guidelines with specific situations to follow.

The Golden Ratio

You can't go wrong with the rule of three when it comes to decorating your coffee table, as it applies to so many other design elements. Three pieces are a safe bet for any size or shape of table.

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You should know that the "rule" of three is more of a suggestion than a mandate. The interplay between these three elements is not always as simple as it first appears.

Here we see the living room designed by Home Furniture and Interior Design by Alvhem Mäkleri & Interiör The vase, the small covered dish, and the candlesticks all count as separate objects. Although there are technically four components to this set (or more if you count each individual flower), the whole still feels like a set of three and creates a sophisticated whole.

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The table in this scene is moderately sized, and it holds three smaller groups of objects. Although there are more than three components, they are separated sufficiently to be easily distinguished. Because of this, the table has a special enchantment; it is not perfectly symmetrical, but neither is it overly simple. In what ways do you determine which goods to purchase? What follows is a list of excellent emergency supplies and pointers that can be of use in any circumstance.

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Improving Your Writing with the Rule of 3

Make use of books as a foundation This coffee table has been artfully styled to feature a wide variety of objects while maintaining a sense of order and cleanliness. This is due to the fact that the items feel more organized on the bookcases, reinforcing the previously established division into three distinct classes.

As a starting point for a layered look, beautiful books (or other flat items like serving trays or even stylish magazines) can work wonderfully. The simplest method involves using three books of roughly the same size as a base, upon which to stack progressively smaller objects. This is a living room by Another great case in point is Alvhem Mäkleri & Interiör. Even better, the rule of three can be used multiple times within each subgroup to further your design prowess.

Intersecting circles and squares Books are a great way to add structure, but if everything is a standard rectangle, the overall effect can be stuffy. Here's where the sphere comes in. Classically juxtaposed, the smooth curves and sharp angles make for a striking visual. This living room by Haven Design and Construction is a great example of the use of a vase, bowl, candle, or paperweight to break up the lines and add visual interest by placing them on top of or in between squarer items.

Purchase some knickknacks to spruce up the place

Use different levels. Altering the height of the objects on your coffee table is another way to liven up the space. In this case, too, the "rule of three" holds true. Use objects of varying sizes or stack them in ascending order to reach a range of three heights.

Here, designer Kate Jackson uses the principle that putting the tallest item in the center creates a more aesthetically pleasing symmetry. However, a bit of calculated asymmetry can be striking in its own right. Heightening the ensemble will make it feel more active and interesting.

The use of floral arrangements and candlelight You can take your coffee table decor to new heights by including the classics, like flowers and taper candles. Candlesticks can add a flash of glitzy metal, and flowers add a splash of color, making this a winning combination. Scandinavian fashion designer Madeleine Saltin used that concept brilliantly in her Stockholm apartment.

To add even more visual interest, cut an inch or two off the base of one candle in each candlestick.

Simple to practice environmental sustainability Energy is also added by plants, which introduce organic lines that contrast with manmade objects.

Decorate your coffee table with a plant (flowers, a leafy planter, or even an exotic cactus), a simple book (remove the jacket if it's too busy), and a sleek metal or glass bauble using the easy 1-2-3 formula:

An Easy Asymmetries It should be stressed at this juncture that the presented styling options represent merely one possible method. If following all of these rules and formulas seems too complicated, try what appears to be the simplest method of all: placing one item (or stack) asymmetrically almost all the way to one end, as in this house by Simon Mack Architecture. A long coffee table like this is easy to decorate. Put your feet up and enjoy the space
Commonly used in restaurants, square tables If you want your coffee table to be perfectly square, you might be tempted to use four identical pieces. However, by placing two separate pieces or groups, one in each corner, a more intriguing effect is achieved. Bolognino suggests putting a tall vase or lantern in one corner with a stack of books in another (and a light sculptural accent on top).

Find some square coffee tables to buy

Refectory Tables Made of Glass When accessorizing a glass coffee table, remember that it's not all about the things you place on top. In this Toronto apartment, I went with a graphic rug to complement the see-through table. For something different, try a black-and-white rug with geometric shapes or a bare table to draw attention to the rug.

Dual-shelf desks You are not obligated to make use of the lower shelf in your coffee table if it has one, as seen in this living room by Park and Oak Design. Avoid using sets of three by instead using two pairs of varying heights. A small basket or box with a lid can be used to conceal clutter on the ground level while providing a convenient spot to store items like remote controls.

Irregularly shaped tables When the table is a weird curvy shape like the one in this Swedish house, it makes a great plant friend. Our Company, Alvhem Mkleri & Interiör Softly cascading flowers, such as tulips, are perfect because their organic forms complement the table shape and you don't need a lot of extra drama.

Fabric-topped tables Decorating an upholstered ottoman coffee table is the same as decorating any other coffee table, provided you use flat items (such as books) as a base. To simplify things, as shown here by Davies Design Build, you can use a single serving tray, place a glass vase or dish on top, and then drape a throw over the top to complete the look. Elegant simplicity, just as a tufted ottoman was designed to be.
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