What room in the house is more multi-purpose than the living room? It’s the place you spend your evenings. It’s the place you invite guests. It’s where you share the special moments with the people you love. And what is the heart of the living room, but the coffee table? The coffee table can be a place to store the staples of the living room – like that remote you can never find – or a place to eat. It can be a gaming center or fill the room with holiday spirit from the decorations. So what are some useful tricks for decorating the table?

Your coffee table is an expression of you. What kind of person are you? When you’re in your living room, what are you spending your time on? Below are some design elements you can use to design the perfect coffee table for your living room.

The Book Worm

Books can be such a wide decorating tool. They come in all colors and all sorts of topics. Pick books that represent what you want to say. Choose colors to match your sofa and overall aesthetic of the room. If you have a beige sofa, dark wood end table and entertainment center, and a blue throw and pillows thrown on the sofa, you can bring that color out even more with a stack of blue books. Choose 2-3 larger coffee table books and come in complementary shades of blue. Pair it with blue glass in the form of votives or a lovely vase. If your coffee table has shelves in the lower part, make a nice row of books below too. Don’t forget to add the latest novel you’ve been reading too.


Organization is practical and stylish. Trays go a long way towards pulling in all your essentials, giving them in a home, and making the space look high end. Square or rectangle trays give defined lines that elevate the style. A series of matching trays in various sizes are a great idea too.


Nature is a great idea to bring inside and add to the space. If you can commit to it, fresh live plants will bring a clean style and some extra fresh air to boot. Consider the care for the plant and ensure the pot is contained and your other pieces of furniture like your rug and sofa are not going to get drenched in plant water.

If you don’t want to stress over a plant watering schedule, you can still bring in the outside through other various natural elements. Think natural wood pieces like dried limbs, woven baskets from hemp, or low maintenance items like succulents.

Personal Items

A great addition to a coffee table are things that mean something to you. Things that will bring you joy when you look at them every day. A nice framed family photo or a knickknack that has meaning to you can sit front and center.


The most crucial thing in coffee table decorating is not to go too far. Keep it down to 3-4 items max on the table that stay permanently. Don’t fill the entire space. Lots of open real estate on the table will be practical – for when you want to bring in a bowl of popcorn for a movie night – and pleasing to the eyes of anyone viewing the space.

Once you know what kind of items you want to bring to the space, next, you need to know how to arrange it all.

Focal Point

Choose one item to be the focal point on the table. Too many dominant pieces will catch the eye, but not in a good way. It gets busy fast when you try to smash too many objects on a small space.


You can go symmetrical by adding 2 of an object, but asymmetrical can be much more pleasing to the eyes.


The coffee table space is an excellent area to experiment with bold colors. You can match the decor of the room by choosing items that match the accent color of the room, but you can also go much bolder. If your room is decorated in the neutral color ranges, grab some pops of color for the tabletop. Don’t be afraid of orange or yellow.


Lamps are a great addition to a coffee table. It’s not uncommon to find a space in the living room that the permanent light fixture just doesn’t hit. A lamp can help get that light where it is needed. A coffee table can be a space for a child to do homework and could use a lamp to help light it up. A puzzle could be put together under the light of a lamp. Lamps also come in lots of great styles and can be a great stylish choice for a coffee table.

Alternatives to coffee tables

Not everyone has or wants a coffee table in their living room, and that’s ok. You may choose to completely omit a coffee table, but you may also choose an alternative table to style as well.

A sofa table is an excellent accent to a living room. A sofa table lives at the back of the sofa. There aren’t any set sizes for sofa tables, but most fall within 10-15 inches wide and about the height of the back of your sofa. The height of the table will depend on how the room is set up. If you want a sofa with a sofa table behind it floating in the middle of the room, you will want to go about the same height or slightly shorter by a couple of inches. However, if you are butting the table against the wall with the sofa in front, choose a sofa table a few inches taller. As far as length goes, a sofa table should be somewhere between 66-75% of the length of your couch. This will ensure that you can still easily walk around the sofa without bumping into the sofa table.

Another alternative to a coffee table is end tables. When you choose end tables, they will be relatively smaller in surface area than a coffee or sofa table. You may, therefore, choose to have a few tables, one on each end of the couch(es). This will give everyone a space to place what is needed on them.

Whatever your choice for coffee table decor may be, consider the room as a whole. Your coffee table should remain useable, but making a beautiful style and decoration can transform a room. Visit Another Man’s Treasure in Lexington, KY today, to see what treasures you may find to spruce up the space, whether that may be a new coffee table or some decorations for your existing table.