How to Style a Coffee Table Into a Stunning Conversation Centerpiece

The new year is upon us, which means this is a perfect time to spruce up your living space. Especially with so many of us spending more time at home, why not make it a more comfortable and beautiful place? One great way to do this is by styling your coffee table. And the best news? It is simple and does not have to cost you a dime.

This guide will show you how to style a coffee table so that it becomes a stunning conversation centerpiece. Keep reading to learn more.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Selecting a Coffee Table

Ready for a new coffee table? You should select a coffee table that caters to two specific needs.


Coffee tables tend to fall into two functional categories; storage or surface only. Storage tables have drawers or a chest style that allow you to store items inside. These tables are an excellent choice for families with toys, blankets, or other things that would need to be stored away. 


Your coffee table in and of itself is a design centerpiece in your living space. Use it as an opportunity to express your aesthetic. For a coastal design, consider rattan or lighter wooden elements. A concrete table is perfect for a more modern, minimal design style.

Coffee Table Styling Foundations

Styling a coffee table, new or existing, is a process of adding layers. Read on for the first foundational layers of your coffee table decor. 

Start With a Base Layer

The base layer of every styled coffee table is a tray. Trays are both decorative and functional. They can protect your table’s surface from potentially damaging decor items and provide an additional decorative finish. A general rule of thumb is that the tray you select should still leave between 1/2 and 2/3 of the coffee table surface area available. Choosing a tray is a simple process. 

For a sleek, minimal style, choose a tray that has a similar shape to your coffee table. In achieving that modern style, you will want the tray’s finish to resemble but not be identical to your table. For a more eclectic, romantic design, consider choosing a large tray with different but complementary shapes and finishes to your coffee table.

Using Coffee Table Books

The next layer of decor should be a small selection of coffee table books. Choosing the right combination of coffee table books is an art that includes finding books that are aesthetically pleasing and also that cater to your interests. 

The book covers should be in neutral or matching tones that pair well with your overall design aesthetic. 

You stack your books on the decorative tray while leaving about 1/3 of the tray surface area available for other items. Now the tray is the ideal home for your favorite titles.

Adding to Your Coffee Table Decor

Once you have selected a tray and coffee table books, the next step is to finish with other functional and decorative elements. 

Storage Considerations

If your coffee table is missing storage on the sides or underneath then, you will want to select a decorative box or container that you can use to store remotes, matchboxes, or other items. This box should hold items that you wish to have nearby but that does not interrupt your table’s overall decorative style. Place this small storage container on your tray.

Additional Decor Elements

The finishing touches should be decorative elements that fit your preferences and lifestyle. A few ideas include:

You should limit these decorative items to four or less.

Related: Inspiration – The Colors of Miami’s South Beach

Remember This

Decorating a coffee table is the art of combining function, design, and personality to form a centerpiece that fits your home. For more home inspiration and ideas, explore our blog.

Inspiration: The Colors of Miami’s South Beach

Whether you live blocks from the ocean or vacation in South Beach, Miami, Florida, there is one thing that always stands out: the colors. Southern Florida, coastal and inland, homes can take inspiration and bring the recognizable palette of this area into your everyday life. Who would not want to feel like they are in South Beach soaking up the sun every day?

Related: Understanding Home Styles

South Beach is not only well-known amongst Floridians, but this unique location has inspired decor and interiors all over the world. Residences have taken nods from South Beach’s sparkling white backdrops with transparent materials and light neutrals that sometimes appear to be reflecting the colors of the ocean. Pops of unexpected color remind visitors of the stark palm trees that line the streets and dot the oceanside. One thing is clear when taking inspiration from South Beach; it is encouraged to be bold and have fun.

Textures and Shades Make White Interesting

Colors of Miami’s South Beach Sherbet

Do not be intimidated by white-based palettes. By adding texture, you can create a warm, inviting space that is never sterile or cold. Consider using white-inspired countertops in kitchens, bathrooms, and other serving surfaces. Companies like Silestone offer more than 16 shades and textures of white surfaces. When decorating with upholstery and fabrics, consider washed cotton, linen, twill, vinyl, flannel, sateen, and even canvas for its durability. By mixing different textures of fabric, a white backdrop will be attractive to the eye. Also, your walls do not have to depend on paint solely. White grasscloth wallpaper can shift the eye vertically and continue the white-theme higher in a room.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Ocean Not Required

South Beach Colors Dining Table

In South Beach, a white-based palette is accentuated by the beautiful aqua and marine colors that the ocean views bring into a home. But if those colors are not outside your window, accents of these shades will remind you of these tranquil views. Take a nod from any glass shelf, end table, coffee table, or dining table top you have. Pull this inspiration color into your throw pillows, art, accent pieces, and rugs to feel like an ocean breeze could come through your windows at any time.

Pops of Color

South Beach Colors Living Room

Now that you know how to create a tranquil backdrop, it is time to consider a pop of color and pattern. From the yellow beach umbrellas to the red and white striped lifeguard stands and sherbet colored art deco district buildings, South Beach is full of color. Homeowners can even take a nod from the palm trees and tie them into their decor. With low commitment and tons of personality, consider trying a peel and stick wallpaper with bright green tropical leaves. Also, South Beach has multiple hotels that can inspire a one-of-kind look. Consider the Red South Beach Hotel which showcases how a pop of color and warm wood tones can steal the show in a mostly white room.

Finally, South Beach-inspired decors should not be cookie-cutter. Miami’s art scene, international influences, architecture, and coastal scenery can be interpreted in many ways. What’s most important is that you take the time to figure out what inspires you about South Beach, then decorate your home, so it gives you the feeling of this coastal city.

Understanding Home Styles and What Makes Them Unique

Image Source: American Glass & Window Inc.

One of the things that makes Florida beautiful is the diversity of its people and culture. Whether you’re in the panhandle, central area, or even the Florida Keys, there are numerous styles of homes that make each area (and its neighborhoods’) unique. If you’re considering buying or building, understanding house styles will help you select the right place to make your home.

Related: See 2020 Coastal Design Trends

What is a craftsman home?

Home Styles Craftsman Home

If you’ve ever heard the term “Arts & Crafts” know its original reference came from the late 19th-century British and American movement to revive handicrafts. With this movement came what we know today as the craftsman home, or the bungalow.

This style of home usually has the following characteristics:

  • Built with natural materials such as wood, stone or brick
  • The interior may have built-ins in the living areas, dining spaces, etc.
  • Low pitched roofs with wide eaves and triangular brackets are typical for Craftsman (in fact you can see this trend making a comeback in other styles of homes today)
  • In original Craftsman homes, a fireplace is commonly used as a focal point in a room or multiple rooms
  • Most of these homes are known for their expansive front porches that have columns squared-off consisting of wood or stone

Finding an original Craftsman style home can be tricky. Still, this style of home has had a resurgence, and today’s more modern versions follow the original style but offer more amenities for today’s modern homeowner.

What is a ranch style home?

Home Styles Ranch Home

Around 1920, is when America started to embrace the ranch style home. This home style grew tremendously after WWII because of its customizability and ease of construction. As more families were looking to put down roots, the ranch style home started showing up across the entire nation, and each geographic area added their spin to it.

Although it can be somewhat tricky to nail down the “must-haves” for a ranch home, there are a few things that do seem to remain consistent with this style of home, no matter where it exists.

A ranch home usually has:

  • A low-pitch, long roofline (note that originally these homes were mostly one-story)
  • A mixture of materials used on the exterior (these can include brick, wood, stone and even stucco)
  • Overhang eaves
  • Large windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Attached garages or carports

Ranch homes remain popular today as they align with open space living and celebrate bringing the outdoors in with an abundance of windows.

What is modern home design?

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Posted by CGI Windows and Doors on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Modern home design was the answer to the overly fancy, ornate, and sometimes cluttered architecture that was popular in the late 19th century. Although modern design was probably most recognized in the 1920s with its art-deco movement, it made a splash in the 1950s, and 1960’s when its mid-century modern style had its moment (which is having a comeback today).

When it comes to modern homes, you will usually see:

  • Minimalist, nothing ornate, interiors, and exteriors. But don’t confuse this with contemporary, which can be viewed as cold or stark.
  • Materials such as wood, metal, and brick used both inside and out
  • Clean architectural lines
  • Open concept living
  • Large windows (sometimes going floor to ceiling) and the use of picture windows

Modern homes, especially modern mid-century, are trending. The good thing is that most retail stores are taking notice of this trend and selling accessories and furniture that align with this house style.

What is Mediterranean home?

Thanks to Liberty Impact Windows & Doors for showcasing this project with our Sparta windows and sliding glass door. The homeowner is most excited about the noise reduction our impact products provide.

Posted by CGI Windows and Doors on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Mediterranean home style mostly shows up in coastal areas, and this explains its prominence in Florida. If you’ve ever spent time (or obsessively Googled) the Mediterranean coast, this is the style of home you see inland and along the seaside. A combination of Italian and Spanish architecture, some people may think of these as villa style homes also.

Mediterranean homes share similar characteristics to the homes that inspired them along the blue sea. Most Mediterranean homes have:

  • Stucco exteriors and stone (often in white but colors show up as well)
  • Tiled roofs
  • Symmetrical exteriors (evenly balanced windows, etc.)
  • Arched windows and doorways
  • Wrought iron detailing on door handles, balconies, etc.

Photo Gallery: Explore Our Sparta Collection

What is a coastal cottage home?

Home Styles Coastal Cottage

When most people think of a cottage, they think of something quaint, modest, and homey. The cottage has been the backdrop of many children’s stories and is something most people are familiar with. When looking at the coastal cottage home style, most cottage characteristics remain the same, there is sometimes a bit more flair with color and not as much stone is used. Some common characteristics of cottage style homes include:

  • Use of wood on the exterior and possibly shingles to highlight architectural features
  • Exterior trellis
  • White-washed interiors
  • Wooden floors
  • Inviting, simple interiors that are functional for day-to-day living

No matter the style of home you live in, you can always take nods from its architecture or use that as a backdrop and decorate in a completely different decor style. Floridians are fortunate, as they can choose from any of these styles, and others, no matter where they are in the state.

2020 Coastal Design Trends

Whether you live inland, have expansive ocean views, or are somewhere in between, the feel the coast exudes can be part of any home interior. Explore the top coastal-inspired home trends for 2020 and start thinking about how you’ll apply them to your home.

Photo Gallery: Discover Our Sparta Collection

Cabinets with Coastal Flare

When people think of upgrading or designing their kitchen or bathroom color scheme, they initially envision the countertops, the floors, or wall colors. But your cabinets take up a lot of real estate and are the perfect place to add some coastal flare. The team at Hatch Works went with a not-so-subtle sunny days inspiration in the kitchen while the Studio McGee team offers the more subtle shoreline hues on a cloudy day.


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Wallpaper is Back

Why is wallpaper new again? First, it offers a lot of bang for your buck. But today’s wallpaper offers multiple options. There are peel and stick, paste the wall, and paste the paper options. Also, many wallpaper styles are washable, which is a great option for any kid or pet-friendly home. If using wallpaper in an entire room or even as an accent wall still has you nervous, consider using it in the backing of shelves for a surprise pop of tropical flare. This palm leaf wallpaper, “…is full of vibrant color. The lime green leaves pop against a beige linen print background,” according to Brewster Home Fashion.


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A Single Bold Coastal Statement

Your entire home does not have to be coastal themed, but you can still incorporate the coast into your design with a bold statement piece. You could install ship lack above the fireplace (or as an accent wall), add (or wrap existing) ceiling beams in distressed wood, or find a beautiful oversized piece of art that reminds you of the warm summer breezes that roll off the water. Also, never forget the power of a fresh coat of paint from a beautiful coastal color collection to make a big impact.

Related: Make a Statement with Sentinel Products


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When designing a room, there are no rules. How far you take these coastal themed trends is up to you. As long as you walk into the room and it reminds you of your favorite shoreline experiences, then you’ve accomplished coastal home decor.