A coffee table isn’t just the anchor to your living room – it’s the focal point of your seating arrangement. A bare surface can feel almost harsh from a visual standpoint, mainly because of the hard materials that comprise most coffee tables. Counterintuitively, keeping a coffee table clutter-free can actually have the effect of inviting clutter like a magnet. Instead, take the opportunity to fill the space with a few special accents that show your personal style. From vases to natural elements, here are just a few of our favorite accessories currently for sale that are perfect for the coffee table:
1. Graphic Vase
How to display it: This vase has such a striking pattern, it can hold its own without further accessories. If incorporating other accents, opt for those in natural textures. Polished woods, woven seagrass low baskets or trays, clay decorative objects and even white shells pair nicely with the earthy shades within this motif.
2. Teardrop-Shaped Tray
How to display it: A tray with an organic shape, like this teardrop-shaped design, helps break up the straight lines of a square or rectangular coffee table. Trays also function as a way to frame decorative elements, so they don’t seem as if they’re “floating” on the table surface. This shallow design can hold anything from fresh citrus fruit to candles, or can just be left bare to best enjoy the subtle imperfections on its surface.
3. Crystal Figurine
How to display it: Small objets d’art – especially small glass or brass figurines – are ideal for displaying on a coffee table. (They add an unexpected whimsical element that looks far less fussy than when displayed on a shelf as part of a collection.) This petite frog can sit atop an artful stack of books, next to a bouquet or on a tray with other decorative elements. We particularly love placing glass pieces near candles, where they can catch the glimmering light of the flame.
4. Glass Bowl
How to display it: Like trays, bowls help frame elements into a vignette. Stones, crystals, decorative spheres or citrus are the usual choices. However, some bowls are beautiful enough that they’re even better when kept empty – like this gorgeous Toots Zynsky design. The ribbed texture in red, yellow and blue adds unexpected color to your coffee table, while also calling attention to the bowl’s unique shape. Place it atop a low stack of books (or a single thick art book) to create a “pedestal,” then position next to a taller floral arrangement for contrast. (You can also place this vignette inside a roomy tray to bring another shape into this arrangement.)
5. Nature-Inspired Ceramic
How to display it: Nature-inspired forms and natural specimens like fossils, shells, minerals, driftwood and coral can function similarly to sculptures in a coffee table setting. Displaying these pieces depends on the size and shape. This Sandra Davolio piece, like the Toots Zynsky bowl, could be placed on top of books to elevate it slightly, then place it next to a taller element for contrast. You can also use it to fill space in an allover display of books, plants, candles and anything else that comes to mind. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
6. Modern Sculpture
How to display it: At 18″ in height, this shapely sculpture should be the tallest element on the table – all the better to draw the eye to the graceful form. Candles in metal or glass containers, low stacks of art books, pieces of driftwood or petrified wood and modern bud vases are all good options that help visually balance your vignette without distracting from the piece.
7. Coffee Table Book
How to display it: A little on the nose, yes, but an eye-catching coffee table book is de riguer when decorating your coffee table. From fashion photography to art to architecture, coffee table books are generally large in scale, meant to please the eye and not for deep reading, although there are exceptions. This Mert Alas, Marcus Piggott book is visually arresting and covers the work of the creative tour de force who have styled and shot some of the most powerful brands and personalities of our time, from Miu Miu to Angelina Jolie, Givenchy to Gisele Bündchen. Whether by itself or in a neat pile of similar-sized books, these tomes can serve as a base for a small sculpture or vase.