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Coffee Table Style

Photography by Michael Patch

The coffee table is often the unsung hero of any seating arrangement. Not only does it anchor the space, providing a focal point around which to gather the sofa and chairs, but practically speaking, it provides a surface for necessary items like drinks, books and remote controls. Here, take a page from six area designers about how to style your coffee table for both function and good looks.

Ashley Hilbish and Mady Greer of Curtains, Blinds and Bath create a look that’s both seasonal and timeless, with a mix of glam and rustic elements. Pumpkins nestled in black duster pans hint that fall is in the air, while a stack of design books provides both visual weight and height for the color-blocked vase holding lagrus grass. “We love a touch of black on this light, glass table,” says Greer, noting that some clients shy from incorporating black until they realize the rich depth it provides to any look. A brass bowl holds an artificial fern for that lively touch of green. “We love an overstyled coffee table; we find that overstyling creates a vibrant and designer effect, but don’t forget to leave room to be practical and actually use the table,” says Greer.

Kathy Potts of Decorating Den Interiors designed this look around on-trend green and honey tones. Metallic and glass orbs and squash hint at the season and provide contrasting textures, while the large boxwood orb stands solo in a textured bowl. “We love using evergreen plants like boxwood when decorating because they can be used all year long, keeping a liveliness to the home,” says Potts. “Combining this greenery with metallics is perfect for autumn, as it bridges the freshness of summer and the festivities of the holiday season.” Potts also says to keep sight lines in mind when styling a coffee table. Since this hard-working piece is central in a conversational seating area or in front of a television, it’s important to incorporate lowlying accessories like books, plants, decorative coasters or shallow bowls.

Troy Deacon of High Cotton Fine Home Furnishings and Gifts uses a collection of lacquer tortoise boxes in varying sizes and shapes as a backdrop for a menagerie of interesting brass animal figures in this pretty but practical arrangement. Decorative boxes provide the perfect place to stash the remote, reading glasses and spare cocktail napkins. Greenery spilling from one of the boxes is an unexpected note of color in an otherwise neutral look. Clustering the collection at the center as well as on the table’s bottom shelf allows plenty of room for drinks, snacks and the latest read.

Lia Melder of Reid’s Fine Furnishings uses classic blues and greens to create a look that’s “put together without being cluttered,” she explains. The game of tic-tac-toe is elevated in this crystal rendition; blue and white jars provide height and interest while vases in varying shades of blue hold fresh greenery. Melder stacked design books on the lower level of the table. “I kept the items on top off to one side so there is plenty of usable space,” she says. “I offset that with books and small pots on the bottom shelf.”

Sarah Girten of Sarah Girten Interiors says she loves incorporating a tray in coffee table designs. Here, the tray adds a vibrant pop of green while providing the perfect place for a favorite glass of wine. “I am a believer of function and beauty, which is why this coffee table set up is simple,” says Girten. A small stack of coffee table books topped a round cheetahglass vase and fresh fall flowers finish the look with texture and height.

Jackie Barringer of Portobello Road captures her love of pumpkins by using interior-friendly velvet pumpkins for this fall table display. “Velvet pumpkins have such an elegant, warm patina, and make a room feel cozy too,” she says. “They pick up the feeling/color of the changing leaves outside. Add a fire in the fireplace, family, and of course food, and you’ve got a perfect afternoon.” An old barrel lid, glass cloche and vintage ceramic deer keep things interesting on the table’s surface while an old commercial thread drawer on the bottom shelf holds fall flowers. “The table’s mirror definitely adds a finishing touch to the display,” Barringer says.

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