Ashton Woods Expertise

Style Your Coffee Table Like a Designer: 7 Tips from Our Design Team

What takes center stage in your living room? We’re guessing it’s a coffee table. For many families, the coffee table is one of the most used furniture pieces in the house. But it’s more than just a place to toss the remote or enjoy takeout with a movie. With a little love, your coffee table can be a design centerpiece — a place to show your sense of style, as well as store the things you need.

We spoke with our team of designers about their own living room tables. Here are their tips for taking a coffee table from drab to fab.

1. Follow the Rule of Three

“When crafting the perfect coffee table design, I swear by the ‘Rule of Three.’ Three distinct elements, like a sculptural figurine, a captivating art book, and a quirky trinket, harmonize effortlessly, creating an artful balance.”
- Sarah Cooper, Studio Manager, Raleigh

2. Organize with Trays

“The coffee table is multi-functional at my house! It serves as a game table, a desk for my youngest son and a buffet on movie night, so having everything contained and easily moveable works great for my lifestyle. A tray is a must for my active family!”
- Regina Hazelwood, Design Studio Consultant, Atlanta

3. Consider Materials

“Skip glass tables. Consider your lifestyle before choosing a glass coffee table. They are impossible to keep clean and not safe for high-traffic areas or busy people or families with young children. Opt for a wood table with storage (A.K.A. drawers or baskets). It’s easier to keep some of the ‘function’ organized in the drawers, and then anything decorative on top. Also, trays are a game changer for function meets pretty.”
- Leigh Spicher, Director of Design Studios

4. Stay Functional

“Keep your coffee table simple! You don’t want to add too many items and make it cluttered. A good rule of thumb is to cover up to 40% of your coffee table. Add items that will help with organization as well, such as a tray for your TV remote and a bowl for a candle lighter.”
- Camila Costa Smolensky, Studio Design Consultant, Raleigh

5. Switch with the Seasons

“I like to keep my décor pieces simple and neutral so that I can easily swap any of them for a fun seasonal piece, like a decorative pumpkin.”
- Paige Vassenkov, Design Studio Consultant, Atlanta

6. Incorporate Aromas

“I often maintain the year-round style but like to substitute my fresh element to coordinate with my seasonal color influence. One of my go-to additions for Fall is to incorporate fresh herbs, like rosemary or sage into my greenery. It’s festive, pleasing to the eye, and heightens the seasonal aromas of fall.”
- Jennifer Alonso, Design Studio Manager, Charleston

7. Be Realistic

“Right now, I have on my coffee table slime of several variations. None of which are in containers. Also, markers without caps (those are under the coffee table). Our coffee table doubles as an ottoman too, so there is usually someone’s feet on it. My goal is to keep the coffee table clear of all the above-mentioned items. If I get to have it all to myself or we’ve just cleaned it, then it is home to an actual cup of coffee, a journal, and my Kindle.”
- Leigh Spicher, Director of Design Studios

Want More Design Tips?

Check out our blog post about the latest interior design trends. And if you’d like to work with our designers on building a beautiful home, get in touch with our team.