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How to Decorate a Modern Coffee Table

Coffee tables are often the centerpiece of the living room. We arrange seating around the coffee table. We use it to hold essentials such as books and drink coasters. It becomes an impromptu appetizer buffet when it’s time to entertain. So why is it easy to get stuck when it comes to decorating the modern coffee table? Perhaps it’s because sleek, carefully curated spaces demand the thoughtful placement of decor. Our advice: have fun with it. Not to mention, sometimes less is more. Keep reading for helpful tips and eye-catching examples of modern coffee table style!

Less Is More

When in doubt, leave it out. This simple phrase can be a guiding principle as you style your modern coffee table. And even if your coffee table is made of stone, remember that nothing is set in stone when it comes to coffee table decor! You can always add and take away items as needed. Start simple with one large statement, such as a dish filled with seashells:

Dish of shells on a modern coffee table
Dish of shells on a modern coffee table (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

RELATED: How to Style a Coffee Table

Sometimes our first instinct is to cover large surfaces with an array of items. Yet lots of “stuff” can make even the largest of spaces seem cluttered. Try leaving a portion of your coffee table exposed for a clean look:

Minimal coffee table decor
Minimal coffee table decor (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Tempted to display your entire vase collection? Start with just one. You may decide that one is all it takes!

Coffee table with a sleek vase
Coffee table with a sleek vase (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

For those who prefer a bountiful yet tidy look, try placing one bloom-filled vase on your coffee table. The look is abundant yet contemporary, especially if you choose interesting flowers for your arrangement!

Floral arrangement on a coffee table by Montbel
Floral arrangement on a coffee table by Montbel (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Mellow Tones

If a grouping of items interests you and you’re determined to keep the look low-key, try taking a mellow approach. Choose items in understated tones, such as soft blue. You can also opt for a monochromatic feel by sticking to objects in the same color family.

Coffee table decor in mellow tones
Coffee table decor in mellow tones (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

…or items of the very same color or material!

Monochromatic coffee table decor
Monochromatic coffee table decor (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

A trio of vases makes a lovely yet calm statement on the low coffee table below. The dual-toned surface of the smallest vase creates just the right amount of drama. More on adding drama in the next section!

Trio of vases on a low coffee table
Trio of vases on a low coffee table (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

A tone-on-tone strategy is unexpected. By matching the decor to the color of the coffee table, items stand out simply because the concept is interesting. Plus, the look is anything but cluttered, as both decor and table make a unified statement.

Monochromatic coffee table style
Monochromatic coffee table style (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Transparent glass is another way to go, whether the glass is colorful or clear. Try filling a clear container with sculptural objects (or one artful item) for an alluring centerpiece:

Coffee table featuring sculptural decor
Coffee table featuring sculptural decor (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

If a grouping interests you, it never hurts to keep the colors neutral. Gray, black, beige and brass are a great place to start. Sometimes all it takes is greenery to add a dose of natural color.

Coffee table decor in understated shades
Coffee table decor in understated shades (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Creating Drama

So understated isn’t your style? Adding drama just might be the way to go. Even when it comes to bold statements, sometimes less is more. Especially when the focal point is this interesting:

Coffee table with sculptural artwork
Coffee table with sculptural artwork (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

RELATED: Trendy Coffee Table Ideas For The Modern Minimalist

Large sculptural items are the perfect choice for modern coffee tables. Bonus points if you showcase a centerpiece that’s delightfully unexpected!

Coffee table with a sculptural elephant
Coffee table with a sculptural elephant (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

A grouping of items gets a big dose of drama by varying the height of the items on display. Below we see a collection of interesting, elegant items, including a trio of striking black vases:

Dramatic coffee table decor
Dramatic coffee table decor (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Don’t forget about the power of one large vase containing sculptural flowers. We’re fans of calla lilies:

Calla lilies add drama and height to a low coffee table
Calla lilies add drama and height to a low coffee table (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

Last but not least, instead of focusing on a cluster of items, you can add drama by grouping a cluster of tables, especially if the tables are slightly different heights. Since more is more when it comes to the tables below, clean-lined vases are all that’s needed to top them!

Vary the height of your coffee table decor
Vary the height of your coffee table decor (Image by Alex Ion / Decoist.com)

We hope today’s post inspired you with a range of options. Don’t be afraid to go bold! Have fun and adjust the arrangement as needed. Happy decorating!

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