Easy coffee table styling

If you can’t tell, I’m on a die hard quest to perfect my styling. As I’ve said before, I believe that there’s a fine art to arranging pieces in a pleasing, looks-intentionally-unintentional way. While I didn’t exactly hate the styling on our coffee table before, I wasn’t exactly over-the-moon about it either.


Speaking of the coffee table…This piece is hands down my favorite thrifted piece of furniture we own (even when stacked against our newly refurbished mid-century dresser in the bedroom). It came from this fabulous antique shop on the way to Charlottesville, Virginia and cost only $40. I have to give John all the credit for this particular find – It was sitting outside under a porch overhang, covered by all manor of discarded pieces of junk. When he first pointed it out to me, I was conflicted. I wasn’t so sure about the tiled top, but after envisioning the piece with a glossy orange or yellow paint job, I decided to take a chance on it. Once we got it home though, there was no need to touch the tile – It managed to tie together the plethora of wood tones throughout the space and proved to be the indispensable center of the room, both figuratively and physically.

A quick history? After flipping it over to put in the car trunk, we found a small inscription on the underside of the table top:


To Virginia S Pedding 
for graduation present from Mr. Mrs. Poscoe Emley
Roanoke Indiana
Wood from own farm
July 1970

How. Cool. Is. That? Did I mention that it’s my favorite piece in the house?

While the finish isn’t changing anytime soon (like, ever), the arrangement of pieces on top is always debatable depending upon mood. Before tackling a little rearranging, the left side sported a white tray, a tall metal candle holder, some flowers and a gold orb. The right side was home to a little wicker tray that helped to corral remotes and design books. Again, there was nothing particularly WRONG with the look, but I was feeling like a change.



The revised plan focused on bringing a little more color to the look, and adding sculptural elements for interest. It now feels a little more professional, and actually FUNCTIONS better too – More books and magazines, means more time logged getting my reading on couch side.


I nixed the white tray+candle holder+orb for a stack of new design books, my DIY gold coral figure and two vessels to help keep things neat and tidy (the paned wooden box from Target, and a tiny glass bowl brought home from the beach). Although I haven’t filled the box yet, I’m thinking that it would be perfect for a couple decks of playing cards and matches for the candle on the opposite end of the tabletop.




Speaking of that “other end,” I replaced the wicker basket with a larger wooden one. I was able to fill the glass insert with a piece of neon yellow wrapping paper in a houndstooth pattern, which helps give it a little bit of graphic appeal. The tray also assists in controlling clutter by playing host to our two remotes and stack of yet-to-be-read magazines. I also added a mercury vase with a single yellow bloom and a Cynthia Rowley candle from the clearance section of T.J.Maxx. The overlapping circles pattern on the glass mirrors the pattern on the feature wall in the room (as seen midway through our house tour), making it absolutely impossible to turn down at the store.




Part of me wishes there was little more height, but keeping things lower (and therefore more stable) with all the roaming tails we have pawing their way throughout the house day in and day out makes it hard to keep especially towering pieces in displayable condition. Gotta love those 3 fur balls…Despite their obvious rule over the house and its objects.



How do you guys go about styling your coffee tables? Any other thrifting success stories out there? We’d love to hear about them!

P.S. You have only through the weekend to enter for a chance to win a $50 stencil from Royal Design Studio!!! Get the details here – Good luck!

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