How To Dress Up Your Coffee Table, Step By Step

I’ve been obsessed with interior design since my early twenties. Since moving into my first apartment ever, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two. Most importantly, I’ve learned that design and décor do not have to break the bank.

 Photo Credit: Justin Coit

Photo Credit: Justin Coit

 Photo Credit: Troy House

Photo Credit: Troy House

A lot of times, a well-designed living space has nothing to do with that fabulous (and expensive) vintage leather couch your husband almost killed you over. It has do with the details. The devil is all in the details. In my book, Everyday Chic (which is out on Oct. 10th!) I profess my love for a stylized vignette. If there’s a flat and bland surface in my home, you better believe I’m dressing it up. I find it’s the easiest way to create a unique focal point and personality to a room. A vignette can be styled anywhere from that front entryway table you don’t know what to do with, a vintage bar cart, or some wooden shelving that needs a little love.

My personal favorite is a well-curated coffee table. To avoid over-cluttering, there’s a way to do it right. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how I master the look and how to DIY on any budget:

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1. Start with a large, oversized tray. There are a million great sources for these, including Home Goods, Jonathan Adler, and One Kings Lane. Place it in the center of your coffee table.

2. Depending on the size of the tray, add a few found objects or small accessories. These can be things you find around the house or some new finds. I like to change up my coffee table so these can be switched out or mixed and matched from season to season.

3. Place a stack or two of books beside your tray (or arrange as I’ve done above) I love books on fashion, photography, film, or design. Choose what reflects your interests and passions. Clic Gallery in NYC and Amazon have great options. For vintage, my designer Dan Scotti always has luck at Books By The Foot or any thrift shop.

4. Add a photo in a reflective frame. Silver is always classic but it depends on your color scheme. Rose gold is also a great choice to mix and match with.

5. Include something fresh, something floral, or both, like a single rose in an interesting vessel, a vase with low blooms, or a bowl of fresh fruit in one shade.

6. Never forget a candle. They are endlessly elegant!

7. Arrange the items together to create a sense of proportion and balance. It might take a bit of finessing, but you will love the end result!

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EVERYDAY CHIC TIP: For inspiration, look everywhere. Consult with a designer or a friend who has an eye you trust, comb through design magazines and websites (like My Domaine, Domino, and Dwell), and don’t be afraid to take some ideas from your friends and neighbors. I also love creating mood boards on Pinterest with my favorite color palettes and pieces so I play around with them before purchasing. For more design and décor tips like these, you’ll find a whole chapter of them in my new book, Everyday Chic: My Secrets for Entertaining, Organizing, and Decorating at Home out October 10th. 

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.