Coffee tables come in many different sizes and styles, and are often the centerpiece of a living room. Mix and match the seven basic accessories below to quickly arrange a tablescape with style and substance.

Shop our full collection of tabletop accents on Sotheby’s Home, and don’t forget check if your coffee table itself could use an upgrade.

1. Books

Stack books to add height. Start with the largest book you have, and layer up from there. Use books as a platform or riser for other decorative objects. Remove dust jackets from books to reveal pretty bindings in different textures and colors. Choose books that are great conversation starters, or that you’ll want to pick up again and again when enjoying the room.
Our picks: Taschen’s David Hockney A Bigger Book Sumo, Collector’s EditionContemporary African And New Guinea Art Book Collection, and Taschen’s The Nasa Archives 60 Years In Space.

2. Trays

Trays are a great way to gather together smaller items and keep them contained in one area. Vintage platters, plates and chargers can also be used as a place to gather smaller items like candles, boxes and vases. If you don’t have coasters, encourage guests to use your tray as a safe place to put down their wine glass without leaving damaging water rings.
Our picks: Arteriors Charles TrayFornasetti Lacquered Wood Tray, and Rococo Style Vanity Tray.

Designer Tip:
Add felt pads to the bottom of any accessories that might scratch the surface of your table.

3. Plants

Potted plants and cut flowers add life and dimension to your coffee table. Look for plants in beautiful shapes and hues. If you don’t have a green thumb, look for succulents that are easy to care for and don’t require constant attention. Use vases and planters to add another layer of beauty and height to your plants.
Our picks: Johnathan Clappison for Hornsea Pottery Amphora VaseNils Thorsson for Royal Copenhagen Blueberry Pillow Vase, and Mid-Century Modern Geometric Cylindrical Vase.

4. Art

Don’t overlook small sculptures that can be the focal point of your coffee table. A canvas or framed artwork on a pretty small easel or stand is an unexpected way to display artwork in the room. Play with scale by pairing large and small sculptures on the same table.
Our picks: Traditional Style Carved Benua’q FigureRon Reisman Dorothea Medallion, and Modern Style Pyramid Sculpture.

5. Decorative Boxes

Hide unsightly items like remote controls and matches in your boxes. Layer a box on the top of a stack of books. Use inlaid boxes with patterns, or boxes in pretty hues to add color and texture. Display a collection of small boxes on a tray.
Our picks: Maitland – Smith Parquetry SarcophagusSoutheast Asian Animal Form Trinket Boxes, and AERIN Modern Shagreen Square Box.

Designer Tip:
Remember, there’s no perfect way to style a coffee table. You can arrange and rearrange to your heart’s content, and that’s part of the fun. Focus on creating a balanced grid of items that make you proud.

6. Candles & Candleholders

A scented, lit candle creates a feast for the senses. The glow from a candle looks beautiful on a tabletop any time of day or night. Use candlesticks with tapered candles to add varying heights to your coffee table.
Our picks: Raju Peddada LumenModern Tall Inlaid Candleholders, and Contemporary Etched Hurricane Vases.

7. Picture Frames

Personalize your coffee table with family photos in beautiful frames. Frame photos from your favorite trips so you can share stories with friends and family. Look for frames in interesting textures and color.
Our picks: AERIN Tortoise Inlay FrameLinley Union Jack Picture Frame, and AERIN Classic Shagreen Medium Frame.

Designer Tip:
Leave breathing room on your coffee table so there’s always enough space for guests to put their drinks down. You’ll also want space to easily put a novel and your morning coffee down when you’re enjoying the room sans guests.

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