How To :: Style a Coffee Table for Real Life... with a husband

One thing that’s always bugged me about our living room was our dark wood coffee table against our large brown sofa (brown on brown on brown). So, when we received a West Elm gift card as a wedding present I immediately purchased this beautiful coffee table I’d been eyeing. I wanted a round coffee table to go with the curve of our sofa, visually light to not overwhelm our already tight space, and a color/finish that would contrast against the large brown sofa. Check, check, and check. It arrived while I was at work and I came home to see it set up in our living and… completely covered by a laptop, drink cup, remotes and game controllers.

So, I asked myself, “how do you style a coffee table for REAL life, with a husband?” and here’s what I found…

Use a tray :: using a tray visually anchors your coffee table accessories and allows you to corral everything so that it looks intentional and better yet, can be easily removed should you need to eat a pizza or prop up your feet. Let’s be real people, we all do it.


Keep it simple:: While a highly accessorized coffee table is beautiful, they’re not very realistic. At least not in my house. The accessories will end up constantly shuffled around to make room for remotes, controllers, and Netflix binges. Save yourself the trouble and leave open space for the reoccurring miscellaneous coffee table intruders.



Vary shapes, heights, and textures :: as with all styling, the key is balance and interest. Regardless of how stylized or simplistic you choose to go, be sure your coffee table has a variety of shapes, heights, and textures to give it visual interest. Add a plant or sculptural element for height, something low and horizontal - like the tray or a stack of books. Remember - things look better in a grouping of three so add in something in between like a chunky candle, or a unique object.



Prepare yourself for feet, X-box controllers, and other manly things :: let's be real, it's life with a husband, and I wouldn't want it any other way!





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