Hi, everyone! I am excited to begin a new series called Simply Styling. This series will focus on nooks in your home that can be difficult to style. I will help you take the guesswork out of decorating by providing ideas for practical and beautiful use of these tricky spaces. I believe that good design doesn’t work unless it works for you. That’s why I strive to make spaces as functional and “un-fussy” as possible. In an effort to make interior styling easier and less complicated, we will walk through a few short steps to help you “simply style”.
Today, I’m sharing my guide to simply styling my coffee table.
I found mine tucked away in a thrift store in Joplin, Missouri a few months before we got married. It was gold. It was modern. And it was $15. (The skies opened up and a heavenly spotlight descended upon it.) I thought it would be perfect for our home, until Ben sent me a photo of it sitting in our living room. It was tiny. Like, ideal for a bunny rabbit tea party tiny. I knew it wouldn’t work as an end table either, because it was also very short. (It currently serves as the perfect printer stand in my office, so not all was lost.)
The second (and current) table was also found in a Joplin thrift store. It was part of a living room furniture display, and I figured it would be out of my price range. But it was perfect. A little rustic, sturdy, and appropriately sized. Upon closer inspection, it was also an Ethan Allen. But, to my surprise, it was only $20! It is sturdy, functional, and fits in perfectly with our other furniture.
No matter what kind of coffee table you have (bunny sized or sturdy and rustic) they can be a confusing piece to style. They are a great place to display your favorite accessories, but still need to be functional as a table and (let’s be honest) footstool. I think I’ve found a good solution for achieving both of these qualities. Here are my five tips for simply styling a functional and beautiful coffee table.
A small decorative tray provides the foundation for your accessories. If you need the entire surface of the table, the tray and its contents can be easily and quickly removed. I found this mirrored tray at Goodwill for $3. I recently saw something similar at Target for $30! Always check Goodwill and thrift stores before buying something new. You never know what you might find, and the money you’ll save can go towards more important things!
*Design tip* When styling my home, I operate under the “distance + purpose” rule. The closeness and use of an item determines how much value it has in my home, and therefore how much money I’m willing to invest in it. Example: don’t spend a lot of money on curtains (you never touch them or “use” them), but consider investing in a nice set of sheets or towels. The same principle applies to decorative pieces. Things that are used purely as decorative accents shouldn’t be making a big dent in my wallet. If you see something trendy or specific that you love, try finding a similar style at a thrift store. (Or something you can tweak/spray paint!) Your wallet will thank you, and I bet you won’t remember the difference after a while!
A few small books create visual interest and height on your tray. The small navy book is a devotional written in 1888 by a woman named Frances Ridley Havergal. It is one of the best devotionals I have ever read, and is surprisingly relevant despite its classic style of writing. A copy can be found online here. The colorful book is a small wedding photo album from Chatbooks. They did a partnership with Rifle Paper Co., and I knew we had to have one 🙂
A candle creates instant coziness and warmth in your home. I love lighting this candle when we have guests, or when I want to sit down and relax in the evenings. I think it is very inviting and calming. This is my all-time favorite candle from Anthropologie. Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon is only available around Christmas, but the other Boulangerie scents are great, too. (I have the Espresso candle, and it smells like the best coffee shop!)
A small plant adds an organic texture to your space, and creates visual contrast with the other pieces. I love tiny succulents, and sneak them in all over the house. Small tealight candle votives make perfect planters for tiny plants. I found this one at Michaels craft store for about $1. Get creative with your planters! I’ve also used teacups and mugs in the kitchen to house my tiny plants.
If you know me, you probably know that I love tiny things. I don’t know why, but they bring me so much joy. These tiny houses are from a vendor on the Charles Bridge in Prague. I buy a few every time I go and love placing them around the house. They add charm and remind me of my travels abroad.
That’s all! Keeping everything corralled on a small tray leaves plenty of room for mugs, plates, books, feet, magazines, and anything else you can think of. If you live in a small space, consider storing blankets under the table in a cute basket.
What challenging spaces in your home would you like to see featured in Simply Styling? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for reading!