Part TRAVEL JOURNAL and part LIFESTYLE BLOG, this site captures DESIGN, CULTURE, CUISINE and STYLE as seen through the eyes of ALI SWISHER.

Coffee Table Styling 101

Coffee Table Styling 101

Styling a coffee table is a great way to exercise your creativity and give guests a glimpse into your personality and taste. My coffee table vignette is always evolving; whether it's a subtle change in the floral arrangement, the addition of a new object I acquired on a trip or the perpetual rotation of books from my shelves.


The formula is simple: something sculptural + something squarish + something with height.  I've broken it down to 5 essential items that I’ve always relied on to create a stunning composition:

1. A tray - go for something versatile that suits your personality and taste. This will serve as the perfect foundation for all the beautiful items you plan on layering on.

2. Books - large coffee table books that are visually oriented reflect your interests and will keep guests entertained in between mixing drinks and prepping hors d'oeuvres. Also a great foundational piece.

3. Candles - pillar candles, vintage candlesticks — the options are pretty much endless. For a scented option, I love Cire Trudon candles - a total splurge but they're gorgeous and smell heavenly.

4. Plants and Flowers - This is your height. Lately, I’ve been really into ranunculus and proteas. If unavailable (which is often), I opt for a stunning arrangement from Ampersand or simple monstera stems.

5. Objet d'art - here’s your “something sculptural”. Showcase a novelty piece, relic or heirloom of personal value, such as a box, bowl, beads or, literally, a sculpture.

Coasters are crucial. Currently on our table: sliced  agate .

Coasters are crucial. Currently on our table: sliced agate.

Over time, my taste has evolved to be slightly more eclectic with global influences: a colorful kilim rug from Morocco, a sculptural brass coffee table, silk Turkish pillows and jute poufs.

I encourage you to look around your home and allow yourself to get creative with what you already have. Keep in mind that your coffee table is like an unfinished work of art with its contents perpetually changing. Take the time to experiment with different variations of these items until you create a vignette that you're happy with.

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