Five Tips for Easy Fall Coffee Table Decorating
Decorating occasional tables is an easy way to bring a fall style to your living room! Keep reading for my favorite five tips for easy fall coffee table decorating!
You probably recognize by now that there isn’t a season that I don’t love decorating for. However, fall has to be one of my top four! (wink, wink!)
Fall coffee table decorating is a perfect way to bring those “feel good” vibes of the fall season to your living space. At the same time, one of the questions I get the most often is:
How do you style a coffee table in the fall?
If you’ve also asked this question, you are not alone! Even though I love decorating our home for the season, fall coffee table decorating can feel challenging.
However, it doesn’t need to take a lot of time, energy, money, or effort to give your coffee table a quick refresh for the fall season. Keep reading for five really easy tips for effortless coffee table styling!
Here are a few of my favorite tips for fall coffee table decorating:
Five Tips for Easy Fall Coffee Table Decorating
#1: A Base: What do you decorate a coffee table with?
One coffee table decorating essential, no matter the season, is a base. Whether you use a tray, basket, bowl, crate, old bread board, your fall coffee table decorating will be so much easier with this constraint.
Think of it is the frame for your simple coffee table decor!
You can choose how rustic or elegant, how modern or traditional, or how old or new your base (aka, frame) will be. Actually, it sets the tone for the entire look of your coffee table decor. You will want to invest in a piece that you really love and can use year-round for simple and easy coffee table vignette refreshes.
Here are a few pieces in varying styles that I recommend:
- A simple rectangular basket, like this, goes with everything. It is also convenient to just pick up and move for family games. Plus, it makes house cleaning easier too!
- A large, square, wooden tray, like this one, is perfect for a coffee table or ottoman. The white can add some contrast if you have a wood-toned coffee table.
- If you have a white coffee table, consider a wood-toned tray, like this one, for some contrast and variety.
- Do you have a rectangular coffee table? This vintage bread board would be perfect!
- These antique European bread boards have the perfect patina and I love every single detail about them!
- I think this vintage grain sifter would add so much character and interest to a coffee table. At the same time, it is the perfect size to hold a simple vignette!
- For a coffee table that is a little larger, this vintage tulip bulb tray would make the perfect base for a coffee table!
#2 Arrangement: How do you arrange things on a coffee table?
If I start struggling with arranging a vignette on my coffee table or trying to figure out some fall coffee table decorating ideas, I try to go back to the basics:
- Tall item
- Medium item
- Short item, usually a smaller seasonal accent
- Incorporate a plant/flowers/greenery
I almost always start my decorating with an odd number of items. For coffee table styling, three (plus your base) seems to be a pretty magical number. Actually, I typically gather more than three items. Then, I play around with them until I get an arrangement of three items that I love on my base.
Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind for fall coffee table decorating ideas:
(Or any season, for that matter!)
- Varied height
- Create a decor triangle
- Soften the edges with a plant or flowers
- Incorporate an unexpected element, such as a small seasonal accent
- Repetition of color, pattern, texture, and style throughout the room (meaning, the 3 items don’t have to be the same but they should usually repeat some kind of color, pattern, texture, or style displayed elsewhere in the room for a cohesive look
In this fall coffee table styling, you can see how I used a large bread board as my base. Next, I added a vintage zinc vessel with a mixture of fall faux stems and florals. Then, I added a grouping of books for my middle height. Lastly, I added a glass cloche with a vintage quail statue. The quail brings an unexpected touch while also having a subtle nod to the season.
The colors, texture, and style in this vignette are mirrored in the room. The zinc bucket accents the zinc table top. At the same time, the vintage leather books match the color of the stacked baskets used for a side table. Then, the glass cloche connects with a grouping of cloches and dried gourds on the cabinet behind the sofa.
Shop this look:
- Large, vintage bread board
- Vintage zinc double handle bucket
- Dried, faux fall stems
- Dried seed pods
- Set of vintage leather books (great deal on this set!)
- Glass bell cloche
- Vintage quail
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule!
Since it is your home and your decor, you get to choose what you love and then just enjoy it. For example, this swan and trencher don’t really fit the rules of 3 items like I discussed above.
However, I love how the swan looks in the trencher. At the same time, the wood coloring of the trencher and the chippy white patina of the swan closely mirror other tones and patinas in our family room. Even though it is certainly an “out of the box” coffee table styling, it doesn’t feel out of place in this room.
These rules only exist to help you get your creativity wheels spinning! After that, the most important thing is just to have fun with your decor and create something that you love.
#3 Functional: How do you style a coffee table tray?
Even though I absolutely love home decor and enjoy trying to make our home look pretty, it’s much more important that our home functions well for my family. Since this coffee table is often used for games and puzzles, I keep two things in mind when styling it.
First of all, I only place one vignette at the end. Since our coffee table is oversized, it allows me to keep one end “pretty” and the other end open for games and activities.
Secondly, I always keep my fall coffee table decorating ideas limited to something that fits on a base. As I said at the beginning, a base allows you to easily move your coffee table decor. In this space, I used a large bread board as my tray. Then, I created a decor triangle with a cloche, a stack of books, and a large candle.
For a touch of the unexpected, I tucked in some old ledger pages. They offer some extra texture and interest between the hard lines of the glass and the books.
If you feel a little stuck when styling your fall coffee table tray, try this easy combination:
- Plant or vase of flowers
- Trio of candlesticks with battery-operated taper candles (THESE are my favorite!)
- Small dried gourd or pumpkin
I think the most important thing is that your coffee table decor works around your family’s lifestyle, rather than trying to always work around the decor.
For example, if you know that your family will want to rest their feet on the coffee table when getting cozy for a movie night, make sure your coffee table decor is clear on the sides.
Since I know that the decor on this fall coffee table is going to need to be moved a lot for games, I style it on a tray at one end. It’s easy to move if we need more space.
Homes are not for show! They need to be functional, accessible, and comfortable for everyone. Planning your coffee table styling and decor accessories with those in mind first can help eliminate frustration later on! (Trust me. I speak from experience here!)
How do you customize a coffee table?
Even though our back living room is small, we knew we wanted an oversized coffee table. Since this is the main place where we gather for games and activities, it was important to have a piece that met those needs and will function well for our family.
We came across this antique 6 foot library table at an auction. Since it is narrow and long, it fits the space perfectly. However, it was way too tall. So, we cut the legs off to make it the perfect coffee table height.
Some may say that we ruined a beautiful piece of furniture. However, we feel like we took a gorgeous piece and made it something that can be used and enjoyed by our family on a daily basis!
You can easily customize a table and turn it into your coffee table: How tall should I make my coffee table?
16-18 inches is considered standard height. We really like the 18 inch height, especially for this table, since we play games here a lot. 16 inches would feel like we were bending down more. Funny what two inches can do, right?!
#4 Plants and Flowers: Incorporate seasonal stems into your fall coffee table decorating ideas
Almost always…not every time, but almost…my fall coffee table styling ideas will include some seasonal plants, flowers, stems, or branches. Actually, no matter the season, I typically have some kind of greenery or flowers on my coffee table.
I love how it brings some life and movement to a vignette. Also, vines from plants can soften the otherwise hard or straight lines of the items used in your coffee table decor, such as books and candlesticks.
You can find several ideas for decorating with fall flowers on a budget over on THIS POST.
Over on THIS POST, I share some ideas for thrifted and vintage vessels to make even inexpensive grocery store flowers look special!
Here are some great options to try for fall coffee table decorating:
#5 Accessories: What do you put on a display coffee table?
Figuring out exactly what to display on your fall coffee table can be a challenge. For me, there are often TOO many things that I want to display, so I have to narrow down my choices.
However, it can really be helpful to stick with that formula from #2! Even though there are so many pretty fall accessories, you really only need one or maybe two, at the most, to give your coffee table decorating a great look for fall.
I am not a minimalist in my decorating. Can you tell? Haha! However, especially for a high-traffic area like a coffee table, less is usually more. Plus, you can allow one or two favorite seasonal items to really steal the show and avoid a cluttered vignette.
Here are a few favorite accessories for fall coffee table styling:
- Medium dried gourds
- Mini dried gourds in a bowl or dish
- Wooden pumpkin
- Glass cloche with a pumpkin or gourd inside
- Vase with vintage style patina
- Neutral pheasant figure
- Vintage brass quail
- Black candlestick set
- Brass candlestick set
- Battery-operated taper candles
- Amber glass battery-operated candles
It’s time to refresh your fall coffee table decorating!
I hope these favorite tips and tricks have sparked some creativity for you. As always, I hope it gives you some inspiration to love your home and have fun making it special and cozy for your family too.
- Less is more.
- When in doubt, stick to the decor triangle.
- You can’t go wrong with a tray, plant, candles, and a pumpkin.
Now, have fun decorating and happy fall!