Coffee Table Staging

coffee table staging

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The first coffee tables were used in early coffee houses in 1600s England. They were originally much taller but served the same basic purpose. Today, coffee tables still hold our hot beverages, but also serve as a decorative surface in our living rooms.

There are a few basic design principles that apply to staging a coffee table, and some objects that work particularly well for this area.

Coffee Table Staging Ideas


Use the same color scheme as the room the table is in. It can be one single color pulled from the room (monochromatic), or a combination of the colors used.

coffee table staging with color
Home Staging Institute student Caroline kept this coffee table neutral, but added a pop of color with the plant stems.


Keep the items you are using to scale with the coffee table. If you go too large or too small, it will look out of proportion. However, within the scale of the coffee table, vary the size of the objects you are using.


Repeat the shape of the coffee table with some of your decorative pieces, and change some up for variety.

coffee table staging with a plant
Home Staging Institute student Debra used a small indoor plant to stage this coffee table


Use a variety of textures in the objects. Smooth, rough, woven, matt, and glossy. The combination of textures gives visual interest to the objects and keeps the eye moving.

coffee table staging with texture
Home Staging Institute student Abbie used a textured tray to stage this coffee table


Use objects of differing heights, or even better stack items to achieve different heights. If all the décor is the same height, the effect is flat and boring.

staging a coffee table
Home Staging Institute student Barbara used greenery to add height to this coffee table

Odd numbers

Décor looks better displayed in odd numbers. Think of creating small groups of 3 or up to 5 objects.


For a more formal look go symmetrical using an equidistant triangle as your guide with the tallest item in the center. For a more informal look, use a 90-degree triangle as your guide with the tallest object on the left or right.

Objects to use

  • Books are perfect for layering and stacking items to give height and create a visual triangle. Coffee table books are great for entertainment purposes and for bringing in color. Vintage books can be used as well, try stacking a group that is varying shades of one color. Check out our list of top home staging books for ideas!
  • Vases are excellent choices for their height, and sculptural appeal. Vases can be used to feature other items such as flowers or seashells or be a focal point all on their own.
  • Sculptures can add color, texture, and movement. They can also be stacked on top of a set of books for height and make an excellent statement piece.
  • Plants, flowers, and fruit also bring in color and texture. Any time you can add something alive to a vignette, it brings another dimension to the space.
  • Trays are a great way to visually contain items and create a display within the display.
  • Candles add another dimension to the space with scent and are also good for varying the height of items.
  • Coasters are not only practical, protecting your coffee table from water and heat. But they also come in a huge variety of materials, textures, and colors.
  • Crystals are a huge trend right now, and the texture and colors they contribute are unlike anything else.
  • Fabric can soften an otherwise hard tablescape. Try a folded throw across a coffee table to bring pattern and color and texture to your vignette.
  • Repeat the shape of the table in some of the objects. For example, use some candles on a round coffee table. Try some square books on a square table, and a rectangular tray on a rectangular table.

How does staging a coffee table differ from styling one?

Staging is designed to appeal to the masses and feature your home. Styling is more individualized and geared towards your personal taste. When staging a coffee table in a home for sale, you want to stay away from using anything that could offend someone. No controversial books or nude statues in staging. Also, staging will be more neutral and allow the space to shine rather than draw attention to the coffee table in particular

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