April 5, 2022 Anne-Maree Russell

How To Style A Coffee Table

337 Leopard Formal Living Vignette

The coffee table vignette is most often one of the most important vignettes,

when it comes to styling a home for sale, as it is often in the centre of the ‘hero room’ …

the room or space that creates the first impression and sets the theme and feel of the home.


When styling many homes, it does help to have some sort of rough ‘formula’ to follow.

Formulas and processes work, in all walks of life.

They can be refined, tested, measured and tested again.


We are constantly refining our styling processes at Cape Cod Residential,

taking on feedback and observing reactions to our styling from the buyers who attend our open homes.

I am in a privileged position to be not only the stylist but the agent too,

so I am able to receive feedback from buyers first hand and live at the open homes!

We know what appeals, what creates emotion and competition … and what works!

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Ok, so my formula?

I generally divide a square coffee table into 4 sections (sometimes 6 if a large rectangular table)

and start by filling each section.


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Round tables (and small side tables, no matter what shape) I generally style with one central vignette.


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Front Patio Vignette

Front Porch Vignette After 1

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Then I add the following to most Coffee Table Vignettes …

1. A Tray

Often I will start with a tray, to group things together so that the table doesn’t look too messy.

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A tray provides the opportunity to bring together dissimilar items, to make them look more

cohesive and collected.


I use all shapes and textures in my trays …. rattan, wicker, battered metal or mirrored trays.

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I am always looking for trays that have pretty edges too, to mix things up a bit.

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Living Vignette After 1


I like to add in something from nature – a leafy green plant or a vase of flowers …

providing varied texture and the opportunity to introduce some height into the coffee table vignette.


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Real foliage does tend to be a bit high maintenance for me as it does die between open homes!

Deck Vignette 1

I tend to sneak in a good quality artificial piece when I can, if fresh foliage is not possible at the time.

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There is a time and a place to ’embrace faux’.

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If you don’t use a plant to add height to your vignette, you could add some height with a

hurricane lamp or a beautiful pair of candlesticks or ginger jars.

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3. Books

Books, or a pile of glossy magazines, can also provide an opportunity to add some height to your

coffee table vignette, and provide a platform on which you can display smaller decorative

pieces that add interest.

Living 5 After 1

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4. Pretties

A few decorative pretties add in a bit of personality … a piece of coral, a small bowl, candles, a teacup.

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I try to add at least 2 pretties to each of my coffee table vignettes to add more variety and

some interesting shapes.

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And then there are the coffee table vignettes where you essentially want to say to the buyers,

“here is where you can sit in the mornings and have your coffee as the sun rises!”

A-M xx