how to set a coffee table

How to Set a Coffee Table

Beautifully setting a coffee table is a skill that can make all the difference when it comes to hosting, whether for a special event or for an everyday gathering. From the centerpiece to the general proportions and placement of other items, there are certain tricks and basics to getting the look just right.

Choose the Centerpiece

The centerpiece of your coffee table is what will draw the eye and make a statement. There are many options but some personal favorites are a tiered tray of flowers, a selection of books with coffee table worthy covers, an ornament, a bowl of potpourri, an interesting table runner, candles, or a set of coffee table art.


Keep in mind the shape and size of your coffee table when choosing items and positioning them. For a round table, you may opt for two objects, or an object in the center framed with other items around the edges. A long table can handle a larger grouping, as long as the proportions remain balanced and there’s still more table than items on it.


Scent is an important element of setting the vibe. An aroma which compliments the centerpiece and the other items will make it feel very intentional. But try not to be too overpowering with scent, and also keep in mind that you will be sitting around the table for quite some time and don’t want an aroma that could become cloying.

Height Differentiation

For a polished look, place items of different heights together. You can do this by having a taller centerpiece, and then layer the other items around it, creating visual interest and a sense of movement on the table.

Putting it Together

To finish, try adding texture and interest with the following items:

  • Coasters: Essential for protecting the surface of your table.
  • Serving Utensils: A decorative set of spoons, sugar bowls or tongs can add a sense of occasion and an extra splash of beauty.
  • Table Linens & Napkins: These can transform a space and bring more life to your table.

Making sure the proportions, colors and textures all work together, and adding quality details such as the scents and textures, will transform your coffee table into a masterpiece.

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