[ Elizabeth Bauer ]

Dissecting the fine art of staging

Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with my own living room, I am faced with a challenge that has somewhat eluded me: how to accessorize our coffee table. Perhaps because I am a graphic designer, the 2D applications (consoles, bookshelves, nightstands, dressers) seem to come much easier for me. Once in the round, I tend to overthink it. I’m my own worst enemy. (Not to mention a 2-1/2 year old who wants to grab mommy’s pretty things.)

So I’ve been collecting images as of late, in the hopes that I will be inspired suddenly to set up our own coffee table just right. I know the essentials: books, a tray and/or box, and a few sculptural items/curiosities. Maybe candlesticks or flowers for height. Now how to put it all together…

[ Victoria Thompson ]

[ Betsy Burnham ]

[ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard ]

[ Laurann Claridge ]

[ Daniel Pafford ]

[ Molly Luetkemeyer ]

[ Kelly Wearstler ]

[ Tia Zolden ]

[ Tamara Kaye-Honey ]

[ Kelly Wearstler ]

[ Eddie Ross & Jaithan Kochar ]

[ Adam Braum Straus ]

 How have you styled your coffee table? Any tips for me? Post links to your pics!


Images via Lonny, High Gloss, RUE, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Kelly Wearstler
Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Love these coffee tablescapes! It is so hard to get just right, even if you have tons of books and accessories to play with. Can’t wait to see yours!
    -e (

  2. SO many gorgeous tables…I am in search of the “perfect” coffee table. Have yet to find one less than $1000 🙁 SO not fair !! Anyways love these all…especially if they are lucite or shiny gold !


    1. Hey lily I just saw your post about finding a great table thats “shiny gold” Lucite is a hard one you’ll always be spending tons of $$$ on but, I wanted to suggest looking on craigslist in furniture using the search words “brass table”. I re-did my friends my friends and we found a few that really look gold leaf “look” but with a few designer books, flowers, candles you can’t tell.


      hope that helps!

  3. I’m in the midst of styling my coffee table as well. Right now our wedding album is the main piece with a few books, but I’m looking for a sculpture of some sort. We have the classic Noguchi coffee table, so not sure what would fit. But I need sparkle! Well, my entire living room is in need of some sparkle. Your images are fantastic inspiration!

  4. Ah, once again….your impeccable style is shown through these amazing selections! I’m loving the Elizabeth Bauer + Laurann Claridge looks the best!

  5. You are brave to even consider staging your table with a toddler. but.. with that said, I have ottomans as a table so I have lacquer trays that I can stage in a pinch when I actually have people over. Otherwise, it’s full of kids books and matchbox cars. Good luck! I love your inspiration.

  6. Love how Tamara propped her cheetah on her table. Maybe I should swap out my vases for my zebra. I currently have two boxes, a candle, magnifying glass and three vases. Sorry, I don’t currently have pictures.

  7. I think coffee tables are the toughest to style by far because- unlike many consoles- they get used. I’m about to style a big ottoman coffee table for a client with kids and I really have to think it through. It’s not about it just being pretty, there needs to be space for drinks and nothing kids will destroy. Also- love the look of fresh flowers on a coffee table, but is that really realistic for every day life? I tried a hydrangea plant on mine, but its since died 🙁

  8. Hi!I just wanted to share how I’ve been styling my faux bamboo coffee table. Check out my mirrored tray from target. I’ve dabbled with a lucite one too! but I put a lot of mommys “pretty things” into it and with one nice swoop I take it all away and put it in it’s new home on the dining room table. I always make sure the flowers are in it sitting on top of the magazines so that flowers are my new center piece of my dining room.

    Here’s my post: