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Rectangular Coffee Table Style: Tips for a Tailored Look

Recently updated on February 21st, 2024 at 10:43 am

Hats off to you on finally investing in that sleek mid-century modern coffee table that you’ve been hunting for what seems like forever. Now that you have acquired the rectangular beauty, it is time to style it and make it the prominent centerpiece in your space. A coffee table is an excellent spot to showcase your character and set the tone for the entire space. However, a rectangular table also poses challenges when it comes to artfully arranging decor. But no worries! We’ve got you covered with advice on how to style a rectangular coffee table. With these simple hacks, you can achieve a tailored, polished, yet relaxed and chic look. So, grab a fresh cup of coffee, put your feet up, and read on to discover the enigmas of creating a significant impact with your table decor.

Living room with light wood table with butcher block tabletop

Photo by LetsRock from Freepik

Insight – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Choose a few carefully selected pieces that complement each other and your table, and you’ll have a space that is sure to impress. Don’t let a cluttered table ruin the ambiance – opt for a refined and polished look that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

How to Style a Rectangular Coffee Table: The Right Table for Your Space

Choosing the right coffee table for your living room can make a big difference. Measuring your space carefully and considering how you plan to use the table is essential. A large table can dominate the room but give you plenty of surface area, while a small table might provide a more spacious feel but may not meet your needs. Usually, a table around 4 to 5 feet long is the best option for most living rooms. 

Your decor theme should also be taken into account. A sleek glass or metal table complements a contemporary space, while a rustic wooden table is well suited for a cozy cottage setup. If possible, choose a table that matches the wood tones or metal finishes of other furnishings in the space, as this helps form a cohesive and tailored look. 

In addition to size and style, you should also consider a coffee table with storage and display space. A table with shelves or drawers underneath provides room for baskets, books, or decorative items, with some tables even coming with both. If you want a table primarily for displaying books, trays, or sculptures, choose a simplistic table design with an open bottom.  The right table should also be the proper height, usually around 16 to 18 inches tall. This ensures that you can reach the top easily without straining and have enough clearance for your legs and knees underneath. 

Related Article: Modern, Rustic, and Beyond: 21 Rectangle Coffee Table Designs

Modern living room with wood coffee table

Photo by Arlilafoundation from Freepik

Insight – Make your living space feel complete with a cohesive look that ties all the styling elements together. Decorative pillows, throws, and rugs with consistent patterns and colors are the perfect way to achieve this. Start creating your dream home today!

How to Style a Rectangular Coffee Table: Style for Everyday Use

Now that you have your coffee table in place, it’s time to deck it for everyday use. Here are a few suggestions that will help you produce a tailored look:

Group Items Together: Cluster smaller decorative items like candles, books, trays, and bowls together on one side or corner of the tabletop. This makes a simple but cohesive display and leaves the rest of the surface clear. You can also group items by color or material for a more coordinated look.

Use Trays: Trays are ideal for corralling smaller items and devising a tidy arrangement. Look for trays in complementary colors or materials and place them on one end or corner of the table. Arrange items on the trays, leaving some empty space. Trays also make it effortless to move items when you need to use the table’s entire surface.

Include Storage Baskets: Baskets are a casual way to hide clutter while keeping items accessible. Look for baskets that complement your decor and place them under the table to stow magazines, blankets, toys, or anything else you want hidden but within reach.

Leave Space: Refrain from crowding the surface with decorations and knickknacks. Leave space on your table so it still functions as a useful spot for drinks, devices, or your feet! A good rule of thumb is to decorate at most two-thirds of the surface, leaving one end open.

Related Article: 29 Coffee Table Decor Tips: Subtle Touches for Maximum Impact

Living room with coastal table with storage and decor

Photo by Biancoblue from Freepik

How to Style a Rectangular Coffee Table: Maintaining Your Styled Look

You’ll need to put in some effort to keep your table looking styled. Dusting, wiping up spills, and rearranging decorative items are all part of maintaining an intentional look.

Dust & Wipe Regularly

Dust your table at least once a week using a microfiber duster or cloth to remove built-up dirt and debris. Wipe up any spills or spots immediately using a damp cloth to prevent stains. For wood tables, use a wood cleaner or polish and buff in the direction of the grain. These small acts of upkeep go a long way in preserving your table’s aesthetic.

Rotate & Rearrange

Rotate the items on the table, like books, trays, bowls, and candles, to maintain a refreshed aura. You can also rearrange them in a new configuration or pattern. For example, try clustering smaller items or arranging them in a straight line down the center of the table. Remember to consider height, color, and theme when rearranging.

Add Seasonal Touches

Include seasonal items on the table to keep things looking current and on-trend. Add gourds, acorns, decorative pumpkins, or a leaf-filled bowl in the fall. Add pine cones, berries, candles, or a small evergreen tree for winter. In spring, use flowering branches, decorative eggs, or bunnies. Update your selections each season to match the current holiday or time of year.

Pare Down When Needed

If your coffee table starts looking cluttered or disorganized, pare down the items on display. Remove anything broken, stained, or that you no longer need or want. Revise to keep only your favorite books, trays, bowls, and decorative touches. A pared-down look will make the table appear trendy and curated.

Home interior with Black coffee table

Photo by Domainik from Freepik

Insight – Make your memories come to life with a display of family photos. Convert your table into a personalized gallery by choosing frames with complementary colors and materials that suit your style. It’s an easy and heartwarming way to keep your loved ones close while adding a touch of warmth to your home.

Achieving Balance With Proportion and Scale

Grouping items of similar height and size is vital to create balance. This could include a trio of decorative boxes, a stack of coffee table books, or a cluster of candles in matching holders. This helps fill the space in a congruous way. Having a ton of small items scattered haphazardly across the table will make it look messy and incoherent.

Another crucial aspect is creating symmetry by arranging matching or complementary items on either end of the table. This can include decorative trays, bowls, or baskets to store items. Alternatively, you could use a pair of table lamps, one on each end, to frame the space while also providing useful task lighting. It is also essential to leave some open, undecorated space on the tabletop. This prevents the area from feeling crowded and chaotic. As mentioned previously, a good rule of thumb is to leave at least 1/3 of the table surface clear. This makes it easier for people to set down and pick up drinks or other items.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the vertical space. A rectangular table’s long, low profile provides an opportunity to add height and visual interest. You could try placing a tall vase filled with greenery or blooms at one end. Alternatively, you could add a sculptural piece, such as an ornate candleholder, decorative box, or etched tray propped up on a stand. This helps draw the eye upward and adds a dramatic focal point.

Living room with mid century table

Photo by User3980505 from Freepik

Insight – Elevate your table’s style with a cluster of bowls, vases, and trays. Fill the bowls with a stunning display of potpourri, dried oranges, or decorative stones to create an impressive centerpiece that will leave a lasting impression.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make the most of your rectangular coffee table and build a cozy space that reflects your character, then follow these simple tips. Firstly, ensure that the table’s surface is free of clutter and looks neat and tidy. Secondly, choose decor that complements the shape of the table, which can add to its appeal. Thirdly, arrange the seating to open up the space and make it more inviting. These small changes can make a major difference, and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying coffee with friends or curling up on the couch with a good book. So, go ahead and style your rectangular coffee table to perfection!

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