Coffee tables come in all sizes and shapes.  Some people have a hard time arranging displays on them so here are a few trick of the trade. Using books, trays, sculptural items and plants or flowers at varying heights make the best arrangements.

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1.  Arrangements utilizing books (hence coffee table books) are easy to do because they let you control the height of things being displayed. An uneven number of items being displayed is the first rule.

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2.  Here a book is used to elevate the shorter crystal ball so the heights of the different items are pleasing as a finished composition.  The colors of the book covers are also repeating the colors of the rug and painting.  Books should be arranged with the largest on the bottom and smallest on top.

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3.  The plate or charger here unifies the candle, orchid, stones and moss balls on one end of the coffee table for a mini arrangement by itself and there are some books and other things on the other end.

 

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4. & 5.   A few large scale items always works well as on the left picture and trays organize items and are easy to move around as shown on the right.

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6.  This woven grass tray serves the same purpose but has a more casual ambiance.

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7.  For a seaside home, the painted tray combined with shells, driftwood and a woven box look right at home.

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8.  This casual arrangement includes lots of interesting things – books again, flowers, bonsai, candles, candle sticks and fruit.  Notice the rhythm of the items which make it work even if the items are unrelated.

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9.  Plants, especially orchids, look fabulous on a coffee table.  They’ve even added some fun here with the balls under the coffee table!

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10.  The large platter in this image looks great for the photo but in the real world would work better laying flat with some interesting items in it.  It’s too staged and not practical this way.

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11.  Here is an example of how not to do it!  I think a plant or flowers in the silver bowl would have made this a  much better and happier arrangement.  Also all the books are stacked at the same height and there are too many of them.  This essentially looks like a grouping of four items – not an uneven number.

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12.  Terrariums are lovely to display on a coffee table.  Here they are paired with a grouping of pillars or candles.  The varying sizes and shapes are what makes it interesting.

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13.  I love to use interesting boxes boxes on coffee tables too.  See how they used a box instead of a book to raise the bowl. The bowl of fresh flowers adds the softness the arrangement needs.

copy of mirrored_wall_behind_sofa-resized-60014.  This coffee table is purposely a little sparse for make room for the refresments which are going to be served.  In this case the flowers are the main decoration and the food and drink will fill in (after they remove the magazines and hat).  There could have been a tray with some interesting artifacts displayed here before.

Just use things you already have to make an interesting and personal arrangement.