Centerpiece Ideas for Your Coffee Table

By Selena Kohng , last updated September 2, 2011

The dining table is not the only spot to showcase centerpieces. A coffee table is an ideal place to display decor. Whether for purely decorative reasons or as a means to tidy up everyday items, focus on keeping your coffee table clutter-free and inspirational. Look to these tips below to get your creative juices flowing.

Decorative Centerpieces

Even minimalist decor can drastically change the mood of a space. A simple vase with fresh-cut flowers or branches is enough to uplift and complete the look of a room. A group of three or more smaller vases is also effective and creates a montage. Design experts regularly reach for large trays to anchor centerpieces and organize other small sundry items. Experiment with different items that you'd like to display, and think outside of the box. A vintage scale, letterpress tray filled with stones or small items, and small sculptural pieces from travels abroad are all great ways to personalize the area.

Use your coffee table to showcase collections as well. A grouping of collected bottles or apothecary jars creates an instant landscape; feel free to use the entire width of your table for your display. Rotate your collection regularly.

Functional Centerpieces

Books and magazines that are usually strewn across the table can become instant art. Stack them from largest on bottom to smallest on top, preferably with spines showing out. A small vase or ceramic figurine resting atop the books finishes the look. Setting the stack to one side of the table allows room to balance the other side with other things that inevitably end up on the table every day: remote controls, for example. Here again, a large tray is functional and elevates everyday items to a tidy display. Consider using a large bowl or vase on the tray as well to balance the stack of books.

Something as simple and affordable as fresh fruit is another great way to create a centerpiece. Use citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, which are the ideal color and size for displaying in bulk. Choose a large, low bowl as a vessel, or large glass hurricanes. Pomegranates, figs, or small squash are perfect for inaugurating fall weather, and they easily double as holiday-specific decor. Even a unique candy dish or separate bamboo dishes are a practical way to entertain guests in an eye-pleasing way. Cluster groups of snacks, like dried apricots in one bowl and almonds in another, to keep the look clean and modern instead of messy.

Kid-Friendly Centerpieces

With small children or pets in the home, fragile centerpieces may not be ideal on a low coffee table surface. Instead, choose non-breakable items, like decorative balls made of natural materials, or rubber vases or bowls. Or, choose to go entirely practical by clustering tin cans full of crayons on top of a tray that also holds pieces of paper and other craft items. Stacked, closed-lid storage boxes of various sizes look like something out of a design magazine, but they can also pull double-duty by housing marbles, toy cars, or legos.

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