Designer Tips: 6 Ways to Style a Cocktail Table

Just like a room needs a focal point, every living room needs a cocktail table, and that table is quite literally the center of attention in any living room. Your cocktail table could even be considered the focal point if you so desire, but before we take that leap, we need to consider the attention our table needs before declaring that it deserves the spotlight.

I have compiled a list to get you on the right foot to begin this afternoon project, well, depending on how motivated you are perhaps it won’t be an entire afternoon. Do keep in mind though, no matter how ready you are to start gathering your belongings to toss on your table, this project does require some patience and serious finesse.

Now, let’s get back to that list.

1. Dimension. Just because you have a flat surface does not mean you need to keep it that way. When all items are at the same eye level, your carefully chosen pieces will get lost. So, think high and low.

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House Beautiful

2. Decorate in Three’s. You have probably heard this one before? Odd always evens out. Divide your table into three separate spaces, as a center piece or in a row, and work from there. It really helps knowing where to start!

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House Beautiful

3. Use a Tray. A tray can act as an anchor, or foundation, for your items. You can get away with using smaller items when they have something to sit in, as opposed to appearing lost amongst larger pieces. Using a tray can also add a little more functionality as it is easy to remove when your table is needed for game night!

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MILIEU – Design Patti Woods / Architects Jeremy Corkern & Paul Bates / Photography Peter Vitale

4. Add some Life. You can never go wrong with adding greenery to any space in your home and the cocktail table is certainly one of those spaces. A tall orchid is a great way to go if you prefer something a little more long lasting, otherwise, a short vase with fresh cut flowers is always a winner. (*whisper: faux plants work too)

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MILIEU – Design SaraStoryDesign / Photography Marco Ricca

5. Personality. Add an object or two of your favorite possessions and give reason to talk more about your new focal point. A decorative book picked up during your favorite vacation, memorable curios or that scented candle you love so much.

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Kelly Wearstler

6. Keep it Natural. The perfect way to add a rustic touch to your living room is by adding natural elements – a woven basket, wooden bowls, or even go as far as to add an antler.

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Alfonso Marina

xo A

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