To top it off: Three designers share their coffee table styling secrets


Jan Roden's coffee table. Photo: Elli Williams Jan Roden’s coffee table. Photo: Elli Williams

Coffee tables. We all have them. But many of us don’t exactly know what to do with them. Or at least, how to make them functional and artfully styled. What kinds of things belong on a coffee table? How should they be arranged? Matters of scale, practicality, and sentiment all come into question when attempting any type of tablescape. We called in the experts to shed some light on the topic. Here’s how three local interior designers approach their personal coffee tables.

Photo: Elli Williams
Photo: Elli Williams

Kenny Ball of Kenny Ball Antiques and Kenny Ball Design (293-1361)

“The round coffee table is James Mont by Kittinger. It is a beloved vintage piece. On it, I always have things that reflect our interests: dogs, design, and family. Usually a live plant and some candles. Frequently, the items arranged on the table will change and I actually use the books all the time for our design business. The square coffee table is taller than the normal 18″. It is vintage mid-century modern, rosewood. We use it for dining and paper work.”

Photo: Elli Williams

Victoria Pouncey of Victoria Pouncey Design (981-2737)

“One of the most important aspects of my design work is the blending of antiques with modern and contemporary pieces. My formal living room has a lucite coffee table in front of a 19th century settee. On the table, I have a wooden model of a horse, because I have a 7-year-old daughter who is horse obsessed, and some of my favorite books. I use the books to bring in pops of color since the walls and furniture are all in shades of gray. Right now, the books are Rajasthan, Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra, and Mark Rothko. Some fresh flowers, and the table is set!”

Jan Roden of Jan Roden Design (244-2800)

“I’ve artfully arranged personal treasures, natural curiosities, and anything that can fit on it. In my world, the more the better. I can’t help but fill up any surface with trinkets. What’s fun is that my granddaughter will come in and reearange all the things that I leave out on the coffee table and it turns into a fun activity.

“It’s important when you’re arranging a coffee table—or any kind of table—to put things at different levels. That means that you might use stands or acrylic risers so that there’s visual interest.”