How to decorate a Cocktail Table


A cocktail, or coffee table, often is the centerpiece of a living room or den. This piece of furniture usually is placed in front of a couch or other seating arrangements and, as the name suggests, serves as a surface to set drinks, as well other items that may be used in the room, such as remote controls and books. To draw attention to this focal piece of furniture, accent it with decorative accessories.

Things You'll Need

  • Runner
  • Centerpiece
  • Tea lights
  • Tea light holders
  • Coffee table book
  • Coasters
  • Drape a runner across the table. Arrange the runner so that it hangs horizontally across the center of the table, or you can position it vertically across the center of the table. Choose a runner that works with the decor of the space. For example, a runner made of bamboo would work in a rustic or beach-inspired room, while a velvet runner could be used in a formal space.

  • Set a feature element in the center of the table. A large decorative bowl, vase or large candle all are options. Position the decorative element on top of the table runner.

  • Surround the central decorative element with four tea lights. Place the tea lights in low-lying tea light holders and arrange them so that they form a square shape, positioned in the north, south, east and west points around the centerpiece.

  • Place a coffee table book -- a large book that typically contains attractive pictures -- on the surface of the table. Set the book on one of the sides of the table in a slanted fashion, which will help to draw the eye to the book.

  • Include coasters on the surface of the table. Arrange the coasters so that they correlate with the seats that surround the table. For example, if the cocktail table is positioned in front of a three-person sofa, set out three coasters in a straight line in front of the sofa. Positioning the coasters in this way will offer those sitting on the couch easy access to a surface on which they can set their drinks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your cocktail table once a week to keep it dust free and shiny.
  • Avoid cluttering your cocktail table.
  • Too many decorative accents may take away the charm of the table itself

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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