6 Steps To The Perfectly Curated Coffee Table

Above: Learn how to perfectly curate your coffee table

Attention men, a coffee table is not simply a place to rest your feet and store your remotes. In fact, your coffee table is the very first thing guests will spot when they enter your living room, so here is your chance to impress them – impress her. It should be able to grab their attention with its thoughtful arrangement of books and objects. Don’t worry, we are here to make it dead easy, just follow these 6 steps.

1. Coffee table books

A stack of great art books aren’t simply there to impress your guests and flaunt your cultural capital, they are there to entertain your guests while you’re busy making libations. Consider some hardcover oversized art books or some great independent quarterlies (i.e. those $30 magazines), or vintage magazines (yes, this could be a chance to display some vintage editions of playboy).

This is the one time you are allowed to judge a book by its cover; look for well-designed covers with strong graphics or great typography. It is best to stack three or four books of varying dimensions (largest to smallest, of course). If your table is large enough consider multiple stacks but don’t overdo it – this is not a library cart.

2. Sculptural objects

This is your choice to show off your personality and add a little tchotch. Your books need friends and the interesting forms will offset the linear stack of books. And it’s not only okay but also encouraged to place an object on top of the book stack.

A little guidance: if you are the kind of man who goes for the clean and minimal look, look for a series of like objects made from the exact same materials.  If you like to be a bit more playful, mix-and-match a few conversation pieces that convey your personality. This can be anything from a vintage Rubik’s Cube to your grandfather’s vintage ashtray.  Just remember the three object max rule – anything more will start to look like clutter. 

3. A set of coasters

This may be an obvious necessity but it is often overlooked. Look for a handsome set of coasters in metal or stone or even wood, anything but the cardboard ones you stole from your local.

5. A little candlelight

Adding in a great candle in a masculine vessel will add a hint of the dramatic when lit at night and will infuse the air with scent. Lots of brands are launching scents to remind you of a great jazz bar or library, these are perfect. Look for candles that feature scents of leather, tobacco or mossy greens. The fragrance will add to the mood and atmosphere of your living space (and cover up the smell from your gym bag).

6. Go green

It is always a good idea to add something living to the table and a plant or flower is much easier to take care of than a Japanese fighting fish. Stick to simple succulents (they will survive even if you ignore them) or a simple orchid. Just keep the pot clean and simple, coordinate it with the other elements of your table. The plant should be the focus not the vessel.

6. A serving tray

The final step is a serving tray. This piece will not only add another layer of dimension but will serve the purpose of keeping all of your contents contained and organized. This is where you will place your coasters, a sculptural object or two and all your remote controls. Look for something sleek made from wood or an aged metal tray; just remember keep it simple.

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