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How To Style A Glass Coffee Table

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Glass is a wonderful medium for a coffee table.  It reflects light and maximises the feeling of spaciousness within your living space.  It can be highly decorative or used as a blank canvas to show off your design flair, giving interest and personality to your room.

Below we will explore some of the top design tips to make your coffee table look like it was styled by a professional, whatever coffee table shape or room scheme you have.

What Do You Put On A Glass Coffee Table?

The better question may be what can’t you put on a glass coffee table as there really aren’t any rules here.  It’s really more about what you choose to put together and how they are arranged. Items should reflect your personality and room decor.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Decorative books that reflect your interests.
  • Candles or battery-powered decorative lights.
  • Vases
  • Bowls
  • Sculptural items 
  • Nature finds-feathers, pine cones, pebbles, shells
  • Decorative boxes
  • Trays
  • House plants
  • Fresh flowers
  • Photographs
  • Collections

How Do You Dress A Round Glass Coffee Table?

There’s something so pleasing about a round, glass coffee table.  Maybe it is reminiscent of a bubble or drop of water.  This shape works well in smaller spaces and is a popular choice –  but what is the best way to dress it?  Consider the below


  1. Variations in height
  2. Contrasting shapes
  3. How many objects
  4. Colour and decor theme
  5. Utility

1. Variations in height

Varying the heights of the pieces used can really create interest.  Here, a tall vase and candlestick contrast with the plant and book.

2. Contrasting Shapes

Using a contrasting shaped tray is a great way to show off a few select objects.  By using similar coloured materials the design is soothing and cohesive.

3. How Many Objects?

If you’re not sure where to start, try using three objects of varying heights, placed in a triangle pattern.  If you use similar materials you won’t go far wrong.  If you would like a more minimalist look, place just one, larger item, offset to the middle.

4. Colour And Decor Theme

What you choose to display on your coffee table should reflect your overall decor -particularly if you have a specific theme.  The below is a perfect example of the on-trend Art Deco revival.

5. Utility

Consider what you want to use your coffee table for.  If you regularly have friends over for tea and cake you probably want to keep it relatively clutter free.  


For example, a table with a shelf allows you to display some items and keep the top ready for use.  If you want to keep your keys, mobile charger or remote control near at hand, employ a bowl or decorative box to keep them tidy.

Four Ways To Style A Rectangular, Glass Coffee Table

Deciding how to style your rectangular coffee table starts with your decorating theme.  Are you a maximalist or a minimalist? Have you embraced this year’s theme of the organic outdoors?  Here we take one beautiful table from John Lewis and see how it has been styled in four different ways.

By picking out colours in the rug below and highlighting them with the objects placed on the shelves, the glass reflects and enhances the vibrancy of this Middle-East inspired scheme.  An eclectic mix of books and bowls is both inviting and exciting.


This, modern, pared down scheme is perfectly reflected with minimal use of carefully selected objects placed on the table.  Note the bottom shelf has been kept empty.  The use of black and white keeps the look clean and simple, while introducing the bleached wood tray and plant softens the overall look.  Interest is engaged by the variation of heights and textures.

In this room, the beautiful jewelled-coloured sofa is the star.  The coffee table is merely there to show it off.  The pewter coloured bowl placed diametrically opposite the similar coloured, sofa cushion gives a pleasing and subtle balance.  Layering of objects, like the plate on top of the books, is a great way to highlight decorative pieces.

Fresh flowers look great on a glass surface and here the use of a glass vase enhances the green of the stems which is a key colour in this scheme.  Notice how the green cushion is reflected on the glass surface of the table.  The choice of books reflects the owners interest in flora, giving personality to this theme.

What To Place Under Your Glass Coffee Table

The beauty of having a glass coffee table is that it can serve to show off what is underneath it too.  If you want to utilise some space try placing a decorative basket or box under your table.  This can be used to store board games or blankets.

Don’t cover your beautiful, designer rug with a heavy wood coffee table.  By using glass you can enhance it instead.

A great way to store some extra seating and make a design statement.  Go for decorative pouffes that can fit snugly under your table.

Final Thoughts…

Hopefully we have inspired you to really think about what you are placing on your table-apart from your coffee cup.  By changing your objects from time to time you can explore different looks which may well reflect the seasons.  A copper bowl of chestnuts and an amber candle in winter compared to a display of hyacinth bulbs and decorative, pastel eggs at Easter.  Have fun and let your imagination run free.

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