6 Ways to Style Your Outdoor Coffee Table

Originally Published on June 27, 2017. Last Updated on April 18, 2024.

Coffee tables are versatile pieces that serve as focal points in any setting, and there are plenty of ways to style them. Use our design tips and decorating ideas to style an outdoor coffee table like a pro.

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Coffee Table Design Tips
Coordinating a Coffee Table with Furniture
Outdoor Coffee Table Style Ideas

Coffee Table Design Tips

Try these tips to create a cohesive look for your accent table.

Employ the Rule of Thirds

In photography, the rule of thirds challenges the photographer to break an image down into horizontal and vertical thirds visually, creating a nine-part grid. By framing the subject(s) where the gridlines intersect, the result is more balanced and interesting.

Imagine a similar grid on your coffee table to arrange your outdoor accessories in an aesthetically pleasing manner. For instance, a potted plant placed at the center of the grid with books or magazines artfully stacked in the bottom left corner offers a clean and simple look.

Layer Objects

Whether it’s objects, textures, or colors, our favorite decor vignettes use layering. This design technique makes a space seem intentional and more lived-in. As in the last example, books are a great way to add layers and color to a coffee table. Pots of flowers and candles in differing colors, heights, and sizes are also great for layering.

Balance Height

Varying heights work well on any table. A copper serving tray carrying a tall coordinating pitcher, medium-height ice bucket, and lowball glasses in a contrasting shade of cyan distributes visual weight and adds interest to your coffee table.

Swap in Seasonal Greenery

Keep it simple with a single planter on your coffee table. Ornamental kale brightens up dreary winter days, while ferns look lush from spring through fall. Find botanicals that work best in your hardiness zone for a low-maintenance decor moment.

Personalize It

Featured: Harbour Slat Coffee Table, Long Island 18″ Side Table, Club Sofa, Club Chair, and Club Ottoman in Teak/Weathered Tweed

Let your coffee table reflect your tastes. If your favorite color is blue, select a navy table and top it with family photos encased in cream, teal, or grey weatherproof frames. Love woodworking? Display a handmade wooden tray topped with favorite found objects for everyone to admire. 

Less is More

Loading your coffee table with pretty bits and baubles is tempting, but it’s best to keep decor to a minimum. Leaning toward function instead of form will allow your table to do its job: keep drinks and food off the floor and within reach.

Coordinating a Coffee Table with Furniture

Now that you know how to decorate an outdoor coffee table, let’s look beyond its surface and discuss the best ways to style it with other furniture.

Embrace Symmetry

The eye is naturally drawn to symmetry, which is why professional designers use it often when staging a room. Here are a few tips for employing symmetry when styling your outdoor space:

  • Place your coffee table in the center of the room with identical chairs or loveseats on either side.
  • Use the same number and style of accent tables on both sides of your space.
  • Top each coffee table with the same decor.

Coffee Table Spacing

A coffee table should sit between 14 and 18 inches in front of your seating, increasing the distance to 24–36 inches to accommodate moving furniture such as rocking chairs or gliders. This allows enough legroom, and the table is close enough to reach.

Choose the Correct Table Height

A coffee table should not stand higher than the seating it’s in front of. The goal is to keep drinks and snacks within easy reach, so ideally, it should sit two or three inches shorter than the chair or sofa’s armrest. Measure the distance from the top of your seat’s armrest to the floor and keep that dimension in mind when shopping for a coffee table.

Outdoor Coffee Table Decorating Ideas

Give these style and decor ideas a go on your porch or patio.

Say it With Flowers

Featured: Lakeside 4-Piece Deep Seating Set in Teak/Dune Burlap

A simple vase filled with fluffy hydrangeas and pretty pink blooms brightens up this warm-toned coffee table. Notice how the flowers pull in the cream and beige from the deep seating cushions and natural stone patio.

Coastal Coffee Table

This customer made the Club Coffee Table the focal point of their star(fish)-studded oceanside lanai. We can practically feel the salty sea breeze.

Club Coffee Table

An Entertaining Icon’s Coffee Table

Starring our iconic collaboration with Martha Stewart, this scene is grounded in neutral tones on and around the coffee table. Cream-colored cushions and sandy furniture frames play well with the natural stone surface, while the hints of greenery and pitcher of lemonade add fresh color to the look.

Featured: Chinoiserie 4-Piece Deep Seating Set with Sofa in Sand/Dune Burlap

Fireside Focal Point

This customer clearly loves our Braxton Collection. (We love it too!) They lined their outdoor bar and surrounded their fireplace with comfy seating and strategically placed coordinating coffee and end tables from our Newport Collection for added convenience and coziness.

Newport 22″ x 36″ Coffee Table

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