How to Create an Elegant Coffee Table Vignette

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For a while, my coffee table served as a racetrack for Hot Wheels and a village for Little People. As my boys have gotten older, however, I’ve managed to make this coffee table look grown-up again! Now, with the help of some blogging friends, I’m sharing tips on how to create an elegant coffee table vignette so you TOO can transform your family room.

Coffee table decor on a large tray for a square coffee table in the living room

The Pinterest Challenge

I’m thrilled to feature this coffee table decor as part of a monthly Pinterest Challenge hosted by Cindy from County Road 407

Pinterest Challenge Blog Tour

Have you ever seen a pin on Pinterest and wondered how you can recreate the same vibe at home? On the fourth Tuesday of each month, Cindy challenges a group of bloggers to do just that!

By visiting our pin-spired creations, we hope you’ll have the confidence to actually try this at home.

If you’re visiting from Leslea at A Heart Filled Home, welcome! She has some wonderful fall coffee table styling tips to get you in the mood for my favorite season!

Don’t forget to check out all the other creative ideas from my fellow bloggers at the end of this post.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information, please see my disclosures.

The Inspiration: Coffee Table Tray Decor

This month, our inspiration photo came from Yvonne at StoneGable who shared her Summer Open House Tour. It’s a sight to behold! 

Yvonne always has expert decorating tips and interior design secrets on her blog. I promise you’ll be glad you visited.

Summer home coffee table vignette from StoneGable blog

In my vignette below, I’ll walk through how I took elements from Yvonne’s photo and created my own version using items I already had on hand.

I’m a big believer in repurposing objects and accents to revitalize your home without spending moola.

Coffee Table Decor: Main Elements

Using Yvonne’s tray decor as a starting point, I went on a shopping spree around the house. I spotted six main elements I wanted to echo in my own vignette:

  1. Rustic tray
  2. Tuscan terra cotta urn
  3. Trio of neutral books
  4. Boxwood topiary
  5. Large architectural sphere
  6. Small sculptural accent

Luckily, I already had some of these items in my inventory, though I’ll admit most were not on my coffee table…yet!

Coffee table decor for square coffee table with woven tray, large french urn, boxwood topiary, ceramic bird and books

You’ll notice I had to improvise on a few items, but the effect is roughly the same. Can you spot where I made substitutions?

Let’s walk through staging a coffee table in detail.

The Base: Decorative Tray for Coffee Table

For a rustic coffee table aesthetic, I used a light-colored rectangular tray. This tray was a Home Goods find, but I’ll link to similar items at the end of this post.

Coffee table tray decor with large French Country urn and faux florals as well as boxwood topiary, ceramic bird and decorative box

I’ve seen so many different tray styles on Pinterest, from mirrored/acrylic to vintage/wooden and everything in between. Because my coffee table and side tables have a dark, rustic feel, I felt a lighter woven tray would provide good contrast and still remain casual. 

*Note: I like to place my tray at an angle versus the rectangular coffee table for more visual interest.

If you’d like to see a completely different look, check out my Christmas coffee table decor ideas!

The Focal Point: French Country Urn

This French Country urn is one of my all-time favorite purchases! However, it’s huuuuge, measuring about 16×9 inches…

Coffee table tray with large French Country urn and small decorative box with rattan and wicker spheres and balls

While I love the way it looks in the living room, it normally belongs on our dining room table where it doesn’t face nearly as much traffic from 5-year-old twin boys. I do enjoy how the swirls on the decorative box mimic the emblem on the urn, though.

In place of hydrangeas, I added peach blossom stems, which give a wispy and light touch.

Secondary Elements: Topiary, Ceramic Bird and Decorative Box 

To balance the drama of the urn, I added a boxwood topiary (stacked on three books), a rustic ceramic bird and a decorative box with assorted woven and rattan orbs.

Coffee table decor with rustic feel including large woven tray, ceramic bird, boxwood topiary, decorative box and large French Country urn vase with faux florals

Again, I did no additional shopping for this challenge, so the small decorative spheres inside the box serve as a little nod to Yvonne’s original metal orb. 

You’ll notice I also swapped out the pillows on the sofa in the background. While I dig the all-neutral aesthetic, I can’t live without pops of color. I think the patterns on the pillows add a different feel to the vignette. What are your thoughts?

Boxwood topiary sitting on books as part of coffee table tray decor

A couple of years ago, I found a great deal on boxwood topiaries at Target. You would never know the difference between this little boxwood and others I’ve seen at higher-end home decor shops. Real dried leaves!

By the way, the coffee table books are very intentionally turned around since the spines are much too dark for this scene.

(Psst…some of these “books” are hollow inside to gobble up remote controls when no one is looking.)

Coffee table decor ideas with french country urn, white ceramic decorative accent, books, boxwood topiary and rattan spheres

My little rustic bird usually perches above the TV in an art niche, but she insisted on becoming part of this vignette. Who am I to deny her?

I think she does make a nice stand-in for the original artichoke accent in the Pinterest photo.

More Coffee Table Tray Decor Ideas

If you need more ideas for coffee table decor pieces, how about incorporating some of these accents?

  • Candles
  • Lantern decor, hurricanes or vases
  • Wooden beads
  • Fresh flower arrangement
  • Faux floral arrangements, like a succulent centerpiece
  • Terrariums
  • Stacks of books with art/design themes
  • Decorative objects, like small statues or geometric pieces
  • Magnifying glass

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Collage of coffee table tray decor
First Day of Home signature

Continue Your Tour

Next on your stop is Terrie from Decorate and More with Tip. She always has a fun DIY project up her sleeve, so you’re bound to walk away with plenty of inspiration for your coffee table!

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  1. Oh, I LOVE your large French style urn, Crissy!!! I didn’t realize you had younger children still. Funny, I am always thinking everyone is my own age, lol! Glad your coffee table is surviving the twins ~ it looks great. And your coffee table vignette is lovely! I think the lighter tray is a good idea, too. Really pretty with everything and it does look a lot like the inspiration piece.

    Happy almost fall to you,
    Barb 🙂

    1. Oh, thanks so much, Barb! Yes, I still have my little boys running around! I must admit after I created this vignette, I did end up moving the urn. Better safe than sorry! Ha ha! Happy almost fall to you, too. Hugs, Crissy

  2. Crissy, I love the fresh look your centerpiece has! And I think the idea of placing colorful pillows in the background is a great idea to balance the neutral colors of the vignette. You’ve created a fresh take on fall decor!

    1. Thank you, Lora! I can’t live without some color. That’s why your croquet mallet wreath this summer really drew me in! Isn’t this challenge so fun? I really enjoy seeing all of the different takes on the same photo.

  3. Crissy, absolutely love your coffee table vignette, especially the French vase and the sweet bird. The colors are so warm and soft. Love the different textures for this time of year. Awesome job.

    1. Thank you, Carol! I just had a chance to wrap up visiting all the great posts. Yours is stunning, too! This is one of my favorite challenges since I think it really brings out each person’s unique style. Thanks for visiting!

    1. Thanks, Janet! Ha ha. Yes, this little bird normally sits on the books, so it was a package deal for this vignette. If you only knew how I scavenged for these items around the house! Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks, Cindy! Whew, this week has worn me out already with the start of school! I’m looking forward to kicking back and reading all the posts this evening. Thanks, as always, for coordinating such a fun hop for us.

  4. Artichoke! That’s what that is! Your vignette is so lovely, Crissy. Always love seeing bird figurines in a home. And your big vase is perfect! You really nailed it on putting your own twist on the coffee table vignette for the fall!

    No to go change the name from acorn to artichoke on my post!

    1. Julie! LOL! Do you know how many images I searched to figure out if it was an artichoke or a pinecone? Acorn didn’t cross my mind, or I would’ve researched that, too!! I still wasn’t 100% sure it was an artichoke, but I went with it. Thanks for the sweet words, my friend. I’m looking forward to reading your post, too!

  5. This is beautiful. I also love color & need it in every space. The pillows are great as a backdrop. And that little bird is so sweet. Enjoy your week!

    1. Thanks, Katie! I’m glad I’m not the only color-addict out there. I’m excited to be on this hop with you and look forward to reading your post tonight. Have a great week, too!

  6. Crissy I am in love with your basket tray. Love all the items you placed on your table. I love working with you on our challenge. Hope you have a blessed day!

    1. Thanks, Terrie! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through this hop and seeing your creative DIY projects! I’m always inspired to try something new after reading your posts. Have a blessed day too, my friend!

  7. Your coffee table vignette is so pretty, Chrissy! When I saw your first picture my first thoughts were, “I love that tray and that vase.” The tray is great because the sides aren’t high making it easy to see the things that you are displaying. I have a few trays but the sides are deep and it’s hard to display things without using some sort of riser underneath each item. That vase looks like it was a treasure brought home from France. I agree with you that adding pops of color to neutral decor is a good thing.

    1. Paula, that’s so kind. Thank you! I couldn’t resist the tray when I saw it. Originally, I had planned to use it outdoors on our patio, since it has a casual/beachy vibe. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to try things in different places to see what works. I never have this vase in our living room, but seeing the Pinterest photo inspired me to try it. This is one of my favorite challenges because it forces me to try new things, and I’m always amazed at everyone’s creativity and unique talents! We should start a TV show!

  8. Oh I love it all! I spotted that urn at Pier 1 earlier this summer and fell in love! It looks so beautiful in your vignette with all of your other pretty elements. I love how you placed the little orbs in the decorative box like little treasures! The pillows and pops of color in the background are gorgeous too.

    So happy to join you for this challenge. Beautiful job!

    1. Thanks so much, Amber! How funny that you saw the same piece! It’s a timeless treasure. I love anything that can just sit there and look good without much help.

      I’m always thrilled to hop with you. I haven’t had a chance to read other posts yet, but I know I’m going to start drooling over your vintage decor…always soooo stunning.

  9. Crissy, this is so pretty! I love your tray and urn! I too love using hollow books since they have a two-fold purpose…they look pretty and store items! Hugs!

    1. Thank you, Benita! Yes, I’m a fan of dual-purpose decor. I thought I was going to make my way through all the posts this morning, but I haven’t even had a chance to start! It’s been a hectic week with the start of school. I look forward to reading your post! Hugs to you, too!