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The coffee table vignette is most often one of the most important vignettes, when it comes to styling a home for sale, as it is often in the centre of the ‘hero room’ … the room that creates the first impression and sets the theme and feel of the home.

When styling homes day in, day out, it does help to have some sort of formula to follow.

Formulas and processes work, in all walks of life. They can be refined, tested, measured and tested again.

We are constantly refining our styling processes at Cape Cod Residential, taking on feedback and observing reactions to our styling from the buyers who attend our open homes.

I generally divide a square coffee table into 4 sections, a rectangular into 6 sections, and start by filling each section.

Round tables we generally style with one central vignette.

I used to joke about using this formula (which I made up a good few years back):

T + F + B + 2P = CTM

Tray + Foliage + Books + a minimum of 2 Pretties = Coffee Table Magic!

TFBP – ‘Timeless Features Breed Perfection’!


1. A Tray

Most often I will start with a tray, to group things together so that the table doesn’t look too messy.

A tray provides the opportunity to bring together dissimilar items, to make them look more cohesive and collected.

I use all shapes and textures in my trays …. rattan, wicker, battered metal or mirrored trays. I am always looking for trays that have pretty edges too, to mix things up a bit.


2. Foliage

I like to add in something from nature – a leafy green plant or a vase of flowers … providing varied texture and the opportunity to introduce some height into the coffee table vignette.

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Real foliage does tend to be a bit high maintenance for me as it does die between open homes! I tend to sneak in a good quality artificial piece when I can, if fresh foliage is not possible at the time. There is a time and a place to ’embrace faux’.

If you don’t use a plant to add height to your vignette, you could add some height with a hurricane lamp or a beautiful pair of candlesticks or ginger jars.


3. Books

Books, or a pile of glossy magazines, can also provide an opportunity to add some height to your coffee table vignette, and provide a platform on which you can display a smaller decorative pieces that mean something special to you.


4. Pretties

A few decorative pretties add in a bit of your personality … a piece of coral, a small bowl, candles, a teacup.

I try to add at least 2 pretties to each of my coffee table vignettes to add more variety and some interesting shapes.


If the coffee table is large-ish, you can also add a bigger piece to balance it all out … a low dish/bowl or an urn filled with baubles or a collection of some sort.


Overall, I try to use uniform colours and a variety of textures and heights to make it interesting, often mixing shiny pieces with textured pieces … like mirrored trays with rattan and coral.


What do you think of my formula?

TFBP – ‘Timeless Features Breed Perfection’

Results in a high probability of ….

Coffee Table Magic!

Statistically significant results …. when it comes down to the outcome … a house sale!


All Images Courtesy Real Estate Pics