If you don't know where to start, just follow this simple formula: Books + Plant + Decorative Elements. Layer these three things together and you'll come up with something that works every time! Just keep a couple of things in mind - odd number groupings always look best, and try to vary height so you have something small, medium and large.
My sister Hayley's living room is almost complete, but she needs to add the finishing touches on her coffee table.
Here's a few ideas to dress it up:
Coffee table books - if the subject is of personal importance, even better! I have this book about the Park Cities area (where Hayley and I grew up) on my own coffee table.
A vintage glass dump (or two), placed on top of a stack of coffee table books.
A glass hurricane. It's tall, but translucent and simple so it's not overbearing. Plus, it looks beautiful lit with a simple white candle when she has friends over for dinner. Or, she can fill it with seasonal decor like sparkling ornaments or forced paperwhite narcissus bulbs.
A box, in this case an antique Chinoiserie tea caddy. I think it's important to mix old and new, and the subtle gilding on this box complement the gold tones in Hayley's room.
A white phalaenopsis orchid. I've never had much luck with orchids, but this variety is the easiest to grow, and Whole Foods sells a (virtually) indestructible one for $24.99. Just take it home and repot it in a pretty planter.
Pretty easy, right? Stay tuned for "after" pictures of Hayley's table...we need to do some shopping!