Coffee Table Chic

The Tig Archives January 20, 2015

It’s tough not to swoon over a perfectly styled coffee table, something that’s very much on my mind as I settle into this new abode. Whenever you’re walk through a gorgeous hotel lobby or through your chicest friend’s living room, don’t you always wish that your table looked so well put together? You try to emulate their look, but no matter how many Chanel or Herb Ritts books you buy, you can never lay them out just so. Enter the decorating maestro, Patrick Delanty. As Ty Pennington’sright hand man as Design Director for Ty Pennington Productions, Patrick knows a thing or two about tricks for sprucing up your home that seem relatively simple, but are actually pretty hard to pull off. Yes, even like arranging your coffee table books. Thankfully, The Tig has Patrick on our side, so you’ll be able to recreate some of that decorating magic that we all wish we had. Take it away, Mr. Delanty…


“Having a collection of beautiful books on a coffee table has become a key design element used by professional interior designers as well as DIY-ers these days. It is a chic, elegant, intellectual look that can add character to most any living room while also revealing volumes about the character of the person who lives there. It may seem like a simple concept, however to achieve this effortless look, it needs to be executed properly, otherwise it can look like an unkempt mess or a leftover study session. Follow these basic guidelines to make it seem as though you had the touch of an interior designer in your living room:”

  1. DO – Stack books according to size
  2. Place the largest books on the bottom and then the smaller on each level going up.

  3. DON’T – Stack too high
  4. Your stack of books should only be 3 or 4 max, or it’ll just look like a discarded pile of textbooks.

  5. DO – Coordinate book jacket colors
  6. Either work with a color scheme where each book is a different color, or choose books that are in the same color range. For example, choose a stack with blues, blacks and greys, or jackets with reds, oranges and yellows.

  7. DON’T – Use books with torn or worn jackets
  8. You’re trying to achieve a clean look, so all of your books should be in good shape to pull this off.

  9. DO – Mix in an accessory or two
  10. Place items like a beautiful candle or a vase with flowers or greenery on top of a stack. It’s not all about books—have fun with this and take this as an opportunity to showcase your favorite keepsakes or items you’ve collected.

  11. DON’T – Go overboard
  12. Less is more with book stacking, so keep it to a minimum. Move things around until you feel like there is a perfect balance of items on display.

  13. DO – Add a decorative tray to one side
  14. This is a great look for a creative alternative to simple books. Use a mod, decorative tray and set it to one side of the table with just one or two books on it. If you have friends over and you need space to set down food or drinks, it’s easy to load up the tray to quickly clear the table.

  15. DO – Keep it minimal
  16. If you want a more contemporary, sparse display on your table, pick a favorite coffee table book with amazing photography or artwork and leave that one book open. This grabs your guests’ interest the minute they sit down. Add a candle or vase with flowers off to the side and you are done!

Hero image via: Lonny