How to style an outdoor coffee table

19 January, 2015

Coffee table styling has been incredibly popular this year. It's been so popular, in fact, that it's been covered by major home design gurus like Pottery Barn, Houzz, HGTV and the Everygirl. The outdoor coffee table, however, has been a bit neglected. For many of us, our patios are merely exterior extensions of our homes, and we think they should be designed to look like it. Mother Nature can make creating a space that's most beautiful and durable a bit difficult, however, and we think it gives backyard decorating a bit of a bad rap. To take your outdoor living room to the next level, the coffee table is the perfect place to start – and we might just know how to style it. 

Layer 1: Trays and books
In reality, styling your outdoor coffee table isn't so different from styling your indoor one. Using several layers of decor, you effectively make your coffee table a visually interesting centerpiece. The key? Choosing items that are a bit more weatherproof. If your patio is covered, then few tweaks will need to be made. If your coffee table is exposed, however, then you'll need to be a little more careful. 

Every well-decorated coffee table begins with some sort of flat piece. Trays work wonderfully, and many are waterproof. Large, hardcover books make a great base too, but these should be reserved for coffee tables that are sheltered from the elements. Whatever you choose, make sure it contrasts well with the color of your outdoor furniture; you want your patio to be just as cohesive as your living room. 

Layer 2: Plants
Nothing anchors a coffee table quite like a little shrubbery does. While you can opt for a traditional vase of flowers (they are great for adding a pop of color), you can also opt for more durable and unexpected succulents. If your table isn't covered, feel free to opt for a fake plant that won't die during the next rainstorm. 

Layer 3: Candles
Lit or unlit, candles make a beautiful addition to all coffee tables. The key to protecting yours outdoors? Candles that come in decorative, protective cases, like small lanterns. Regardless of your candle choice, you'll want to make sure you have a waterproof box of matchbooks nearby. One cool idea we've seen: a clear glass jar filled with matchbooks the couple had picked up on their vacations.

Layer 4: Personal items
Next up: Small trinkets like magnifying glasses, statuettes, patterned bowls or crystal goblets. These personal items can be mixed and matched for the most unique look, and most are weather proof by nature. One thing to keep in mind when placing these decorations on your coffee table outside: weight. Super lightweight items can quickly blow away in the wind, so you'll want to save those for your decorating indoors. 

Bonus layer: An outdoor rug and blankets
To anchor the whole look together, you can also throw an outdoor rug directly underneath your coffee table. Not only is a great way to tie together you coffee table decor and your outdoor furniture, but it's also a great place to incorporate fun patterns. During the cooler months, keep a basket of blankets underneath your coffee table so friends and family can keep warm – and keep the conversation flowing. 

We're just saying – there's no reason indoor coffee tables should have all the fun. A few minor tweaks mean your outdoor living room can look just as breathtaking as your indoor one. We guarantee it.