Tips and Guides

4 Different Looks for 1 Coffee Table

Give that old centerpiece a break and try different ways to style your coffee table


The coffee table is the center of attention in the living room. It lies right in the middle of the area and it’s only fitting that it gets the attention it deserves. A coffee table can make a design statement and can be highly functional, too. Decorate it based on your needs and personal style.

Take inspiration from these four different looks.

Picks and styling by the Real Living Staff. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article ("1 Coffee Table, 7 Ways") in the August 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

Starting point. Start with a simple, clean-lined coffee table and neutral toned sofa. You may source from your favorite home or furniture store for a similar piece.
The Look: Old-School Fun Purpose: For play. Match your old-school board games with cool, retro-vintage accessories.

How to achieve the look:

- Look for your old board games, clean it, and place it at the center of your coffee table.

- Plop down huge stuffed floor pillows on the shag-rug-laden floor to make seating more comfortable.

- Fill the brown glassware with food and drinks for refreshments.

- Get the old-fashioned electric fan and box radio from your granddad’s office to keep you cool and entertained.

- Keep the phone close at hand so you’d never have to stand when it rings.

Words and Styling by Coni Tejada. You may find similar pieces when you visit SM Homeworld and Rustan’s.
The Look: Pinay D.I.Y. Purpose: For your personal crafts station. If you don’t have an extra area where you can do your craft projects and store your craft materials, you may designate the living area as your work area.

How to achieve the look:

- Use only a few tabletop ornaments to leave enough working space.

- You may use the sungka as an organizer for your beads and small materials. It can also serve as a decorative element.

- As ample storage space for your materials, a small baul is a perfect place to store your crafting tools such as beading pliers and scissors.

- Since coffee tables are lower than most tables, you can choose to sit cross-legged on a cute bamboo mat.

- For longer work hours, opt for a high-back chair to keep your posture in check.

Words and Styling by Angeli Sobrepena. Similar items may be sourced from Kultura Filipino, Grassroots, and SM Homeworld.
The Look: Tropical Idyll Purpose: For kicking back and relaxing. With this look, the coffee table is part of a setup that allows you to escape from everyday stress. It holds things that you love, that conjure pleasant memories, and that remind you to dream.

How to achieve the look:

- Think of your coffee table as a scrapbook of sorts.

- Display items from your travels, a reminder of a momentous occasion, and books about what you’re really into.

- Leave some room for putting your feet up.

- To achieve the beach-y feel, use natural materials like bamboo and bright colors such as orange and yellow.

- Make a splash by mixing pillow patterns—just unify them through color.

- Replace your crocheted coasters with pretty little floor tiles.

- Floor pillows provide extra seating—and added color—in this casual setup.

Words and Styling by Tisha Alvarez. Look for similar items when you visit Kultura Filipino, Grassroots, Rustan’s and SM Homeworld.
The Look: Sensible Chic Purpose: For camouflaging clutter. This table is perfect for those who like to have everything within arm’s reach but can’t stand the mess. Here’s proof that organizing can be pretty.

How to achieve the look:

- Add a number of storage solutions on top of the table as well as under it.

- Boxes of different sizes can hold remote controls and magazines, a tray for books, a tissue box, and a pencil holder – just in case you want to write something down.

- You may add a couple of framed photos of friends and family as well as things that inspire you.

- Floor pillows provide extra seating.

- Work with a mix of materials that complement a pink and brown theme for a hip, young, urban feel.

Words and Styling by Issa Villar. You may source for similar items when you visit SM Homeworld, National Bookstore, Tickles, and Kultura Filipino.

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