An empty coffee table has always been awkward to me. Your coffee table is more than likely a major focal point and socializing center in your home, make it your own with these ten ideas to get you started to a socially un-awkward setting.
1) A fun inspiring board game
A simple to setup and play board game in plain view can help perk up a slow evening. Look for games that are easy to learn (if the kids want to jump in) but can keep an adults attention for a few rounds. Go with tried and true classics like Scrabble or the extremely fun and social Apples to Apples.
2) What are you reading?
Don’t go overboard with this one, less is more. Place reading material that reflects your interests out to stimulate conversation. A local magazine or travel guide book from the last place you went on vacation does two things – gives you a chance to regale your guests with tales of your adventures and serves as a happy reminder to you of your trip. Planning for a big trip in the future? You can’t go wrong with a book on your next destination as well. I am not usually a fan of large coffee table specific photo books. Why? They are usually grossly overpriced and hard to physically flip through not to mention, they promote quiet reading/viewing – not conversation.
3) Small pillows
Pillows on the coffee table? But of course! I know it sounds weird but it works. A few pillows that follow or contrast your rooms color scheme really can compliment your other table top accessories but they are really there for you to put your feet on. By far this is the classiest way to turn your coffee table into an ottoman.
4) Cookie monster
A medium sized, lidded cookie jar with colorful marbles or rock in the bottom and nostalgia chewing gum placed on top is a guaranteed never seen before item. Nostalgia is always in fashion and people seem to innately want to try chewing gum from the good old days. You can go WAY back and get gum like Blackjack or Beemans from Nostalgia Gum or peruse the web for your personal favorite from when you were a kid, nostalgia gum is very popular now so chances are good you will find what you are looking for.
5) A vintage cigar box
Everyone can use more storage space and a cigar box that looks like it could tell its own story is perfect here. Chances are you have a few small items you wish to hide from view on your coffee table – the television remote, books or ___________ (fill in the blank). Don’t go searching retail for this, head to ebay.com and do a search for “Vintage Cigar Box” and you will find hundreds of unique boxes for sale starting at $5.00 and going up.
6) Coasters are essential
Even if you have a table that does not require a coaster for wet drinks, some of your guests will feel obligated to use one and if they don’t see one, they will probably politely sit there, drink in hand. If you do not want them out all the time, place your stack in the above mentioned cigar box. Sustainable wood coasters like teak and bamboo are stylish and pieces from reputable companies that offer reclaimed tropical wood are an eco-conscious way to go.
7) Rock on
A small Asian rock garden. Cliché? Yes. But everyone secretly loves playing with them, it’s calming and unless you have a cat (to them it’s a centrally located litter box) you just cannot go wrong with this. Make sure to one with high sides to aid in keeping the sand in the garden.
8 Happiness is a flower
Flowers or a small and simple live plant are a great small accent to your coffee table. Stick with simple flowers and do not get too caught up in colors. Pick a flower or plant that makes you happy and captures your mood or personality. Consider selecting something natural to the Las Vegas area, small desert influences are always appreciated. Desert mariposa lilies are a favorite of mine and are easy to care for.
9) Let your spirit be free
Place a small bottle of your favorite liquor or spirit out. This might come in handy with the aforementioned board games. I am not even going to try and make suggestions on brands or types of liquor but the fine folks over at Lee’s Discount Liquor can help if you need it.
Keep it personal. Raid your closets, unpacked boxes and drawers for items that really mean something to you. Why be cautious when it comes to what you display on your coffee table? “Found” items can also fall into this category. Be loud with your color or follow a strict color scheme – it’s your coffee table, make it a reflection of yourself.