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Five Ways to Style a Coffee Table

January 6, 2015

Ah, my OCD is rearing it’s ugly head again.

A few months ago I received this email from my father:

From: Brooks Boyd <xxx@gmail.com>
Date: October 2, 2014 at 6:34:22 PM EDT
To: Anna Boyd <xxx@gmail.com>
Subject: Couch
I read your post about couch, nice. Didn't want to send comment for everyone to see, but the coffee table has too many books/magazines. 
Looks like the return book cart at the library. Can't wait to stretch out on the new couch!!!!!
Love ya!


No shortage of opinions at the Boyd household. Dad how did that work out about everyone not seeing your comments? 

But it did get me to thinking — that coffee table is a little full. So I asked Wilson. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Dad said our coffee table has too many books on it.

Wilson: THANK GOD someone finally said that. There are so many f&*king books on that damn table.

Me: So you agree?

Wilson: I can’t even put a beer down on that thing without bumping something over. It’s a coffee table not a book table.

Me: I thought it looked stylish.

Wilson: You know how I feel about stylish stuff.

Le sigh.

Here’s what it looked like below:

coffee table

 That is totally stylish. Sorry I’m not sorry.

coffee table 2

 And from above…

But the men in my life had spoken. So the books had to go. Wah. 

But here’s the problem: I can’t decide how to style the table now. I bought this big shell dish thing that is very pretty but just looks kind of odd on the table. Wilson told me the shell looked “very me” — ? — but I think he was just glad to finally have a flat surface upon which to place his beer. Little victories.  

So I need your help. Please tell me which option you like best.

Option 1: Shell thingy by itself

whole room

 Pardon the lingering Christmas décor. These photos were taken two weeks ago. Yes, I’ve been waffling that long.


shell above

 Pretty, right? But doesn’t it look a little lonely? Or am I just used to having 100 things on this table and that’s why I think that? Yes, this is how many questions I ask myself over a decision. I was told a few months ago I over-analyze things. Eureka!

Option 2: Shell Thing Plus a FEW Books

shell styling 2

 Shell looks a little less lonesome, but the books just don’t quite fit.

styling 2

shell detail

the props

 These were my props for styling.

Option 3: Shell with Books and Antler

number 4

 I chose a different stack of books to see what that looked like. In fact, am thinking about changing the top itself to one of the Cut My Plastic adorable pieces. I love the book at the top of the stack — titled The Joy of Life, it’s a beautiful abstract art book I found in a teeny bookstore in New Orleans.

number 4 again

number 4 trois

Option 3 is good, but it just doesn’t scream winner winner chicken dinner to me.

Option 4: Wilson’s Choice

wilsons turn

 And because he thinks he can do everything, Wilson decided to take a go at styling our coffee table.

“It’s so simple,” he said. I’m not sure if he meant his choice of décor or styling a table, but I didn’t agree with either of them.

wilson 2

And finally,

Option 5: The Current Sitch


Blue willow plate + pink tulips + candle + shell = success?

tulips again

I think I like this option the best.

tulip style vertical

option 5 full

 So what do y’all think? Which option is your favorite? Leave me a comment and help s’il vous plait as I am rife with indecision.

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  • Reply Paula January 6, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Flowers.. Just because I’m partial to flowers 🙂

  • Reply Molly January 6, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I’m loving option 5 and the flowers are gorgeous!

    • Reply Anna January 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Well aren’t you just the sweetest Molly 🙂

  • Reply Patrice January 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I like Option 2 (maybe add a candle), but really like Option 5 the best (sans the blue willow plate)!

    • Reply Anna January 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Why no plate Mom??

  • Reply Kate January 6, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I like options 3 & 5

    • Reply Anna January 7, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Those are my favorite too!

  • Reply Richard January 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    You left out the traditional option 6, for young 20-something males: Empty beers and trash.

    • Reply Anna January 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Ah dang! Such a good point. Next time??

  • Reply Margaret Clarke January 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Girl, you need some shells in that awesome clam! Want me to send you some 😉 – I found 50 sand dollars on Sunday. Actually, why don’t you and Wilson come visit and you can find your own. Hint. I love that your Dad told you you had to many books. My Dad is the same way with pillows. xo

  • Reply Reston January 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Option 3 is my favorite. Also option 5 works but you will have to keep flowers in the vase all the time.

    • Reply Anna January 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Very true…

  • Reply Susan Harpe January 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Option 5 – flowers are always gorgeous and gives Wilson a chore of making sure he brings them to you…..Ha!

    • Reply Anna January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Susan, I love the way you think!!

  • Reply Wilson January 6, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Why hasn’t anyone voted for option #4???

    • Reply Anna January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Don’t take this the wrong way but no one likes your styling.

  • Reply E January 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    It didn’t take that magnifying glass on top of the books to see you had to much on that table. Im going with a modified #4 here, adding spent shotgun shells to go in the clam thing for a more manly feel…maybe twist off beer caps too, but probably not. Would want to keep it classy. With the modified #4, you have somewhere to put both beers and feet, equally important given proximity of TV. We have a winner.

  • Reply Charlotte January 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    So when I asked “How do yall eat dinner on your coffee table with so many books on it?” it wasn’t totally off base?!?

    • Reply Anna January 9, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Not off base at all. I moved them of course!!

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