THREE vintage coffee table decor ideas along with styling tips and tricks to create a beautiful vintage display for your living room.
I don’t know how it is in your house, but our coffee table gets a lot of use! Anything from a place for our feet, to a table for our food. And yes, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking that’s pretty gross! But, we do eat on plates and we do take our shoes off when we come in the house!
But because our coffee table gets so much action, I want to be able to quickly and easily clear it off. Today I’m sharing with you 3 vintage decor ideas for your coffee table that you can pick up and set aside when you need to!
To demonstrate the vintage coffee table decor I went to the shop to gather items. Now, all of these items might not be listed on the website, but they are all available as I write this post, so if you see something you want, just leave me a comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Vintage Coffee Table Decor Option 1
First up we have what I would call traditional layering. Layering definitely makes a space look more professionally put together. And, it’s super simple! You just stack things on top of each other!
You know how a winding stair case looks? Essentially, that is what you are doing. You can stack things that are different shapes and sizes, but typically start with the longest or widest and get a little smaller or narrower with each stack or layer. With each stack you are going to want a little color contrast as well.
On my coffee table I started with a big bread board or cutting board. This serves a couple purposes. First it gives us a flat surface to work with. The wood pieces on the trunk sit up higher than the rest of the trunk, making it a little difficult to hold our decor. The second reason I used the cutting board was to provide the color contrast we need. The black of the trunk pairs nicely with the wood tone of the board.
On top of that we go back to black with an old grate and we also selected something that is smaller than our cutting board. Note too, how each is sat at a slight angle, that helps us achieve that winding stair case layout I said was pleasing to the eye.
Instead of going back to a wood color with our wooden bowl, we added in another layer with our stack of ironstone plates. This adds, height, color, and texture. It also repeats elements that I have elsewhere in the room. So not only are we making a winding staircase by layering items and starting with our largest at the bottom, we are also selecting our vintage items based off of color and textures found throughout the room.
Repetition is key to creating a cohesive look in the room and throughout our homes. It also ties the vignette itself together.
On top of the ironstone plates I placed a wooden bowl. By itself the last layer would seem incomplete, so to prevent that we are going to fill the bowl with more vintage goodies.
Common filler would be greenery, fabric of any style, shredded paper, even buttons. The filler creates another layer and breaks up the solid color of the bowl. For this I chose to drape a piece of a vintage tablecloth in and around the bowl. Again, think about our fabric placement like a winding staircase.
Inside the bowl I placed vintage items that matched the color scheme. For me, that was neutrals! I had a string of feathers I added for more filler, a book stack, a piano roll, antique baby shoes and an old photo. These items all got nestled into the bowl.
To provide some repetition in the vignette, I added another pair of baby shoes outside of the bowl and to go with our old photo I also added a camera. To repeat some rusty metal from our grate I added a couple old door knob sets.
And when it’s time to put my feet up I can throw the door knobs in the bowl and lift up the grate with all of the other vintage goodies still in place!
Vintage Coffee Table Idea Option 2
Then, I decided to create a look that was a little more contained. You could keep or remove the bread board for this look. In the video I did not use it and in these photos I did.
Next I focused on color contrast, repetition of items and textures found elsewhere in the room and giving items some height. Because I wanted to actually be able to see the items I placed in the toolbox insert, I used a small wooden box to give some height and then I stacked on top a couple oval ironstone bread plates.
Just like when we filled the wooden bowl in the first vignette, I wanted to fill the platter versus having a stark solid white piece. I have a TON of old keys, so I thought they would coordinate perfectly. The rusty aged metal of the toolbox insert and the same coloring in the keys created a happy balance.
Because the handle on the toolbox is so low, it limits the items you can place inside. I grabbed an old farm scoop and stuck that in at an angle. It has a wooden handle that gives us the repetition we need, but again it gave us something else to fill. Because the scoop is so dark, I went with light wood stained music rolls.
Now we had items on each end of the tool box, but nothing towards the center and nothing with height. Whenever you are creating a vignette or display, you want to vary the heights of your items. A tarnished brass vase was the perfect fit to the space! I added a few feathers I had and our 2nd option is complete!
And when it’s time to put our feet up! I can simply grab the handle and lift off the toolbox insert.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is that you can make all of these vignettes completely functional as well. Do you often have a stack of books you are reading? Slide those into that wooden bowl or use those as a riser under the ironstone bread plates. Want to show off a family photo? Use that instead of a vintage one in your bowl. Throw your remote collection into the scoop instead of music rolls.
We want our decor to be beautiful, but also functional!
Vintage Coffee Table Decor Idea Option 3
On our last vintage coffee table decor idea I again used the cutting board and then on top of that I added a locker basket with a hint of chippy blue paint! Now you can’t see it, but I actually have a blue cabinet in this room, so the pop of color is a great way to tie the whole space together.
If you want to see the blue cabinet I’m talking about, check it out HERE.
I love old books and I love old books without covers! I have an entire cabinet in my bedroom that is full of books without covers! I love it!
Again, I needed some height in the basket, and I decided instead of using wood boxes or a plate stack, that I would use books. Turning the book bundles in different directions allowed me to fill the basket completely. Now, I think I mentioned earlier that you want to have height in your vignettes, but another styling tip is to have things at different heights.
Notice that I have the books at different heights and the way I put the wooden boxes on top, keeps the heights different. What I mean is that if I had flip flopped the wooden boxes on top, it probably would have made the right and left side even and we don’t want that. So, the books are stacked at different heights and I put the taller box on the taller book stack.
Next I filled the boxes! In the video I show a variety of options, but I settled with a little green in our plant, some architectural salvage and a little ink bottle collection. Your items look better displayed together, they make a statement that way, so having the 3 bottles together works well and is more noticeable.
If you liked these styling tips, then you’ll also enjoy this one on staging a bookcase or cabinet.
And in this post the before and after of simply adding basic layers is a great example for beginners.
This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.