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3 Easy Ways to Restyle Your Coffee Table With Things You Already Have

When you think about the center of a living room or other lounge space, one thing that probably comes to mind is a coffee table – that cute and essential piece that is home to remote controls and coasters, but also allows you to showcase a bit of your personality. You might display your favorite succulent, a few of your “must-read” magazines, perhaps a picture frame or two. These little parts of you make your space inviting and fun.

As with any living space, every now and then it can be refreshing to change up the items you have sitting out. While it might be tempting to turn to Etsy or RedBubble, or any of the countless online treasure troves to do this, you can also take it as an opportunity to breathe new life into items you already own. This helps protect both your budget and the planet, and gives you a reason to get creative! Below are some suggestions for restyling your trusty coffee table.

Switch out the stacks



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If you’re someone who especially likes to adorn your coffee table with books, try dusting off some old volumes and putting them in the spotlight. Are your favorite novels getting lonely sitting on your shelf? Bring them out. Got a cookbook that you haven’t referenced in forever but has a super cool vintage look to it? Try that on for size. You can even repurpose old textbooks — paper bags from the grocery store make great book covers!

Be a curator of household finds



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If you look around other areas within your living space, you’ll probably find that, like everyone’s favorite under-the-sea Disney princess, you’ve got “gadgets and gizmos aplenty.” Items such as stones, crystals, string lights and even costume jewelry are easy to display in containers (baskets, vases, bowls, etc.) or simply on their own. If you have a tray that sits on your vanity or dresser, consider using that as a base for the above. A fashion scarf or pretty place setting works, too! And never underestimate the timeless appeal of flowers. To make a bouquet last even longer, you can use simple methods to dry flowers.​

Tell a story



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Objects associated with special memories or that hold significant meaning can be a joy-sparking addition to your coffee table. An avid hiker might want to set out maps of her favorite trails. Someone who loves origami could exhibit a few of the paper cranes that took tons of practice to master. Greeting cards, travel journals, and photo albums are great options as well. Place your favorite candle alongside any of the above and boom — instant #aesthetic and good vibes.

Redecorating a coffee table with things you already have is all about reusing, repurposing, and, ultimately, reminiscing. (You might even enjoy the process even more than if you had to spend time and money on new items.) Find the beauty in simplicity and style away!


Elli Wills

Illinois '18

Elli has written for the U of I at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) chapter of Her Campus, the UIUC literary arts journal, Montage, and the nonprofit online magazine Culturally Modified. During her time as an intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, she also had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a fellow intern for the museum blog -- an experience that only confirmed her love for learning about others and sharing their unique stories. When she's not jotting down ideas for her next article, you can often find her binge-watching anime, practicing yoga, or spending time outdoors.