Acting as the centerpiece of a room, a cocktail table is where great hospitality hits its highest notes. As a designer, I like to add in elements of a client’s personality by combining the distinctive character of the space with their needs and wants. When thoughtfully curated, a cocktail table can create a well-balanced room that is both inviting and comfortable. Here are 4 ways to successfully style your signature cocktail table.


Photography provided by Habachy Designs

Round About

This table’s shape and gold finish reinforce the contemporary vibe of this room. The layering of heights keeps your eye moving and catches your interest. Taking the jackets off books keeps things clean, while incorporating a sculptural element introduces personality. Finally, an organic detail adds a finishing touch; I love using fresh flowers to update the vibe with the change of the seasons. Unexpected is the key to a contemporary look.


Photography provided by BA Staging and Design

Two Become One

So many homes today are built with open floor plans. It’s nice to have space for the whole family to gather comfortably, but it can be challenging to find the right cocktail table to fit a spacious seating arrangement. To start, a rule of thumb is to have a place for every guest to be able to set down a glass with ease. Putting together two identical tables can do the trick. It’s best if the tables have straight legs and can be pushed together seamlessly. When working with a larger surface area like this, I like to ground and gather items using a tray. This helps define the vast space and adds a visually appealing layering effect.


Photography provided by Seattle Home Enhancement

Smooth as Glass

Working with a small space? A glass-topped table creates a spacious feel with the optional function of tucking an ottoman underneath. The tufting here adds texture and softens the hard edges of the glass, while a pop of color draws focus. Accessories should be solid to create some contrast as anything too airy will diminish the effect.


Photography provided by Eastern the Furniture Company

Come Together

Another great solution for smaller spaces are bunching tables since they are easy to maneuver. If needed, they can be moved to function as end tables. The mirrored surface and varying heights catch your eye, while fresh flowers bring the room to life. Simplicity is key here as a small space can quickly feel cluttered and busy with too many elements.

Joni George is a Minneapolis-based interior designer and founder of Joni George Interiors, which styles homes to feel timeless, classic and complete.