Home » blog » How to Arrange Stacked Coffee Table Books Beautifully

How to Arrange Stacked Coffee Table Books Beautifully

Learn how to decorate with stacked coffee table books on different tables and favorite selections of colorful-eclectic and neutral books.

Books are one of my favorite things to decorate with! They are often the base of a beautifully styled shelf or table. I enjoy reading and displaying them and have shared stories on how to style bookshelves, 10 creative ways to decorate with books, and my favorite books for interior home decor lovers.

Just the other day I was scrolling through Etsy and found the cutest bundles of vintage books in rainbow colors ready to go. And now you can go online and buy stacks of designer books to make decorating a breeze.

Of course, using books you already have and hunting for ones that you’ll be keen on reading and decorating with is why I’m here. I’m thrilled to share just how easy it is to style coffee table book stacks to create a designer vignette and some of my favorite coffee table books in my collection.

Colorful and eclectic stacked coffee table books styled on a large white rectangle coffee table with air plants, brass cranes, and colorful accessories.  FInd more book stacking ideas in the article.
Colorful Stacked Coffee Table Books

How to Style Coffee Table Books in Three Steps

Let’s call this the basic formula and take it from there.

  1. Grab 2-4 coffee table books and stack them from largest to smallest. Sometimes a book will be longer but not as wide as the next one. That’s okay as long as they are similar in size.
  2. optional: Use a flat accessory a little smaller than the top book. This can be a decorative dish, bowl, stand, tray, basket, or anything that something can safely be placed on top of! This is used to elevate the top accessory and add interest with layers but is also optional.
  3. Place 1-3 sculptural items directly on top of a book stack or flat tray or dish. Use a collection of things if you use a decorative bowl or basket. Examples: A small plant on a plate or footed stand, a pair of brass figurines, or tall candlesticks with a third decorative item. Decorating in odd numbers is a designer’s secret.
A front view of a grand piano with books and decor on top, a large fringed arch lamp, jewel toned walls, furniture, curtains, and rug for tips on how to style coffee table books.
Colorful Decor on a Grand Piano

Now let’s take it to the next level. All of the flat surfaces that you decorate should visually have a similar amount of decoration on each table, shelf, counter, etc… as a rule of thumb. Follow the next tips below if you prefer minimal and clean styling or decor. Scroll down if “more is more” is in your book!

Clean and simple book arranging tips

These book stacking ideas are fail-safe decorating for any style of room decor.

  • Use neutral coffee table books.
  • Keep accessories simple and interesting with different textures and one or two pops of color.
  • Two stacked coffee table books adorned with a small potted plant or accessory on top of a coffee table or accent table make a gorgeous statement without looking busy.
  • Use a decorated stack of coffee table books on one side of a large coffee table with a trio of pillar candle holders, a vase with flowers, or another object roughly the same size as the coffee table books to balance the other.
  • Use two more stacks of coffee table books evenly spaced out with only one accessory on one or two of the stacks.
A stack of coffee table books with a large vase on top and trio of candles next to it on a white table in front of a german smear fireplace with a brass peacock screed.
Three Coffee Table Books Stacked with a Large Vase
A white nightstand with stacked black books and black candle and a round retro clock on the side.   A anthropologie mural on the wall.
Tone on Tone Decorating with Books
A gray coffee table with a large white tray holding a stack of books with white candles and a koi fish, a wood box, and candle snuffer.  A decorative box and aloe plant on the other side of the tray.
Using Orange and Browns as Neutrals for Coffee Table Styling
Summer Bedroom Decorating With a stack of art books, chinoiserie bowl, and sunflowers below a gold antique mirror.
Simple Styling for Stacked Art Books
 Small gold bamboo table with a wood chest underneath against a white wall and blue and white rug.  A couple of decorative coffee table books with a round mecury glass small lamp is styled on top.
Interior Decor Books on a Small Accent Table
Books on a white chair with a jade plant.
Stacked Books on a Chair
Simple black and white decorating with netural cooffee table books and plants on a piano.
Neutral Book Arranging on the Piano

Traditional and eclectic coffee table book styling

  • Divide your flat surface with stacks of books evenly using 2-6 stacks of books to make a grid.
  • Color code the book colors for an interesting arrangement! I love sticking to greens and blues or just using black and white with pops of gold.
  • The accessories on top should be of varying heights. Try decorating one stack of books with a single tall/large item or a grouping of tall items while the other stacks of books have smaller/shorter decorative objects to take up less visual space. A pretty box to hide things on one stack can be practical for a coffee table with remotes and controllers.
  • Spread out two to four stacks of decorative books and place something large in the middle directly on the table if you have the space. This is perfect for a flower arrangement, plant, or tall candle holders and figurines.
  • Stick to a single-color family and neutrals if things start looking too busy. A pretty plate or tray with family photos or postcards to browse through can be enough. Or a basket or bowl with seashells or pinecones depending on the season!
  • Display high-end decor with special mementos together.
Sofa table with raw edge wood and eclectic decor with decorative books in a Japanese rental house.  A white cat sits on a ottoman next to a basket nestled under the table.
Sofa Table Styling with Decorative Books and Trays
A white french provencial dresser is decorated with stacked books, candles, flowers, plants, and vases with an ecletic gallery wall around a wall mounted tv and blue and white area rug.
Stacked Books on a Dresser
Pinecones sit in a wood bowl on top of neutral cofee table book styling for seasonal decor on the piano.
Pinecones in a Wood Bowl on top of Neutral Coffee Table Books Styling
Asian decor in a white bright foyer wtih a plant in a chinoierie bowl.  A beautiful black Asian cabinet wtih Fall decor and a large lotus art piece above.
Gold and White Books Stacked on a Gold Tray

Join me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes, DIYs, decorating tips, room tours, and home inspiration. I’ll see you over there!

A large white coffee table is divided with four stacks of coffee table books and colorful accessories on top.  Green furniture is around it.
Book Bindings Facing Out on Our Coffee Table

Why decorate with coffee table books?

  • Use everything you have. You can display and store almost anything beautifully. My motto is to decorate with things I love and use to keep clutter at bay.
  • Think of books as a tray to coral or hold items. Items just look neater when they are anchored together. A stack of books may be the solution you were looking for on a busy table or shelf.
  • Elevate something special. Feature your favorite pieces by using a stack of coffee table books as a display.
  • Can add height to lighting and other things when needed. Mismatched end tables or table lamps? Use a stack of books to create an even height on both sides of the sofa or bed.
  • It makes seasonal decorating super easy. Just switch a container of something for the seasons and different holidays.
  • Books are special. Plain and simple. “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

Look at any magazine or professionally designed house and you’ll see coffee table books styled into the decor!

A note on plants: Make sure a live plant is in a cache pot and/or on a plate or tray to protect the book from water.

A grey coffee table with two white large trays and decorating items and coffee table book stack.
Easy Coffee Table Book Stack

How many coffee table books should you stack?

You should use 2-4 books that are roughly the same size but can be of different thicknesses to get a nice balance for a coffee table book stack. The larger the surface the more books you can use. Multiple stacks can be the same height for a cohesive look.

Modern Chic Coffee Table Styling for Christmas.  A white tray with burled wood box and plant, stacked coffee table books and a pair of brass cranes are on one side.  The other half is a wood bow with ornaments and stack of books with candles.
Tray with Books on One Half and Books and Bowl Balances the Other Half

How do you arrange stacked books on a coffee table and decorate with them?

A small rectangular coffee table usually looks best with one to two stacks of coffee table books. Larger rectangle or square coffee tables can be divided into squares for 2-4 stacks of books and occasionally 6 stacks! Think of a triangle shape when styling a round coffee table using 1 or 3 stacks of books.

A view of the living room with a green velvet sofa, german smear fireplace with built in bookcase, and white and green decor.
Colorful and Eclectic Styling with Lots of Books
Stacked interior decorating books with decorative grapes on top.
Coffee Table Book Styling with Decorative Grapes

How do you decorate with a stack of books on a table?

Start by placing a stack of books on a tray and then arrange accessories on top and/or around. Use odd numbers for groupings. For example, three small items on top of the stack of books or one large accessory.

Decor styled on a stack of magazines.
Decor on a Stack of Magazines

Do coffee table books have to match?

This is preference. A mix of colors looks excellent in eclectic and colorful traditional styles while using all warm or cool tones can appear less busy. Neutral book bindings are the easiest to decorate with. Try incorporating colors already in your decor on top of white coffee table books.

A green velet sofa with a close up of a MCM side table using books to elevate a copper table lamp in an eclectic living room.
Art Books Elevate a Table Lamp

What size of coffee table book should you use?

Coffee table books are larger than your standard book to grab attention to their aesthetic qualities and can come in many different sizes. Expect to find portrait, square, and landscape layouts for these decorative books.

The larger the surface you are styling, the larger the coffee table book size should be for the bottom of your stack or single-layer display. Try for 11″ in length or larger.

A single coffee table book  on a small round accent table.
A Single Coffee Table Book

Where to Find Coffee Table Books

My favorite place to look for used coffee table books is Half Price Books. I also love hunting for used or vintage coffee table books at Estate and garage sales. Most of my new decorative books come from Amazon so I’ve rounded up a couple of lists below with affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

Find books just for home decor and DIYs lovers in this article.

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience to brands I love. You still pay the same price but I may earn a small commission.

Best Coffee Table Books for Decorating on Amazon

I own every single one of these. They are my favorite decorating books that are also fun to decorate with!

Neutral Coffee Table Books

I have a couple of these but the rest are on my Christmas/birthday list. 😉

Now that you know how to style coffee table books, I hope you are inspired to try the tips with your own books and decorating accessories! Find out how to decorate with books in this article and tips for styling a bookcase here. Leave a comment if you have any questions or comments and I’m happy to reply.

  • The Best Curtains For Green Walls Guide With Beautiful Photos
    Discover the perfect curtains for your green walls! From warm earthy tones to cool blues, find the ideal match for a stylish interior. Hey there! Green is my favorite color, and I’ve been decorating with it for years. It is one of the easiest colors to design a room with and the perfect blank canvas…
  • How to Decorate a Paper Lantern with Brilliant Floral Accents
    Learn how to decorate a paper lantern with flowers on a budget for your next celebration or to update your home decor! Hi friend! I’m excited to share a DIY gem with you today, a beautiful floral paper lantern. And guess what? You can easily gather all your supplies at a local dollar store! Just…
  • DIY Plate Magnets: Personalize Your Fridge with Easy Homemade Decor
    Transform your fridge with DIY refrigerator magnets! Learn how to make your own magnets using dollar store plates and easy steps. Get creative now! Are you tired of the bland look of your refrigerator? Want to jazz it up with some magnetic decorations for refrigerators that reflect your unique style? Look no further! In this…
  • A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating An Aesthetic Bookshelf in Different Styles
    Embrace the bookshelf aesthetic! Discover creative tips for beautifully styled and curated shelves and easily transform your home. Having a beautifully curated bookshelf or bookcase is one of my favorite ways to showcase personal style and interests while also creating an inviting atmosphere in the home. But I know having an empty bookshelf or bookcase…
  • How to Choose the Perfect Curtain Size: Your Ultimate Guide + Free Printable Curtain Size Chart!
    Discover the secrets to perfectly sized curtains on a budget with a free curtain size chart and an in-depth guide for stylish window treatments. Have you ever found yourself standing in front of a window, unsure of what size curtains to choose? Maybe you’ve experienced the frustration of curtains that are too short, too long,…


  1. we’ve recently acquired a rectangular table about five feet long and maybe 24 inches deep. I plan on placing this table with its gorgeous inlaid work along side the upstairs railing that is open to the living room. The bridge between the legs have the most beautiful intact woodwork, The table is over one hundred years old. I’m looking for it to become a library table with some great books that I already have and a few more others. Your photos and quide lines were very inspiring and have formulated a look that I can hopefully pull off. I do have a large neutral tone vase with fresh pussy willows that should provide a starting off point. Thank you for the helpfulness. Best Regards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *