Follow Associate Decorating Editor Elly Poston's scheme for a company-ready look that's a cinch to pull together.
Step 1: Start with a tray.
Establish order by corralling items on a large rectangular or round tray. Carefully edit the style of the tray chosen—it will set the tone for the rest of the table's accessories and will anchor the composition.
Step 2: Stack up books.
Make sure the titles you choose are significant to you and reflect your interests. Opt for hardcover tomes grouped into neat piles with all the spines lined up. Top the stack with a decorative object for a polished touch.
Step 3: Vary the heights.
Here, it's all about the high-low mix. Balance the squareness of the books and tray with a few taller items such as a vase or candlesticks. Tip: Don't use anything that rises higher than the sofa seat cushions.
Step 4: Layer on the accessories.
Let your style shine with a few well-edited knickknacks. Also, be mindful of your guests—include coasters for drinks, a scented candle to give the room a little glow, and a bowl of nuts for snacking.
Step 5: Finish off with fresh finds.
Breathe life into your tabletop with flowers and greenery. Splurge on a pretty floral arrangement for a special occasion, and try a potted plant, such as a delicate fern or orchid, for everyday display.