How to Style A Coffee Table On A Budget: $50 Challenge

Hi, I’m Miranda and while you likely know me for my love of plus size fashion… I’m also obsessed with home decor.  Like, give me all the HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Martha Stewart, Pinterest etc. etc. etc. obsessed.  I can’t quit.

I’ve promised more home content on the blog for a while, and I’ve had SO much fun creating this post.  I also love a good excuse to actually work on my house.  We’ve lived here for a year and we haven’t completely made it our own yet.  Your home decor requests are motivating me to get to it!

Today’s post is all about a personal challenge I gave myself… to decorate my very boring, very plain coffee table beautifully but also on a budget.

I decided to allow myself to spend $50 on the project, and *SPOILER ALERT* I spent even less than that to achieve this look.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out and hope it inspires you to tackle an area of your home with a frugal update!

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget: $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

How I Styled My Coffee Table On A $50 Budget

One problem I face with being so obsessed with home decor and consuming home decor content is that I can get overwhelmed with options and not know where to start in my own home.  I see so many options and can’t decide what look and feel I want to go with at home.

I finally decided recently that I don’t need a “theme” for my home but that I want to fill it with things that make us happy.  I thought long and hard about what those things are and here’s what I’ve come up with for requirements for any piece of decor or furniture I bring into my home:

  • It must be cozy.
  • It must be comfortable or practical.
  • It must make my home look inviting.
  • It must be special.
  • It must represent who we are in some way.

Those are the guiding principles I used as a created this coffee table vignette on a budget of $50 or less!

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget: $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

Key Pieces:

I have done a LOT of research on creating beautiful vignettes in your home and on your coffee table and pretty much every interior designer I encountered listed similar elements that are required to create a beautiful coffee table:

  • Greenery/Floral
  • Candle
  • Tray
  • Books
  • Geometrical
  • Height
  • Something Uniquely You

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget:  $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

How to style your coffee table on a budget:  steps to success

If you tend to overthink home projects or get overwhelmed by them, I can relate.  Honestly, though, once I dove in and just went for it… it was pretty easy!  Here are the six steps to finishing this or any home decor project on a budget.

  1. Strategy: I encourage you to start by thinking about what you want the design of your home to portray about you and your family like I did above.  This will help guide you as you shop for pieces of your own.
  2. Inspiration: Look for inspiration online!  If you like the vignette I created here, you already have your inspiration!  You can also check out my Pinterest account where I have pinned my own inspiration photos to my board – Home Decor Ideas.
  3. Use what you have: Shop your own home!  If you’re anything like me, you likely have stashes of unused decor in closets or in boxes (ugh) or maybe you have pieces used in other rooms where they’re not really needed.  The best way to save money on any home project is to find ways to use things you already have!
  4. Get organized: Make a list of the TYPES of items you’re missing so you’ll know exactly what you need as you browse different stores.
  5. Get thrifty: Your first shopping trip should be to a thrift store if you’re on a budget.  You can find many elements you’ll need there for very low prices. It’s also nice to know you’re saving something from a landfill and giving it a new life in your own home.
  6. Shop smart: Visit stores like Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, and Dollar tree to fill in the gaps.  I’ve also found some good deals on pieces from Amazon that are linked below if you don’t have time to browse stores in person.  

How to style a coffee table on a budget - What I Spent

Pieces I chose for my coffee table vignette

So, here’s how I did!  I already mentioned that I gave myself a budget of $50 to complete this project, and I’m PUMPED to share that I only spent $27 to make over my coffee table!

  1. Basket trey from Goodwill $2
  2. Square vase from Goodwill $2
  3. Sphere from Hobby Lobby 50% off ($6)
  4. Oversized matches from Homegoods ($10)
  5. Grocery store hydrangeas ($7)
  6. A candle I already owned
  7. Books I already owned

TOTAL:  $27

Of course, the candle and the hydrangeas will need to be replaced once they’re finished but I’m planning to cut flowers from my lawn throughout the spring and summer to save money.  I’ll also likely pick up a nice faux arrangement to use when I don’t have any fresh flowers.  I have a DIY project coming soon on faux arrangements so stay tuned to the blog for that.  I found one I loved at Pottery Barn for $299 but I plan to recreate it for a fraction of the price!

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget: $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog
I swear it is IMPOSSIBLE to take a picture for this blog without my sweet dog, Jackson, interrupting. Notice him and his bright yellow donut toy in the corner? I think he’s saying, “MOMMMMMMM…PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEE! Why are you staring at the wall???”

Shop my recommended coffee table styling products:

Before I share with you links to purchase similar items online, I want to emphasize this… In order to make a $50 budget work, you will need to pick and choose where you spend your money wisely.  If you shop exclusively using my links below you will spend more than $50!  The links are intended to help you fill the gaps if you’re either unable to find what you need or are unable to shop in store, or if you just want the convenience of shopping online instead of running around town all day.

Also, in some cases, the items below are not the exact same options I purchased as many of mine came from thrift stores or other areas of my home.

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget:  $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

Treys:

This is one item in your coffee table vignette that will vary greatly depending upon your personal style.  I like the cozy, relaxed feel of the seagrass options but if your style is a bit more modern, you might prefer acrylic or metal.

Round seagrass tray from Amazon.com

Rectangular seagrass basket from Amazon.com

Rectangular handwoven rattan tray from Amazon.com

Clear acrylic tray with gold handles from Amazon.com

Vases:

Vases will be the easiest thing to find on a budget – don’t splurge here! It’s completely unnecessary. Thrift stores are overflowing with vases of all shapes and sizes.  Be careful, though! Some thrifts overprice them.  I regularly see vases that are more expensive at the thrift than they would be in a store.  Shop wisely! I was able to find the one on my table for $2 at a thrift store and I specifically wanted something short and square.

If I were less picky about shape, I could have gone with the round version from Dollar Tree for $1.00.  In fact, many of the vases I use in my kitchen and otherwise are from Dollar Tree.  I like simple tall cylinders on my kitchen peninsula and short round vases in bathrooms and other smaller spaces.

Square glass vase similar to mine from Amazon.com.  This is a pretty surprisingly low price.  These are much more expensive in a lot of stores I’ve checked.

Round short floral vase from Dollar Tree (only available in case quantities online – shop in store to get a single vase).  This is the one I would have purchased if I hadn’t found the square vase at the thrift store.

Round short floral vase from Amazon.com.  This isn’t a terrible price if you NEED to get something online instead of in store.

Tall cylindrical vase from Dollar Tree (only available in case quantities online – shop in store to get a single vase)

Books:

I recommend using books to reflect your personality in your home.  For this project, I used books I already owned to save money.  I’ll be on the lookout for beautiful coffee table books at thrift stores now to add to my collection.  I’m looking for a mix of Kevin’s interests in mine… things like sports and photography for him and things like fashion, flowers, and interior design for me.  Books related to travel or places we’ve visited would be a great representation of both of us given how much we love to travel.

Coffee table books can be EXPENSIVE! So I’m going to take my time to add to my collection.  I bet you have books tucked away in other rooms that can be repurposed for your vignette too!

TIP! Remove the dust cover from the book to reveal what is likely a much simpler, beautiful cover underneath.

It’s no secret that I love Emily Ley and her Simplified brand.  I had copies of two of her books on my office bookshelf and given how beautiful they are, I thought they’d be great on my coffee table.  I love the messages of the books and it’s nice to have a regular reminder of topics I hold near and dear.  Also, the covers are too pretty! ๐Ÿ™‚

Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life

Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection

I also decided to include InstaStyle in my stack because it’s visually pleasing.  In terms of representing who I am as a human being… I’d like to think there’s a bit more to me than my Instagram aesthetic so this one will likely be replaced soon for something a bit more meaningful to me.  I actually DO really like the book so if you’re looking to step up your Instagram game, I recommend it.  Once I find something else for the coffee table, this one will go back to my office where it belongs.

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget:  $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

Floral and Greenery:

In my opinion, no vignette is complete without this.  It’s fun to change our your florals seasonally too!  Spring flowers are my favorite but in the fall, you could go with sunflowers and during the holidays you can use pine branches or poinsettias.

Faux florals are a great way to keep your home looking vibrant year-round.

Faux Tulips: available in multiple colors on Amazon.com.

Faux Hydrangea: available in white, pink and blue on Amazon.com.

Faux Peonies: available in multiple colors on Amazon.com.

Other options:  You can find faux florals in vases at Home Goods currently in the $15-30 range.  Hobby Lobby often has faux florals on sale for 50% off in-store and you can always get 40% off one full-price item with a couple they have online.  You can even find decent looking florals at Dollar Tree for $1.00 per stem.  They often don’t look quite as realistic as higher priced options but they’re pretty a nice way to stretch your budget!

Splurge Option:  Pottery Barn offers GORGEOUS faux florals but they definitely don’t align with my $50 budget for this project.  If you’re looking to splurge, I recommend checking these out! Click here for my fave arrangement of ranunculus flowers.

Real Flowers:  I always prefer real flowers to faux but it’s not always practical to keep them year round.  I currently grow hydrangeas, peonies, and daisies in my flower garden so when they’re in bloom I cut my own FOR FREE!  I also often splurge on $7-10 flower stems at the grocery store.  I almost always use Walmart pickup for groceries.  Click here to get $10 off your first pickup (so, basically… free flowers if you choose to try the service!)

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table on a Budget:  $50 or Less Challenge by Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

Decorative Elements:

This is another component of the vignette where you can really let your personality shine.  I chose a simple gold element to tie in the more rustic pieces in my vignette to the gold of my table.  It would also be really nice to find something with a bit of height to add visual interest.  You can use anything that is of interest to you, not just geometric shapes.  I tried to find a vintage camera to represent Kevin’s love of photography but didn’t find anything I loved.

Gold sphere from Amazon.com.  This is VERY similar to the one I bought – maybe even exactly the same.

Gold sphere from Hobby Lobby.  I think this is the exact one I purchased.  It was 50% off when I picked it up.

Spiky gold sphere from Amazon.com.  I love this!  It’s a bit more of a statement piece than the one I picked, but it’s really cute.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit more about my latest home decor project!  This small project inspired me to use what I already have and find budget-friendly ways to do a few more projects in the near future.  Here’s a list of a few projects I’m thinking of tackling next.  You’ll have to let me know in the comments if you want me to document them on the blog!

Candles

Candles are really personal preference, and I buy mine throughout the year and get many as gifts since all of my friends and family members know how much I love them.

I love to buy beautiful options from Home Goods and the prices are pretty great!  I also like to stock up at Bath and Body Works on the three wick candles when they’re on sale!  You can even find great options at Walmart or Dollar Tree; however, they’re not always as visually pleasing.  You can always use a pretty candle holder to hide a less than attractive candle, though!

I’ve had my eye on the Capri Blue candles at my local bookstore for a long time now, but just can’t justify the price for my budget friendly series.  I ALMOST pulled the trigger at Anthropologie over the weekend and bought one, but I didn’t want to go over my $50 budget for this project.  Here’s the link to the one that’s calling my name.

Oversized Matches

I’m actually still mad that I spent $10 on a jar of matches, but I’ve wanted them for SO LONG!  I also thought they’d look really cute on the coffee table and add a special touch to the vignette.  Now, after doing some research online, the $10 I spent at HomeGoods for these was a good deal.  Here are a few links to options I’ve found online:

Apothecary jar with 60 matches from Sur La Table

White and gold vintage matches from Amazon.com

I hope you found this post helpful and that it inspired you to tackle a project in your own home!  Let me know… what projects are on your never-ending to-do list? Here are a few of mine:

Upcoming $50 projects:

  • Command center with calendar, mail, keys, family to do list, etc.
  • Create a gallery wall on a budget
  • Decorate a powder room for $50
  • Update a guest bedroom for $50
  • Organize kitchen pantry for $50
  • Organize linen closet for $50
  • Style office bookshelves for $50

PS:  Did you know I’m a huge fan of Pinterest?  You can follow along with me on Pinterest by clicking here!  You’ll find all of my fashion, home, recipe, travel and lifestyle inspiration there.  Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret… I often pin things I’m loving BEFORE they ever make it to the blog.  If you like sneak peeks… you’ll definitely want to follow me there.  You can also pin this post to YOUR Home Decor boards to reference it later!

PPS:  I’m really inspired by this challenge and hope you’re loving it.  Will you please let me know in the comments below what other budget-friendly decor or DIY projects you’d love to see on the blog?? Feel free to vote for one of the ones I listed above or add your own idea to the list in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

LOVE YOU GUYS! Have a great day! <3

How to decorate your coffee table on a budget of $50 or less from Miranda Schultz of The Plus Life Blog

Disclosure:  Links in this post are affiliate links.  I will receive a small commission if you purchase items using these links at no cost to you.  All opinions are my own. 

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4 thoughts on “How to Style A Coffee Table On A Budget: $50 Challenge

  1. I love your use of thrift items! You can also check your local library’s book sale. Mine often has coffee table books in great condition — although vintage if that’s your esthetic — and they’re $2. The sale is ongoing because they get so many donations!

    My coffee table is controlled chaos at best… my kid basically uses it as her own “command center” and I’m not a stickler about clutter. But you did remind me that I’d like to have fresh flowers more often. I’d like to see some bathroom projects. And budget/creative storage. I hope you do more of these.

    1. Wow!! Great tip about the library sale! Gonna check that out. Definitely need to work on bathrooms and storage so Iโ€™ll be sure to add those to the list! Thanks for submitting your requests!

    1. I haven’t been to one, but thank you so much for the tip!! Gonna have to check it out! Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

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