Laura Harrier's 'curated clutter' coffee table masters 2024's anti-minimalist trend

Coffee table styling is an art – one that the model and Spiderman: Homecoming actor nailed in her chic living space

Laura Harrier
(Image credit: Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures)

There's a very fine line between a coffee table appearing chic or cluttered. Often used as a large, flat catch-all for everything from gifted, hardcover art books to scented candles, coffee tables can ultimately be a design highlight in a room – if organized strategically, that is.

When it comes to styling coffee tables, we are taking notes from Laura Harrier. The Hollywood and Spider-Man: Homecoming actor posted a photo of her eclectic, modern living space, and our eyes were immediately drawn to her table full of fashion books, candles, and a fresh flower bouquet. 

Much like a bookshelf or a gallery wall, coffee tables are meant to be spaces that show off personality and taste; with that said, it's important to consider what to place on the surface and go into the organization process with an intentional mindset.

'Art, books, or objects placed on coffee tables need to be both beautiful and also hardwearing,' explains art curator Ellen Stone. 'These are in high-traffic areas and often the center of entertaining in our homes, so form and function need to intertwine.'

Ellen Stone
Ellen Stone

Ellen spent almost a decade in the art scene, working with contemporary art galleries and big name photographers such as Rankin, with whom she helps to mentor up-and-coming photographers for a new BBC series, The Great British Photography Challenge.

Stone says some of her personal favorite items to display on coffee tables include large hardback coffee table books on art, design and travel, but suggests that any prized possessions that beg to be shown off can be featured.

'Alongside books, small artworks, such as ceramics or photographs in antique frames, allow for some softness and variety in what I'm showcasing,' Stone states. 'Ceramic bowls or small sculptures can also serve a practical use too, as a place to put smaller trinkets or even shells found on your favorite beach.'

Once pieces have been decided on, it's time to organize. 

'Think sturdy first when building a display,' Stone says. 'The heaviest objects should be on the bottom (your coffee table books or wooden trays). Then build upwards from there. If you're going to place flowers or anything delicate, put that towards the centre of your table to prevent being knocked over.'

Finally, think about the overall aesthetics of the table, especially as it pertains to the rest of the room's existing design elements.

'When you're thinking about layering, take color and pattern into consideration. Be playful (your home should reflect who you are), but pile a table too high or overfill with too many objects - that's going to cause visual confusion and take away from the personal importance of each item,' she cautions. 'Remember though, the joy of a coffee table display is how often you can change it. Feel free to experiment and change up depending on whats happening in your day-to-day life.'

Shop the Harrier-inspired look

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.

Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.