Shea McGee just revealed how she styles tricky organic-shaped coffee tables – here's how to get the look

Coffee tables with eye-catching, organic shapes bring a design scheme to life, but they can be quite tricky to style. This is how Shea McGee gets the job done

(Image credit: Studio McGee; McGee & Co.)

A coffee table can make or break a living room design scheme, so getting the styling down is key. Whether you prefer the classic stack of coffee table books or a carefully arranged tray of trinkets, quite a bit of consideration goes into crafting the perfect coffee table look. Even if the contents get swept away or rearranged over the course of the day, an expertly organized centerpiece is the perfect finishing touch for a living room of any style.

While square, round, and rectangular tables are well and good, organic shapes add visual interest and charm to each living space they grace. But they're not always the easiest to style. Accounting for an imperfect shape and making sure your space still looks polished can prove quite tricky. That's where Shea McGee comes in.

Shea, founder of design firm Studio McGee and homeware brand McGee & Co., has styled countless coffee tables over the course of her career – and now she's sharing her top tips for working with non-standard shapes. Whether you've opted for a natural material with unpredictable twists and turns, or are simply experimenting with unique shapes in your living room, these are Shea's coffee table styling suggestions for a chic and stylish look.

How Shea McGee styles organic coffee tables

'When styling a coffee table that has an organic shape like this, I'm really paying attention to the shape. And that is how I'm going to create the groupings on my coffee table to make it feel just really natural,' Shea says in a video uploaded to Studio McGee's Instagram.

Shea adds that she'd use the same approach when styling a round coffee table – it's all about leaning into the piece's preexisting features. Given her affinity for 'library tables' and coffee table books, it's no shock that the first design detail she turns to with an organic-shaped table is books. Here, she says they're her first choice because after they're placed, 'you can see how much space is taken' and how much is left for other accessories.

'I'm putting this set of books here, kind of around the length. Again, you're seeing [that] I'm following the shape of the table. I've got a stack of books, some little magnifiers on top as an interesting object. Then I'm going to add this stack of books here, [and] I'm going to turn them. You can do coffee table books all the same way if you'd like, but I do think it's really nice to change up the direction for some interest,' says Shea.

By opting for two separate stacks of books and placing them at different angles, Shea takes a potentially boring design feature and makes it quite characterful. Two small magnifying glasses placed atop one of the stacks add yet another layer of whimsy. The stacks work with the shape of the table, rather than against it. They don't overcrowd the space, nor do they feel too isolated.

living room with cream corner sofa and dark walls and stairs in background and rush rug and coffee table

(Image credit: Kensington Leverne)

From there, Shea moves on to a pair of candles, which she places on top of one of the stacks of books. 'We've incorporated a candle and this little match holder here – it gives me a little bit more height than what's happening, and also these round shapes help break up the rectangles below,' she says.

By playing with the juxtaposition of shape, size, and height, Shea adds even more interest to the organic-shaped table. Your coffee table should tell a story, and feel like you – not simply act as an impersonal design feature. With this combination of decorative items, Shea lets her style shine through.

'Lastly, I'm going to add a vase of flowers,' Shea adds, placing a small white vase of gorgeous white flowers in between the books. A small floral arrangement is the perfect finishing touch for a fresh, eye-catching coffee table look.

By following the shape of the table, showing off your personality, and incorporating a range of interesting objects, you'll have a seamlessly stylish organic coffee table in no time. Mix and match where you see fit for a living room centerpiece to admire.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.