If your coffee table has a lower shelf you don’t have to fill both levels but if you choose to try lining up the items on each tier. Use two pairs instead of threes and don’t forget to play with heights. A lidded storage box or small basket can help keep the bottom level looking sharp while giving you a place to stash items like remote controls.
If you don’t want the coffee table to be the focus of the room choose one with a glass top and a finish that blends with others in the room as in this example. This will keep the eye interested in all the items in the room not just one layer of the design. Coffee table metal bases with glass tops are another good choice to keep rooms feeling open. They’re also great when you have a special rug and don’t want to block views of it. Keep your glass cleaner handy though as there is no way around fingerprints.