I love styling coffee tables and bookshelves and fireplace mantles! I find myself arranging interesting objects throughout my home constantly… playing with scale, texture and colour. I love it. And my clients always ask me to re-arrange their shelves when I come over. Which I love too.
I’m sure there’s lots of rules of thumb for this sort of thing and there’s always the main elements of design to consider (scale, colour, texture, etc.) but I usually tell my clients you need only three things to get started.
1. Something BOXY!
And by boxy, I mean square, flat and stackable. Heck this is why ‘coffee table books’ were invented! You’ll need at least two but not more than 5. And stack them so the largest is on the bottom. If you’re not a ‘book person’… boxes are perfect too. Keep them similar in colour and style and stack them.
2. Something ROUND!
And by round, I mean round. It could be a beautiful bowl (and no it does not have to be full of anything), a great round clear vase or a big round floral arrangement. The idea is to mix in something that is opposite boxy and square. It creates what we designers call, balance.
3. Something TALL!
An orchid is a beautiful tall feature on a coffee table or cut flowers in a narrow, tall, vase. It could be a tall vase on its own or a tall sculptural piece. Basically, you need to add some visual height to your coffee table landscape. And keep this item to one singular piece. You want one tower, not a cityscape of towers.
And that’s it! That’s how simple it CAN be. As you arrange your coffee table landscape, make sure to move around the table and look at it from various angles since it’s a table that typically sits in the center of the room.
Of course… it CAN be much more involved and complicated but this is a great starting point. As you get more comfortable with these three things, you can add the next thing that I always try to include… SOMETHING QUIRKY! You’ll see it in some of the above examples. It’s usually small and perhaps a little odd or out-of-place. It’s something your guests will want the story behind. ;)
So get to it! Your coffee table will be so happy over the attention!