I love artful arrangements on desks, tables, sideboards, dressers etc. Of course, I have no Anna Spiro-esque, Jonathan Adler-esque or Kelly Wearstler-esque eye (or budget) for it myself and am constantly honing my eye when it comes to arranging things on surfaces that are functional yet pleasing to the eye. (Yes, yes I know it’s all styled for the shot… but I’d like to think there is something that remains beautifully arranged after said photographer and stylist leave.)
Nate Berkus in his book Home Rules has a good guide on the Art of Display:
- Three or more like objects create a more purposeful and powerful statement than just one or two.
- Grouping different items by colour can also create a cohesive collection-all white pottery, mirrors in gilt frames.
- Three or more collections in a room will distract attention from one another. Your home may wind up feeling more like a store.
I have been very dissatisfied with the only side table in the living room so a few weeks ago, I did some swopping around and I must say I am pleased. (Again, budget of $0.00.)
Eddie Ross recently did an educational blogpost on how to create gorgeous tablescapes which was very informative.
I love the informal, pretty feel of this side table below in such a vibrantly coloured home. I love white walls with plenty of colour in furnishings and art. The pink glass birds add a superb touch to the setting…
Here’s what I finally did, with the stuff I had lying around.
Switched the side table to another slimmer, taller one. Because it’s darker wood, it stands out from the wall and window trim and contrasts with the taupe lounge. It also picks up the warm tones of the wood blinds on the window and somehow complements the green grass just outside. Because it’s a taller piece, it’s now easier to place and reach for a mug.
Select symmetry (or not) intentionally
While the colouring and toning works well with the pieces around it, it is MUCH smaller. I know lots of interior designers crave symmetry… but because it is smaller and I have no pairs of lamps or vases yet, I decided to go asymmetrical.
I was also encouraged by Kelly Wearstler who says this in her book, Modern Glamour:
Symmetry is graphic thinking at its most instinctual level… Does this mean I avoid asymmetry? Hardly… but I won’t apply them in an unbalanced way – especially where accessories are concerned.
So it was a conscious decision… and I also knew exactly what I needed on my side table.
I was also dissatisfied with what I had on display/kept on the table. Something had been missing. Eddie made me realise: I had no bling! I added a silver box my mother gave me a few years back and repeated the metal/shine in a round, 50s Ranleigh silver serving tray.
The former side table now graces the hallway and displays my vintage typewriter, some Raynham urns and a large really pretty sampler I scored from Vinnies for $10. I’d love a bit more of a presence… like a Hollywood Regency faux bamboo small chest of drawers in a brilliant vermillion, but I guess I’ll have to make do.. ;)
Although a bit shabby… I love the legs. One day I’ll paint it turquoise or lime green.
I only have this small side table because the main “coffee table” is an ottoman I had made specifically to store Hannah’s toys. I’ve always loved ottomans as coffee tables, I find it adds a real luxury to the lounge room.
Because Hannah loves to access it all the time for her toys (and jump up and down on it), I can’t pile it with stuff. So I like to keep it plain for propped up bare feet and a tray…
(Pardon the poor workmanship… the carpenter got my instructions wrong… the upholstery on the lid is starting to sag. But I still love the large pop of colour in the lounge room, amongst my colourful art and pieces.)
I love the one above… love love love. Simple tablescape… beautiful buttonhole… gorgeous vintage castors and slim, low design.
Doesn’t this side table below hold the right ingredients for a bedside table? A lamp, some pretty flowers, a clock and a little bowl to hold rings, earrings, hair-ties and clips… I’m inspired!