Yes, they are utilitarian, and yes, you may JUSTÂ fancyÂ a convenient place to setÂ your drink of choiceÂ and a reliable spot for locating the remote control.Â If, on the other hand, you prefer to have eye pleasing inspiration everywhereÂ yourÂ glance,Â Â you may find a design idea or two that will help you curateÂ theÂ perfectÂ pieces for a beautifulÂ table top (known in the “industry” as a tableau or vignette ).
Before we discuss how to choose and display items, let’s consider a few “rules”Â forÂ selecting a table thatÂ canÂ do the job you’ll beÂ requiring. Â For, if you need a tableÂ for your tissue box, a place to store a (or 10) remote control, a safe haven for the active chess game your husband and his brother across the country have been playing for the past 14 years, space for your current reading material, a surface to place your light source, andÂ a locationÂ for theÂ dead poinsettia from Christmas, you might possibly be frustrated with a trending, butÂ ever so chic ten inch, white, marble top table with a brushed brass base!
To help you avoid that design trap, keep these things in mindÂ when choosing theÂ proper table: 1) Size/Scale ~ The table should be large enough to accommodate the demands of the job, andÂ should be of similar scaleÂ to the sofa or chair it will serve. 2) Height ~Â Generally, the table should be from 5 inches below to 5 inches above, or anywhere in between the arm of the sofa/chair. 3) Style: Don’tÂ fear that you have to strictly adhereÂ toÂ a singleÂ design style in your room. MixingÂ styles is not only okay,Â it is Â preferred in my world. MyÂ advise isÂ to purchase and display what you love and it will work in a room that you love!
OnÂ to styling!Â The drum table that IÂ chose toÂ style three waysÂ for this post Â is one that I can use in almost any room of the house and it works beautifully! A rule to acknowledge when stylingÂ a table top isÂ display anÂ odd number ofÂ items. I do not know why the odd number is more pleasing, (there may beÂ scientific orÂ psychological reasons you could explore – I’m just willing to go with personal experience). If, though, you’re always unhappy with theÂ look of your table top,Â and you can’t seem to get itÂ “quite right” the rule ofÂ “odd” could be an easy fix.
If you areÂ a minimalist, this means “A” lamp, orÂ “A” floral, or “A” single art piece, and you’re done. If you are of the “more is more” persuasion, you can successfully blend 5-7, evenÂ 9Â items on a table depending on its size.Â You may be asking, How do I chose these items?Â Let’s take a look at the first table top display that we will label “Traditional”.
Here, I haveÂ gatheredÂ elements that are not only beautiful, but also have meaning.Â Go find your treasure box or tub in the basement! The one that is storing mementosÂ that you can not, for sentimental reasons, send toÂ your local charity. Those items deserve a moment in the spotlight. You’ll see some of my treasures on all three table top examples.
On this table, I’ve combined a modern brushed brass and acrylic lamp withÂ vintage candlesticks from the 1970s; they pair beautifully despite the nearly 50 year age difference (not recommended in the dating world).
(By the way,Â if you’re counting items on the table to make sure we followed the “odd” rule,Â don’t be fooled.Â The eye is aÂ complicated creation!Â We interpretÂ the lamp and books as one, the tray with its contentsÂ as one, the pair of candlesticks as one; and when you add in the framed telegram and hour-glass weÂ see the magic of “odd”)!
I’ve chosen to incorporate one of my favorite design elements on all three table tops, the always versatile tray. For the traditional display I used this vanity tray, also from the 1970s (I hope it doesn’t bother you when I take artistic licenseÂ when decorating).
The family photo’s in my home are forever rotating! This one is a favorite ofÂ Grandma Rowe enjoying a game of Pretty, Pretty Princess with Â young Annalisa the Beautiful (a little family resemblance, huh – Â When Irish Eyes Are Smiling)!
Fresh flowers are always in order. ButÂ ifÂ you do not have an inexpensive source (like say your back yard), porcelain flowers are an excellent go to. Once upon a time, I was a collector of porcelain flowers. The season of collectingÂ was somewhat short-lived, as you quickly run out of display options. I have a handful remaining thatÂ are significant in some way. This is a gift from Tom the Great from 20+ years ago; it isÂ one of my favorite flowers, the magnolia.
Did you Â note of the way books were used on the table. I have aÂ barrageÂ of “coffee table” books (okay, okay – collection number two). The vast majority are home design books byÂ THE PROS.Â They are never old and outdated! I can pick a Southern Living hard copy up from any decade and find loads of inspiration. Here,Â the books areÂ providing height forÂ my lamp, so it’s the right height for late night reading.
AND, the final detailsÂ for the traditional table,Â incorporates MYÂ treasures; I’m sure they are similar to the ones you might find in that basement tub of yours! For me it is a framed Western UnionÂ telegram sent from Tom the Great’s dad, Robert SempleÂ Rowe, to Mary Margaret Mooney when they were dating!
And the brass hour-glassÂ you see is a gift Little Nell gave her mother nearly 40 years ago. She once overheard her momÂ say how much she loved hour glasses! “Ma”, as all the grandchildren call her, has passed the trinket on to Annalisa the Beautiful, who in turn, allows me to display it in our home!
The followingÂ table top is styled withÂ a decidedly French flare. I love French style and French Antiquities. If it were up to me, my entire home would reflect French style. For now, I’m happy with a wink to the French style in our master bedroom.
I’ve used a plate stand, another favorite decorative element, on all three table tops. (The treasured telegraph was displayed on a plate rack in the traditional tablescape). Here,Â I’ve used theÂ plate stand to display a plate (always thinking outside the box), a very romantic French WatteauÂ plate!
The tray I used has a vintage look, but is a reproduction. The vintage bell (disguised as a figurine), Â repeats theÂ romantic sensibilityÂ from the plate in “3-D” form!
Fresh out of fresh flowers? Make use ofÂ a dainty silk arrangement, carried here by the most adorable vintageÂ French cherub.
Our final table display embodies a style trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon,Â thanks to the inspiration of the famed Chip and Jo-Jo Gaines, Country Farmhouse Cottage. The style incorporatesÂ barn wood, antiques, rusty relics you might find on an farm, hand-made items, and rough finishes in an unpretentious and “utterly” charming manner.
All of the same elements are displayed: a lamp, tray, flowers, plate stand, books and personal treasures.Â But, there is a distinctively different feel for this look. The ruffled shade on the lamp reads country and laid back. Because this is a relatively short lamp, it is seated in a rustic glass and iron tray. Also in the tray are antique Johnson Brothers china pieces from England. For the floral element in this scenario, I’ve used live succulents (all the rave and so, so easy to keep alive).Â The container we have chosenÂ is completely unexpected, an antique milk pitcher.
That handsome cowboy is Tom the Great, Junior! His cousin, Lindsey, a REAL artist (no kidding, with art exhibitsÂ and everything), sketched this for us when she was still in high school! Typically found hanging on a wall, instead, we’ve used a plate stand for display.
The well-wornÂ cowboy boots were Junior’sÂ first pair, received as a gift from the best cowboy I know, my dad ,Walter (aka Poppa the Singing Cowboy). Those two have logged many miles together in the past twenty years on the back of a horse! Whether they were singing, philosophizing, or enjoying the quiet of the trail, the indelible bond of a grandfather and grandson was forever sealed.
The final item on the Country Farmhouse Cottage table top is also a giftÂ from Walter the Singing Cowboy! This leather-boundÂ Bible from the 1960s was my dad’s first Bible, after he came to know our Savior.Â I can thumb through this treasure, and find some of his notes. I have vivid memories of my dad, beneathÂ the light of a lamp, “writing the words of scripture on his heart”.
Love y’all ~ Lori Nell