Tabletop Styling

Over the weekend I finally scored the piece I’ve been searching for all year; the elusive black commode.  It is the final element that I needed to complete client W’s first floor.  I’m pumped, they are thrilled and now all there is left to do is add the finishing touches to the tabletop.

Styling is one of my favorite and least favorite parts of decorating.  I love it, because when done right, it makes a home feel complete.  (Seriously, a room without any accessories usually lacks soul.)  But, sometimes I dislike it, because it takes finesse and tweaking.  The importance of scale and proportion are heightened with little vignettes.  It’s a “skill” I continue to work on.  Today, I’m studying some of my favorites, and wanted to share them with you…

Shall I mix figurines in varying heights like Keith Johnson?

A stunning lamp, grass ball and a pile of books?

(via Lonny)

Lots of layers and leafy goodness?

(via Williams-Sonoma Home)

Three statement elements?

(source unknown)

Lamp, blue and white pottery and colorful books or boxes?

(vignette by Elizabeth from the Little Black Door
I’m going to take a little time to plan this out.  And then… let’s get this job photographed!!  Holla!

coffee table styling

I seriously never tire of gazing at images of perfectly styled coffee tables.  There are just so many ways to achieve a pleasing visual balance of books, pretties, trays and table space.  There is less is more, and more is more, and more times fresh foliage divided by choice animal figurine more.

I’ve found styling a coffee table for someone else to be one of the trickier styling challenges.  A coffee table gets used a heck of a lot more than your typical vignette like a bookshelf or a console table.  If you go all out and don’t leave space for feet or the occasional plate, then you may be pretty but you’re not that practical.  And that’s just not good style is it?

I suppose the key to lived-in-beauty is all about balance, balance, balance!  My dad (and business partner) loves to say that form follows function.  But I wonder… can’t they walk together in harmony?

What is your coffee table style?  How much negative space (or the actual table) do you leave free?

images: Lonny, NuevoEstilo, Domino, via Diversion Project, via GlamLamb, Decor Demon,

Country Living, Betsy Burnham/Lonny,  Elle Decor, via Mimi + Meg, unknown, Badgley Mishka via Elements of Style


Happy Monday Mornin.  The purpose of this post is to tell you that you need to come back my way in a couple of hours.  I have something funner than fun planned for you.

In the meanwhile, here is our Thanksgiving table I threw together on the fly.  Never much the planner, I forgot to pick up flowers and other type decorations before the holiday.  So this was my “work-with-what-you-got” table.  I also successfully prepared two delicious sides- Victoria’s baked ratatouille, and Julie’s Roast butternut squash and kale salad.  Thanks for inspiring, ladies!

See you in a few…

A Thanksgiving Day table- Naomi Style

Thanksgiving is upon us, friends!  I happen to love the holiday, mainly because it involves a lot of food and not a lot of work on my end.  Someday I want to host myself, but until then I’ll continue to crash my parents’ house and attempt to set a fierce table.

When Meg from Philadelphia citypaper asked me to design an attention-getting Thanksgiving table, I was all too eager to show how to do Turkey Day hip and eclectic.  To see more details and my thoughts on table settings please check out the post on the citypaper blog.  You can also see what other design enthusiasts, including Ashley from Meet Me in Philadelphia, came up with!

Hot Dayum I love my pagoda.

all pictures- Design Manifest

A Ruthie Sommers tablescape

I never tire of seeing how other designers style a tabletop.  It’s one of those spaces that honestly usually doesn’t have a purpose- decorating fluff- yet still somehow, it can make such a big style impact in a room.  This vignette in Ruthie Sommers home, featured in Lonny Magazine, really knocks my socks off.  Oh wait, it’s summer… it makes my tangerine toenails tingle.

Let’s break this down.  3 ingredients to a delicious tablescape.*

Part 1: the table itself.  Clean lines, greek key detailing, marble top.  Nice on it’s own, but doesn’t distract from the styling action above and below.

Part 2:  The under carriage.  A single bench with fringe trim.  Who knew I liked fringe?  (Erin, you so called this.) 
Part 3; the best part: Tabletop composition.  I really like how she has effortlessly mixed a big pagoda with blue/white porcelain, barware and lush plants (all doubled by a mirror.)  All you orchid-haters take note: if Ruthie Sommers’ has ’em in her house, they can’t be too evil, can they?
actually that one terracotta pot is pissing me off.  
I’ve had a hard time pin-pointing just why I love this little nook so much.  Is it the varying height, shapes and colors?  Is it because it doesn’t seem so contrived, like so many tablescapes?  (Her whole home feels very lived-in and real.) Is it that pagoda?  Not sure, but I’m crushing.
Was this one a hit for you guys?  I usually don’t do Lonny coverage because you can find it on so many blogs, but I felt moved.  Yup, I’m moved be a tablescape. 
*Damn you Martyn Lawrence Bullard and your catchy catch phrases

PS- If you want a pagoda, Lonny suggests you buy this one.  I personally am waiting until someone constructs a brilliant pagoda dog bed for Bailey, and then I’m full steam onboard.

All photos Patrick Cline for Lonny