The dining room table is a bit of an odd one when it comes to styling. If you are styling for the photographs of a glossy mag, then it’s easy. You can go all out, or keep it simple. Or even for sales purposes, you know that the table should be the focus, not what’s on it. But for your home, day to day? It’s a bit different. The table always serves the same primary purpose, but it changes depending on the meal you eat at it or how many people use it at any one time. So what’s the best way of keeping it looking nice all day long?
During the day, you wouldn’t have place settings made up, or food perfectly placed to look fab in a photo. You would have a table. In its raw form. But you can add to this without it looking too staged, just so you have something breaking up that vast flat surface.
Similarly to coffee table styling, flowers or other natural objects always look great at the centre of your dining table. As well as candles in hurricane lamps, or on candelabras. It really depends on the size of your space and the location of your table. If you happen to have a chandelier or other light fitting hanging low over your table, that adds to the overall styling of it, without it even touching the surface.
Sometimes, the simpler the better. A dining table needs to look clean and fresh, as well as inviting. So if it is clutter free, and allows you to quickly and easily set the table for dinner, it’s a winner. You just need a couple of small items grouped together, or one big one in the centre to add enough interest to an otherwise blank table top.
There are countless examples online, but here’s an interesting festive twist to an average vase. This was from a photo shoot I assisted on for Mel at Country Knole Interiors.
A coffee table is an essential element in the main living area of your home. When you think of this space, immediately the mind goes to ‘something to sit on’, and ‘something to centre those seats around’. Cue your coffee table.
It’s a practical piece, and something you can splurge on, pick up at a thrift store and up-cycle yourself, purchase flat pack from a store – whatever. But once you’ve found the right one for you, and set it in its place, it tends to become a sort of dumping ground – a home for your remote controls and paperwork. But it has so much more potential than this.
It can be styled and beautifully executed. After all, it is going to be in the centre of a seating space – and it can even become a focal point for the entire room. A way to draw everything around it in so that the room feels as though it is all connected and spatially thought out.
Everyone obviously has their own personal tastes, but I do think there are some fundamentals in coffee table styling. For example, flowers, or at least something natural. Pot pourri, natural vase fillers, a pot plant, pine cones.. just something natural. My personal preference is flowers. It adds life and colour to the room as well as creating texture and height on the flat surface of the coffee table.
Other examples include candles, books, decorative objects and trays to arrange these on.
Candles add softness and warmth to the arrangement. They create a homely feel and a coffee table is the perfect place to house these whether they are lit or not. Books must be what are known as “coffee table books”. Not novels. Books that are interesting, and usually based on a theme. Books that you would like to flick through to look at pictures, or ones that inspire conversation between you and your guests. They are usually large and hardback, can be about fashion, interiors, gardening, specific decades – anything really! But make sure you are interested in them. They have to be useful for you too.
Decorative objects are the ‘fluffy’ parts of the whole arrangement. They can be anything from ornaments to mini sculptures. They are another way of adding colour or texture or general aesthetic interest. And finally, trays. This one is quite new to me. But having worked in home retail now for over 2 years, I have come across a LOT of decorative trays. And they are gorgeous. The perfect way to house little objects on the top of your table – or even a new home for those remote controls!
Many people jump-start their January with a new health and fitness regime, a hair makeover or with a newly-booked holiday to a faraway destination, giving them something exciting to look forward to as the next few dull, grey months edge ever-closer. The hashtag “newyearnewme” has dotted my Twitter feed the past week (often ironically) – but the New Year is the perfect time to start afresh in your home and get it ready for the big Spring Clean.
I have quite a few bits of advice to dish out from organising spaces in your home with handy storage solutions to giving rooms a mini-makeover on a budget (it has just been Christmas after all). So stay with me, the next post will be up shortly.