Coffee Table Styling

The term ‘tablescape’ was first used by mid-century interior designer David Hicks in 1968. Hicks describes this concept as “objects arranged as landscapes on a horizontal surface into an art form.” His eclectic displays mixed the finest antiques with modern pieces, always ensuring a variation of height, size and colour to create carefully curated compositions. On the type of accessories used, Hicks said “what is important is not how valuable or inexpensive your objects are, but the care and feeling with which you arrange them.” Hicks predominantly used the idea of tablescaping for side tables, desks and console tables, however the concept has been refined over the years and we now see echoes of this type of styling all throughout modern interior design.

One of the most popular forms of modern day tablescaping can be found on an item of furniture almost everyone has in their home – the coffee table. Due to the usually prominent position a coffee table holds within a room, it forms the perfect decorative platform for beautiful accessories to be showcased. With careful arrangement and a thoughtful balance of objects, a visually harmonious scene can be created, enhancing and complementing the rest of the space.

One of the keys to successful coffee table styling is to create little vignettes, using items that tie together as a whole either through shape, colour or theme. Stacks of hardback books in varying heights work really well. In our projects we like to source vibrant and stylish lifestyle, design or travel books to inspire and encourage conversation. A tray can be used as a canvas to build on – think of it as the foundation of your coffee table! They are also perfect for containing smaller items such as coasters and objet d’art.

Scent is very important and can be introduced through candles, reed diffusers or pot pourri. At Bernard Interiors, we use pot pourri developed in a historic Florence perfumery dating back to the 16th century to provide a subtle and elegant fragrance.

 Always try to include something living within the vignette. This could be a potted plant, freshly cut flowers or greenery. While helping with vibrancy and colour, this addition will also boost feelings of positivity and general wellbeing.

One of the beauties of this form of styling is that it can be changed so easily to quickly freshen up a space. Different accessories can be sourced from around the home, flowers and greenery can be changed to reflect the current season and special touches could be added at Christmas or Easter – it’s a perfect and affordable way of getting creative!

“What is important is not how valuable or inexpensive your objects are, but the care and feeling with which you arrange them.” – David Hicks


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Photography © Neale Smith / Kristen McCluskie