Written by: Hannah-Rose Yee
There are two schools of thought when it comes to coffee table decoration.
The first is the more is more mantra. That’s certainly what you’ll find at my parents’ house, where the lounge room coffee table is heaving with tea sets, newspapers, vases of flowers, packets of biscuits, remote controls and books. So many books.
Me? Well, I like things a little bit more minimal. Which is why I think coffee table decoration should be a little less heaped and a little more sparse.
In fact, it’s possible to decorate your coffee table with only a few items, leaving plenty of space for more important things, like a tray of freshly cooked brownies for afternoon tea, for example.
1. A vase of flowers
One of life’s great and simple pleasures is fresh flowers. Invest in a good quality vase, like one from Finnish design brand Ittala and whatever you put in there, from fancy, delicate blush pink peonies to a huge – and cheap! – helping of greenery or a bucket of daisies will look fantastic. If you have a flower stall at your local market on the weekend, why not head there and see what’s cheap and in season. The best thing about flowers is that it doesn’t really matter what kind they are, any type will do the trick.
2. A scented candle
Like a vase of flowers, a scented candle will instantly elevate a room. I love the simple fragrances of Australian brands like Maison Balzac and Ecoya. Their streamlined design and clean scents won’t clash with any scent you might smell wafting from your flowers, either. Maison Balzac also offers candle accessories, like scented matches – the height of luxury! – and wick clippers. FYI: These make perfect gifts for the woman who, quite literally, has anything.
No coffee table is complete without a stack of books. Save the novels and memoirs for your bookshelf, however, and take the chance to display some of the beautiful design books you might be collecting. Titles like Kinfolk’s life and work guides Entrepreneur and Home make for great coffee table additions, as do some of the other titles available on The UNDONE, like Mon Palmer: Slightly Obssessed Garden, which will give you serious home envy. A styling tip: Stack your heaviest, largest titles at the bottom and make sure something with a colourful and eyecatching cover is at the top. It will be a great conversation starter when you have guests over.
Wondering what to do with all the copies of Unconditional you’ve picked up from The UNDONE? Or do you have a stack of issues from The Gentlewoman or Self Service that you’ve been dying to put on display? This is where a coffee table really comes into its own, providing the perfect space for you to showcase all your favourite magazines which otherwise might be languishing at the bottom of a bookshelf or under your bed. Here, they really get to shine, plus they’ll be nice and close for whenever you want to flip through and reference them.
5. Something extra
As with all interior decoration, the trick is to leave space for something extra and personal. For me, that means a wooden tray with a few handmade pottery mugs and a teapot for afternoon tea. (I am my mother’s daughter after all, it seems.)
For you, that might mean a dish of your favourite wrapped lollies, or those cute little knick knacks you picked up on your last holiday, or a beautiful linen table runner or a notepad and pen ready for any ideas you might have while watching, ahem, Love Island. Anyway, the point is that when it comes to designing your perfect space make sure it’s perfect for you and no-one else.