I love Houzz for inspiration and find that a lot of my clients like to show me their wants and dreams from their ideabooks on the site. Pinterest is full of pictures culled from Houzz and I plan to put my portfolio on there shortly.
Accessories seem to be the hardest thing for clients to master so when Houzz proposed a guest post about small tablescapes, I was excited to share the following…
Hello everyone! My name is Becky and I’m a contributor at Houzz, a home design site focused on helping design professionals and homeowners manage the remodeling and decorating process. Thanks so much to Amy for having me!
When decorating, that last layer of accessorizing is often the toughest part; it’s analogous to those intricate icing flowers atop a birthday cake. One nice contained area to start experimenting on is a tabletop. Designer David Hicks was the master of the “tablescape,” adding lacquered trays and books in perfect compositions to tables and desktops with aplomb. So before you get started, say “be with me, David Nightingale Hicks!” and then take a deep breath. We’re ready to go!
Let’s start simple by creating a guest room tablescape. This is easy because you just think of your guest’s needs and accessorize accordingly:
1. A table lamp. Make sure it’s high and bright enough for reading.
2. Fresh flowers. This is a good hostess must; just one stem in a small vase will do.
3. A box, vintage ashtray or small bowl. This is for jewelry, pills or that thing that keeps her from gnashing her teeth at night. Don’t ask, don’t tell, just leave a little vessel to hold such things.
4. Books or magazines. Choose a few sweet or sultry books that have pretty or interesting covers. I like to leave out Style by Kate Spade and a little vintage edition of Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Note: You may stack the aforementioned bowl or vase atop this little stack of books.
5. A small alarm clock. L.L. Bean’s 1931 Big Ben alarm clock is my current favorite and it’s just under $40.
Now that you have these objects, play around with the best way to arrange them. An easy way is to form visual triangles. For example, in the photo above, imagine a triangle outline from the top of the lampshade, down both sides and across the table’s surface. Keeping things within the triangle’s boundaries creates a pleasing composition.
Next, let’s try a living room side table for someone who loves personal photos, coffee table books and textures.
Framed photos: As long as they are clustered together in a pleasing way, you can have a great variety of frame finishes, shapes and colors.
Table lamp: This should be the tallest item on your tablescape. On a round table like this one, it’s best to push it toward the back or the side.
Books: Create a stack from largest to smallest. If it doesn’t seem tall enough compared to the other objects, place another object on top of them like a plant, bowl or box.
Extras: This clever decorator has thrown in some favorite turquoise beads and Chinoiserie statues for extra character. These are like the little details atop the flowers atop the icing on the cake, and you should experiment with items like this after you’ve mastered the basics.
Now, this is seriously advanced tablescaping! But if you look closely, it’s really all about stacks of books with toppers, and a few things in between. The fact that the table and lamp are glass tones down the busy-ness.
If you have a larger table and a collection of books that is starting to make your coffee table sag, this is the arrangement for you. Stack books in relation to the height of your table lamp (imagine the triangle again), then top them with some favorite objects. Here we have a suzani bowl, a glass skull and a rock. Fill in around the stacks as needed; I particularly like that this table has an orchid in the middle of all the books. This tablescape is a great example of more is more.
Find more tabletop inspiration from home stagers and more design professionals at Houzz.