Styling your coffee table: fun and easy!

Styling a coffee table is a really enjoyable way to instantly transform a living room and display your favourite treasures.  With a few tried and tested tricks that I’ll share below, you’ll be able to update, rearrange and beautifully style not just your coffee table, but most other surfaces in your home!

Firstly, my golden rule above all else – it’s all about the layering.  

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Books

Stacks of books are a must for building height, adding colour and also imply a lot about the owner and their interests (so choose wisely!).  Neatly piled ‘coffee table’ books look great on their own, perhaps with an interesting object on top.  If your space needs a bit of character and edge, try sourcing some second hand vintage books, they are an incredibly cost effective tool in styling any space.

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Trays

Trays are perfect for grouping collections and acting as the base of a layer.  I look for trays that are a contrasting material or colour to the table, but also stay harmonious to the scheme.

Floral

I may be going off on a bit of an ‘ideal world’ tangent, but when you can, invest in or pick fresh floral arrangements, they will literally bring life and vibrancy to any table.  I promise you will feel so much happier every time you walk by.  A more long term option is an indoor plant.

Treasures

The objects that you pick up on holidays, receive as gifts, find in the park… anything that is special to you will personalise the scheme and add the perfect finishing touch.   I always like to have at least one organic object to soften the look, so this can be in place for in between floral arrangements.

One last thing, as Coco Chanel would say ‘Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off’.  This advice applies just as well to styling.  Goodluck!

Having it all: A Designer’s Dilemma

Like a plumber with a leaking tap, a designer’s hardest job is their own home.  Honestly, we make our most difficult clients look like a breeze in comparison.  Personally, when it comes to my own home (which is currently rented, adding to the dilemmas), I am faced with such indecision that I end up doing nothing at all.  You see, I see so many beautiful homes, furnishings, textiles, styles, trends and every colour in between – how can I possibly choose?  How can I commit to a style, when I know I’m keeping my eyes open in case something better comes along?

I think I have found the answer.  I CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I can, really.  And I’ve found evidence, in Jessica Helgerson’s latest interior.  Here’s my checklist of my dream home – all found in the images attached.

* Neutral palette of whites and timbers, a must for all big purchases (just incase I change my mind again….)

* Moody grey / charcoal walls (ala Abigail Ahern)

* Light and airy space (a must)

* Australian / Scandi / Japanese style (in that order, mostly Aussie)

Local artisan: Sixhands

Today I was lucky enough to be re-introduced to local textile and wallpaper artisans Sixhands.  Australian owned, designed and made with a commitment to sustainable practices, Sixhands was founded in 2006 by three women – Alecia Jensen, Anna Harves and Brianna Pike.  I first learned of Sixhands a few years ago whilst sitting in traffic in Redfern, I used to peer in to the studio window and thought it all looked rather exciting, but never quite made it in there!  How fabulous now, that their designs be draped in front of me at a fabric showing.

What excites me most about Sixhands is that the designs are so versatile, all distinctly and proudly Australian in style.  From vivacious prints to monotone graphics to subtle neutrals, I am in overdrive plotting out where I can use them next.  I’d love to see Lorikeet Tequila Sunrise birds flying down my hallway walls!

See my favourites below;

Styling your entry: first impressions do count!

When a guest enters my home, I would like them to feel immediately warm and welcomed.  I would like the first impression not only to invite guests further in, but also hint at what is to come.  The entry to a home is often overlooked, however with some clever styling can become a real highlight to enjoy each day.

Flooring

As with any scheme, it’s often easiest to start from the floor up.  Floor rugs and runners are so versatile and come a multitude of colours, shapes, materials and styles to suit any entry.  Floor rugs will warm the space, reduce noise, suggest the style of the home, inject colour and if well placed, will direct they eye onwards to the main areas of the home.  I love durable grass weave and faded middle eastern rugs.

Walls

You can really have fun on the walls in this typically small space.  Play with the forbidden dark paint colours, break up the wall with panelling and even consider including the ceiling.  Mirror panelling is the perfect way to bounce light around and make the space double in size.  Mirror now comes in all sorts of finishes, from traditional silvered to endless antiqued effects.  Wallpapers can make a seriously stylish impact and cover damaged walls.  Try a light timber look wallpaper to cocoon the space and allow the horizontal planks to lead the eye, as suggested with the rug, onwards…

Furniture

If your space permits, a seat for taking off shoes and a quirky umbrella stand will be welcome additions.  A console creates the perfect surface for a vignette, perhaps with an artwork or mirror hung above.

Accessories

Hooks and shelves break up the wall and allow for an evolving style.  You can hang practical objects like hats and coats, or have more fun with any of your treasured objects.

Lighting

Your entry will need adequate lighting and there are many pendant lights, wall sconces, floor lamps and table lamp options available.  If you only use one, I think the best option is a feature pendant light, hung centred from the ceiling to create a general wash of light.

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Liven up your interior with indoor plants.

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The luscious green foliage of an indoor plant is so beautiful and versatile I think it’s an absolute essential for any interior.  A well placed plant can add the pop of colour you’ve been looking for, confidently trusting mother nature’s palette of greens to sit in harmony with any colour scheme.  The shape, colour and scale can be chosen to soften the look an interior and brighten up a dead space.

Another great benefit of indoor plants is that they improve air quality.  With so many voc’s swirling around in our homes today, how nice to think that this simple addition will cleverly filter out nasties like formaldehyde and xylene, not just a pretty face!

There are a few practicalities to keep in mind when selecting and caring for your new addition.

Which plant?

Now please, I’m not talking grandma’s cascading fern hanging from the corner in her pink tiled bathroom.  Like anything, if you’re going to do it, do it properly – think large in scale, wether that be with height or big bold leaves.  Consider the light in your home, a helpful tip is that the darker leaves need less light, this is because they photosynthesise more easily than lighter, coloured and varied leaves.

My favourites are …

Fiddle Leaf Fig – great for height and scale

Philodendrons – beautiful, big, deep green leaves

Schefflera – oval shaped glossy leaves

Bromeliad – will add a real punch of colour

Zanzibar gem – A newbie to the indoor plant scene, a fresh new look

Make it easy for yourself.

A trick I learnt from planting in pots outside applies inside, don’t plant them directly in a big heavy pot.  Select your pot to suit the colour scheme of your interior then place the plant in, still in its plastic pot, making sure the pot is big enough to hide the plastic.  This will make the plant easy to move, hold water in and insulate better than a pourous pot will and even act as a saucer underneath the plant.

Does it come with a care label?

I keep the label that the plant comes with because often it has some great care advice that I can refer back to such as watering frequency and fertiliser requirements.

Here are some other useful tips;

  • I find that when I pick off the dead leaves and flowers, particularly on geraniums, it encourages new growth.
  • Your big leaved friends will also enjoy a wipe down with a damp cloth, an equal mix of water and milk will do wonders.
  • Look out for insects which tend to appear when the plant is suffering a bit of neglect.  Remove the bugs first and if they persist you may need to spray.  I’d research a natural home remedy first before visiting the nursery.
  • Be aware of temperature changes that may affect plant, like direct summer sun and heating / cooling appliances.

I hope you enjoy your indoor plants and they bring many years of beauty, serenity and clean air!