Saturday

TABLESCAPING: TRICKS OF THE TRADE

Look familiar? It shouldn't! :)

Tablescapes certainly give alot of people problems whether they know it or not. So often, they look way to contrived or just far too haphazard and disconnected to the rest of the space. They don't have to be hard at all though and I'll give you a few tips. While a tablescape can certainly refer to dressing a dining or buffet table for a special event...even tables at weddings are "scaped"... really all a tablescape refers to is how you accessorize a flat, hard surface. Take a look around your home or office. Are you happy with the way the flat surfaces look? Do they seem reflective of who you are and lovely in their own way...or are they chock full of old picture frames that you don't necessarily like and colored candles from the 90's? You may be shocked at how easy it is to transform your tablescapes from "hmmmmm" to "how beautiful!". So, let's start with the basics:
Four must-haves:

1. A really great lamp.
This doesn't have to mean a $700 lamp or even a $70 lamp. It just needs to be great in your eyes. Whether that's because it was your grandmother's or because you found it "that one day" while thrift-store shopping with your girlfriend and you both cracked up at how crazy it was....it doesn't matter. Great here means personal and manages to fit into or give a little punch to the decor.

2. Fresh Flowers
Yep. Fresh. We're talking the "perfect" tablescape here, so fresh is key. I am not a fan of faux flowers, fake trees, or artificial plants. Now, having said that, do I have them in my home? Sure do. Do I like them...not most of them. My fake tree was tossed out on it's basket years ago and I've tried to be very selective about the other artificial ones I own. For example, I have an amazing arrangement of pear branches that I wouldn't part with for anything and I have a faux fern that while it bugs me that it's fake...it serves it's purpose well and I have a hard time getting rid of it. So I digress, fresh is best...most of the time. The container is important but don't sweat it. I love to use everything from mint julip cups to martini shaker bottoms.

3. Books
Old books. New books. Worn books. Coffee table books. Just make sure they say something about who you are and what you love. I'm an avid reader so it's easy for me to have access to so many I love and I can't keep myself from buying a beautiful coffee table book concerning a topic I adore, but if the last book you read was "Hop on Pop" have no fear. Thrift stores are a great option. Some of my favorites are the hardback Reader's Digests. Take the cover off and check out the book itself. So often they are such fresh and fun colors and have charming little patterns on the spine. I also keep my eye out for hardback titles that make me giggle or have special meaning to my life. These books not only provide great texture and color, but more importantly provide risers for smaller accessories.

4. Something that means a great deal to you:
This can either be a beautiful black and white photo of your great-grandfather or a rock your child painted when they were young. It should inspire someone to ask what or who it is and where you got it. When you're alone in your home, each time you walk by it, you should grin.


Notice the important four items here? Simple and beautiful. Don't forget to think about the space around the table...love this old doctor's bag and those riding boots. It makes me believe this person's father was a doctor and she loves to ride...whether that's true or not...who knows?
(House Beautiful)

I feel like I know this person, don't you? She loves art and either paints, draws or wishes she could do both. And obviously is open to things like palm reading and likes to be surrounded with items that mean something to her whether they "match" or not. Are there still "matchers" out there? Poor things. As a side note, twice in the last week I have heard people say, "the blacks didn't match"...yowza.

So many of us are choosing to use large ottomans in lieu of coffee tables and trays are the perfect solution. They provide a place to accessorize and also somewhere to set a drink if need be. I like the simple and casual look of this one with those gorgeous flowers and are those clementines? Can't tell...but that pop of orange is fun...and edible!


Decorative boxes are a great way to incorporate a bit of storage...maybe you put your keys in the top one when you come home...the next one is where you keep your thank you cards...and the others are perfect for things you don't need access to all that often. Note the textural differences here between the tray, the boxes and that ceramic vase. Really nice and quite interesting. See how just using that one red book, A) tells me a bit about the person and B) gives the vase a bit of lift and the red separates the white of the table from the white of the vase.

Another tray used on a coffee table this time. Love that they're breaking up the darkness of the table with the white tray and note the perfect balance of heights here from tall to short.


Real life tablescape from a real life client...so you can see that sometimes it's okay to use an artificial arrangement but of course fresh flowers would be better. This also perfectly shows the "rule of 3's", which to me has to do with 3 different height levels. The tall lamp, then we come down to the flowers and then the bird...I'd like for the flowers to be a bit higher in this one...but no big deal. Make sure you use those books to raise your accessories as needed to create that difference in levels.  




Bedside tables are actually the easiest. Lamp, check. Flowers, check. Books, check. And how adorable is that little vintage blue clock?! So sweet and lovely.
  


Things don't have to be perfect. Make sure the flat surface is still usable after it's accessorized so that the function is still there. Instead of stacking books, I love that you don't know if this person actually just got up and left the book open to her page or if it's displayed like that on purpose. Either way, I love the pink edges of the pages and the two flower arrangements. I could live here.

This view from the top of an ottoman shows a fabulous tray...could even be a painted canvas or large serving platter and how easy and casual things can be while still giving the area some punch. How fun is that fuchsia book...that's why you always remove the covers of books to see what they actually look like under the cheesy covers. The small bowl is the perfect spot to drop your change out of your pockets and keep a couple small mementos and match books from your favorite places.

You don't have to pile it all on one table. If you have the table space, you can place the lamp on a nearby surface to give you a bit more room for things you love while still providing great light for reading and relaxing.

Is is sad that I've been known to actually pull a few petals off of a new flower arrangement and scatter them willy nilly so it looks more casual and beautiful? Too much? Probably too much. Ahh, well.
The tray is great, of course, with the fresh flowers but it's the drop-leaf table in the back that really shines. Notice the three height levels and the mix of color and texture. Really nice.


Back to the basics with this one, right? Lamp, books, flowers, personal item.

So much to love here. The casual way that roll of linen is being used for color and texture while making people think it was just set there for a moment of life...I'm sure it was waaaaaaaaay more thought out than that. Loving the gold garden stool...just saw one at TJ Maxx that I must go get and spray gold. Right now.

Now, of course, as always these are just guidelines to be aware of but feel free to break every rule and have fun! That's what it's really all about. Happy tablescaping!

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