The Inspired Table

Don’t know what to put on your tabletops? Check out these 7 expert tips from Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS. You’ll be serving up style in no time!

By Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS

Full PDF here.

With the arrival of warmer weather comes more entertaining, and with all the upcoming parties and events, you might be thinking about how to make your dining room table more visually interesting. But what about all of the other tables in your home? You know – the ones you use and enjoy every day? Ideally, they should  also delight the eye and offer a glimpse of you. Here are some tips and tricks to help you create beautiful tabletops throughout your home.
#1. Add dimension. Use items of varying heights to keep the eye moving and interested. Think of having something short, medium, and tall on all of your tablescapes. Using books is a wonderful way to add height to an object (see #6).
#2. Mix it up. Select items with varying shapes and textures. For example, instead of using all round items (which can be boring),try placing a square box or photo frame with a round lamp and a round bowl. Likewise, instead of using all silver, put a woven, braided bowl with smooth, shiny silver candlesticks and a marble urn.
#3. Give it life. Incorporate living or organic items into your scheme. This could be as traditional as flowers in a vase or a potted plant, but it could also be something like sticks and twigs in a vase or pinecones in a bowl. The key is to have something of nature in your presentation.
#4. Keep it together. Bring a collection together in one place. You can really make a bold statement by gathering similar items all on one table. Collector items scattered throughout your home are just nice; grouped together, they’re a real showstopper!
#5. Serve it up. Use a tray or platter to group things together. Small items that might look lost otherwise take on importance and status when grouped on a tray with other items. Three small items will carry the visual weight of a larger, single item when grouped on a tray.
#6. Go literary. Books, books, books! Everybody has them; some of us have lots of them. Why leave them only in the bookcase? Using them in stacks of three or five can add interest to a table and invite perusal from your guests. Their covers can add pops of color and graphic excitement. Plus, books tell us something about what you enjoy. Which brings me to my last tip…
#7. Make it personal. Give yourself license to select items that are meaningful to you and surround yourself with things you love – whether it’s a favorite family photo, a special memento from a recent trip, or something as simple as a seashell you found on the beach. Let the world see and enjoy the things that are important to you, and if it is quirky or unexpected, so much the better. After all, injecting your personality is what makes your house your home.

Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, Tenn.

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