The most exciting part of moving out of the nest and into my own space is the opportunity to decorate my space to fit my unique sense of style. I have lived away from home before during my undergraduate years at McMaster University (Go Mac Go!) but those were shared spaces that did not afford me the ability to truly showcase my inner decorating genius. With my new space in the heart of a stylish and character filled downtown Calgary neighbourhood, I find that there is inspiration at every turn for both my personal style as well as plans for my home decor.
The living room is one of the most important yet difficult spaces to decorate. This is the first space that guests you invite into your home see and can be very telling of the person who inhabits its four walls. Most people would think that the couch or the media console are the most important piece in the room, but I beg to differ. The real MVP in the living room arena is no doubt the coffee table. How can such a small and often overlooked piece of furniture be do integral to a room you ask? It's quite simple - the coffee table holds the unrivaled ability to draw all parts of your room together. It is, for lack of a better analogy, the sun in the center of your living room solar system. I challenge you to walk into any living room and asses the power of the coffee table. Take a look at how this piece of furniture either blends seamlessly into the surrounding decor or adds character and intrigue to the space.
As with a majority of downtown apartments, space is a luxury that most tend to trade in for location. I love my apartment as it is the perfect size for a single lady like myself. I can even see two people inhabiting the space quite easily, but things definitely get tricky when you start taking into account all the friends and family you'll have over during fab wine parties. As a result, the choice for coffee tables has to be made with space limitations in mind. When decorating for a small space, look to unconventional items that can serve the same function as a regular sized coffee table, such as using a large side table instead to maximize space. My coffee table pick for a small space has to go to this beautiful Anglo-Indian Mid-Century Brass Tray side table found on Chairish, an online community where design lovers can buy and sell vintage furniture and decor to one another. You can shop more of their amazing coffee table picks here!
This side table is the perfect size for a small space and offers the elegance and vintage feel of any normal sized coffee table. It can be very easy to fall prey to the need to use pieces as they are designed for. But, as with my own personal sense of fashion, I try to see pieces as more than just a dress or side table. Instead I see multiple uses like adding a button up shirt to a dress to create a skirt or utilizing a side table as a character filled coffee table in a small space.
Now that you have the table picked, the real fun begins! It's time to accessorize, and, as with any good outfit, choosing details to accentuate your coffee table is paramount. Here are three main pieces of advice I live by when selecting coffee table essentials:
1. Don't underestimate the power of colour
Colour and patterns are my favourite way to add character to pretty much any aspect of my life. From gold chevron Kate Spade planners to a closet full of floral patterns, I never underestimate the power that colour can bring to an outfit or a space, helping to draw attention to places that you want. For example, having a pink pineapple candle be the focal piece of your coffee table helps to draw your visitor's eye to the center of the room, opening it up more. Colour and patters are also a great way to add focal pieces to your coffee table and offers up a wide variety of ways to do so. This includes fresh or faux flowers, intricate figurines or funky candle holders to name a few. The most important thing to keep in mind when adding colour to a coffee table is to not fixate on matching. The whole point of adding colour to your coffee table is to create a visual break from the rest of the room in stand out and eye popping hues that can help tie together other decorative pieces in the space.
2. A coffee table needs its supporting players
Another piece of the puzzle that most individuals forget to take into account when thinking about their coffee table essentials is all the space around the table! You have to think outside of the table, picking pieces to surround the table and frame all the hard work that went into getting the perfect coffee table together. I tend to look to the walls and floors around the coffee table as a way to add my personal touches, including selecting the perfect rug to show off your beautiful new coffee table as well as floor lamps and over sized pillows that can be placed around the coffee table. In a small space, adding these small touches goes a long way in creating a space that is uniquely you without taking up too much square footage in your home.
3. Decorate the way you want, not to fit a certain style
This piece of advice is one that I recently had to learn the hard way. I found myself caught up in trying to decorate my new space based on a preconceived decor style. I was looking for pieces to fit a glam decor style rather than finding pieces that spoke to me. I hit the real wall when I actually contemplated getting a solid metal coffee table that did nothing for me style wise but would fit into this glam mold that I had placed my decorative mind in. What I learned was to not go into decorating with a theme in mind but rather trust my own sense of style to put together a space that would work for me. Let it happen organically by picking pieces you genuinely like and you will be surprised how well the entire look will come together.
I was so inspired by this beautiful vintage side table that I decided to virtually design a space with it as the focal piece. I kept in mind my three decor mantras and applied it to a complete room. My final product is a rustic glam space that relies on textures, patterns and metallic details to create a space that is both chic and cozy.
No matter your space, your style or your budget, finding the perfect coffee table is the cherry on top of a beautiful space. An often overlooked piece of furniture in the living room, a coffee table has the ability to transform the look and feel of your space. Don't hesitate to use unconventional pieces of furniture as a coffee table, such as a side table or ottoman in a smaller space, and keep in my mind my three pieces of advice when picking your coffee table essentials. Embrace colour and patterns with open arms, expand your decorative mind to the space around your coffee table and decorate to the sound of your own drum. Keeping these three tips in mind will help you bring your coffee table ambitions to life!