Just like our once bare living room ottoman, we have struggled with decorating the sofa table. The thought of breakables adorning the table behind the sofa where everyone flops down and I’ll admit the occasional kid or dog hops over the back, gives me nightmares. But the bare table feels unfinished and function-less. It is time for some style!
One typical way to decorate a sofa table is with a pair of lamps. I also have nightmares about someone knocking table lamps off the sofa table. We still need light, so we have a pair of floor lamps. They are his and hers lamps. The larger floor lamp is an amazing spun metal lamp my husband picked out at the Room & Board outlet. There was no matching the scale of his lamp, so I went for an opposites attract approach. I love my smaller reading lamp with flexible arm. It is safe to say we are happy with our lighting, and won’t be adding table lamps to the sofa table.
This is what I started with:
Unlike my styled dresser, I was not sure what I wanted for the sofa table or what would work. I started researching, following my inspiration to action tips, then I played around with a bunch of accessories to find a few arrangements worth sharing. I created a couple pretty, but not practical for us looks, and a couple practical, but still pretty looks.
Pretty, NOT Practical
Creating a symmetrical arrangement is pretty much a no-fail decorating method. It works. For this look I started with my stack of decorative boxes in the center of the table. I topped the books with my new matte silver urchin. Off to each side, I placed matching pots with my decorative seed pod balls.
I love this look way more than I thought I would. I think the symmetry and the colorfulness appeal to me.
Did you notice my new x-benches?! They are a semi-DIY project I will be sharing soon. In the 10 Interior Styling Mistakes to Avoid, I said leaving the space below a console table empty is a big no-no. I daydreamed of putting a couple ottomans under ours for ages. I finally pulled it off.
Even though the benches alone help fill the space, I took it a little further. For a fuller look, I topped each ottoman with a pillow. As amazing I think the pillows look, it just seems like a waste of a good pillow to me. We like to use our pillows around here. Another way to decorate the top of the ottomans, is with a tray stacked with books and a folded throw blanket.
As much as I am drawn to this relatively simple, symmetrical look, it still feels flat to me. It seems like something I would see in a showroom…nothing personal about it.
Next, I tried to mix it up with an asymmetrical look. I kept it over-the-top, showroom style, though. For this look, I placed the decorative books slightly off-center. Next to them, I added a pair of large candlesticks.
These are my thrift store candlesticks I made over with chalk paint. To finish it off, I added an interesting pair of small brass votive holders on top of the stack of books. I think they are interesting sculptural elements, with one laying on its side. To match the brass on top of the boxes, I added my brass lion down by the candlesticks.
I think this is a good look, but way too formal and devoid of personality for us. Plus, we would never light those candles. The one thing I love is the brass and blue combo.
Practical AND Pretty
After trying the first two looks, I knew what would work best for us. I wanted a simple, functional arrangement. I am torn between these two looks I created.
For the first, I centered my turquoise tray on the console. I topped the tray with a stack of books with a bamboo bowl on top to hold the remote. The wood bowl ties in nicely with the grapevine branch on the ottoman. Next to the stack of books, I added one of the potted seed pod balls and the urchin. This definitely feels like a more livable, realistic look.
For the second look, I swapped out a few of the items, trying to add more personality. I changed the pot under the seed pod ball for a colorful Anthropologie bowl. I swapped the urchin for my brass lion. Lastly, I exchanged a glass dish for the wood bowl, which was towering over the shorter seed pod bowl.
I LOVE both of these looks. Since you have already seen the glass dish on my bedroom dresser, you can probably guess I settled on the wooden bowl. Or, I might look for a similar bamboo tray for the remote. But, I think I love the texture and color of the Anthropologie bowl paired with the brass lion, better than the pot and the urchin. What do you think?
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Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms says
I love this styling challenge month! I find it SO helpful since I find styling to be a challenge for myself. I especially like how you are doing pretty and practical. It is so true that pretty styled places seen in magazines can be so unreasonable for real life. I’m loving all your pretty accessories! I vote for the bamboo bowl to stay. I like the natural look!
Thanks Megan. I love that bamboo bowl, too. Plus it is big enough to swallow the remote :)
I think I like the symmetry the best. I don’t usually love symmetry, but I think it’s a nice surprise in you house. I also like that it fills out the console better.
Thanks, Lisa. I loved it too. Maybe the tray in between the pots with a stack of books and the wood bowl would be the best of both worlds?!
I like what you just said above. The last photo fell kind of flat. I missed the pop of yellow on the ottomans that went with the yellow “pails”. Not real tall on the table yet gave appearance of height. I like your tray idea between these seed pods plus loved the anthro bowl on the tray next to the brass animal. Liked the bowl for the remote too. The seed balls on the sofa table makes my eye travel across the room and remind me of the star on your main picture you DIY’d that remains one of my favorites. It just goes visually. But I’m not there in person, you are! You do what you like best, okay?!!!
Oh ps. Love the ottomans so much. I’d have never thought of doing that!!
If this were my console (which of course it is not), here is what I would do. First, I would move the larger, modern lamp further back into the living room. I get the mismatched lamps idea, but there is no need to place them on the same visual plane when they’re different heights. Moving the larger lamp back a bit will make their heights seem closer yet preserve the mismatched factor. Second, I’d worry about the brass lion accidentally falling and hitting someone in the foot. Therefore, I would DIY myself a lighter-weight option. For example, I could buy a paper lion (example: http://www.kmart.com/paper-mache-figurine-4.5inch-lion/p-021V005938481000P) and give it a coat of brass spray paint. Third, I like the look of the seed pod in the Anthropologie bowl best. However, I’d be concerned about the bowl falling and breaking since I’m assuming it’s somewhat fragile. Therefore, I might buy a melamine bowl instead (example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bobby-Flay-Blue-Medallion-Melamine-Dip-Bowl-NEW-/310757843710?pt=Dinnerware_Serving_Dishes&hash=item485a9c62fe). Fourth, as for the remote, I might consider storing it inside a box, or just leaving it out in the open on top of a tray or large book. Whenever I have guests over, they always look for our remote, so leaving it out in the open isn’t the worst thing.
Thank you for the ideas Jess. The brass lion was a Target find and they designed it to be hollow underneath, so it is actually pretty light.
What color of teal would you say that is on the books? I find so many different shades and cannot decide!
Brandy, These book boxes have patterns in navy blue and a very green shade of teal.