The queen of mixing and matching, it’s no surprise to find that the celebrated Brisbane-based interior designer Anna Spiro has a coffee table that is brimming with unique finds and plenty of interesting visual inspiration.
“I seem to have an obsession with lovely things placed on tables and chests and mantels. It stems back to my younger years watching my mother arrange shells, paintings, books and bits on tables around our house. Currently you will find a large rattan tray on my coffee table filled with a generous stack of magazines and a collection of books,” says Anna, whose coffee table items also include a number of special items found on holidays and overseas trips.
“It’s important to collect things over time and it’s a joy to have a mismatched collection of things that evolves over your life,” says Anna whose coffee table is an antique kitchen table that she found at auction before cutting its legs down to make it a more suitable height for the lounge room. “As it was once a kitchen table, it is large and generous in space for me to display all my books, objects and a hurricane of fresh flowers.” She generally favours coffee tables of the larger, older variety.
“I’ve found the coffee table is often the most difficult piece of furniture to come by as standard-sized ones are usually too small for lavish displays, or too small for anything really. A coffee table is very important in bringing the living room to life as it is the perfect stage for well-read books, vases of colourful flowers, collections of antique boxes and the like, but the presence of such items require a table large enough to hold them,” says Anna who preferences older furniture for its beautiful bones. “It’s often of higher quality than a lot of items found in chain stores and so I encourage an older style coffee table or table with its legs cut down to add personality to the living room.”
As for Anna’s coffee table styling tips, as to be expected, she is big on creating lovely layered vignettes. “Give your coffee table character and charm by experimenting with different arrangements of objects. Creating clusters and collections in your home shows personality and a love of beautiful things. Try quirky objects with varying heights, use odd numbers when arranging items and use stacks of books or magazines to elevate objects.” Anna likes to group similar items together for both organisational and aesthetic reasons.
And for someone who finds inspiration in myriad sources, it’s understandable that her coffee table items change regularly. “I am constantly adding little things, such as a shell I found on the beach or a new book that I find inspiring. There is something therapeutic about arranging objects and collections and in my family home and I always endeavour to create happy, interesting, layered and uplifting spaces. It is the imperfections and the surprises that makes a space interesting and so special and unique for the people living there,” says Anna. What fabulous styling advice!