Interior designer Ioanna Lennox knows how tricky styling coffee tables can be and she’s a professional! So today, we’re sharing what’s on hers as well as her tips on making yours beautiful.
“Coffee tables are one of those things that people struggle with. They need to be functional and practical and look good at the same time. Function over form or form over function? How do we combine both? Personally, I’m a big fan of ottomans as coffee tables. Large ottomans that can have one or two trays on them, piles of favourite books and personal artefacts that mean to something to us. Or even small ottomans that are striking and make a huge impact but prevent things from getting too messy or cluttered because of their compact size.
“In our home, I’ve opted for the latter. My husband hates coffee tables in formal living areas and believes less is more. So rather than going for a more traditional coffee table, we’ve compromised on having a small French-inspired ottoman serve as a coffee table. I had it upholstered in one of my favourite fabrics, Kelly Wearstler’s Flair Noir, and had its frame finished in an antique silver bronze that matches the Louis armchair sitting behind it. I decided to have the chair upholstered in a rich deep blue velvet so that the wild black and white chevron-inspired print of the ottoman stands out even more.”
Being a fairly small ottoman, Ioanna doesn’t have the luxury of having all her go-to interior design books on hand so she tends to rotate them. “For instance, I recently attended Greg Natale’s book launch and of course, had to get the book! So being the newest addition to my design books collection, it’s on the table right now. There’s also an Audrey Hepburn book that both my daughter and I love to look at which tends to reside there all the time.”
Flowers are another must-have staple. “The more I decorate with flowers, the more I appreciate the way they define spaces by adding layers of colours, texture and shape –you can really turn up the volume of how loud or soft you want a room to be simply through the flower selection or arrangement you choose. I tend to gravitate towards soft pastel shades of pink or white for the living room and display them in a matt ceramic sculptural vase from BoConcept. The vase goes beautifully with the Jonathan Adler Dora Muse candle, which is a great example of form and function blended into something beautiful and unique. Oh, and its scent is to die for!”
Ioanna loves to arrange everything on a black and gold tray and layer the vase and candle on top: the candle, the vase, some coasters to have on hand and a bronze whale tail that her son likes to wave around pretending it’s an aeroplane! “Good interior design is made up of layers – overt, subtle, visible and invisible. Layers tell stories about the people who live there are and build rooms.”
Display boxes are another favourite. She was recently given the black and white bone zig zag box as a present. “We also use it to dump keys and sunglasses when we come into the house then pop the lid on and it’s all tidy and out of sight! The only problem is when we forget the keys are there and go searching for them for 10 minutes!
“My absolute indulgence in the room is to come downstairs once the kids are finally in bed, glass of wine in hand, soft jazz music humming in the background, light the candles and curl up in the armchair surrounded by my favourite design books or collection of Belle magazines. I flick, I sip, I ponder. It’s in that space that I get inspired, dream and creations come alive. For me, that’s home.”
Photography by Susan Papazian
See all our other featured coffee tables. Whose would you love to see next? Please comment below.