I wanted to do a demi post here in side table styling. For all of the photos for my website, I did my own styling. I looked at a lot of magazines and books and saved images I liked for inspiration. What I realized most was that in both photography and real life one should never over look one's surfaces! A bare surface, though clean certainly, suggests austerity and a lack of personalization.
You can think of your side tables, coffee tables, sofa tables, mantles and other surfaces as stories. They tell the story of what you like, what things are important to you. Books, objets, collections, all indicate the personality that lives among them.
Also of utmost importance: flowers! Now I did not learn about the importance of flowers in the home until I did my photo shoot. I thought of them as a lovely and costly indulgence. Something I could not indulge for myself. After the photoshoot however, I've learned that even one petite bouquet of yellow flowers in my living contribute infinitely to the living rooms joyful decor. Although I wish I could have yellow roses in the living room every day and red roses in the dinning room and pink peonies in the bedrooms, I cannot quite afford that indulgence. However, a bi-weekly bouquet of tulips in the living room is now a part of my shopping list. I read that Parisians consider it as important as anything else on the grocery list, that a bouquet of fresh flowers and a bottle of wine are always purchased on the way home from work.
My favorite thing to decorate with on side tables is books. Especially arts books. We have a lot of them on hand and calling out some on side tables is a nice way to create a narrative. Also, remember they can be in a rotation. Having a Morandi moment? Then make him your highlighted book of the week. Or Diebenkorn month perhaps? When you use books on side tables, it makes you re-examine your collection. Reminding yourself of all the lovely books you've collected over the years. Always stack a couple of books, two or three, this creates visual volume and always looks good.
The formula: books stacked, flowers in vases, whether as buds or bouquets, an objets or two, and maybe a candle. This combination makes for lovely surfaces throughout the home.
Happy side table styling!