Coffee Tables, dining tables, side tables and nightstands are all great opportunities to display the personal items that we collect. I personally love coffee tables and large ones, for displays since typically they are in an area of entertainment and gathering, and a focal point for the room.

Budgets here can be as large or a small as you like, the key is to find pieces that speak to you, your travels, your hobbies, items that have a personal meaning.

tabletop items vintage finds books bowls ceramics

When working on decorating projects I like to start by restaging table displays with personal items found around the house, many times it's simply a matter of reorganizing and placing items in a new way. I'll ask clients about their favorite decorative pieces. Favorite books are such a great item to decorate with and usually, these are tucked away on a library shelf.      

Bowls and trays are great to have on a table, they catch keys, pocket change, matchboxes from your favorite bar, restaurant or hotel. I love looking for bowls and trays at flea markets, in small curated home stores, or purchased directly from local artists. A mix of colors and materials make for a nice display. 

The coffee table is a great place to display collected items that reflect your personality. What is yours saying about who you are?

Small plants like miniature orchids or succulents also work well on tabletops. Plants add life to any room and it is proven plants improve our wellbeing. Check out The Sill for recommendations on small plants for all types of lighting. The Sill delivers plants already potted for you.

Candles and candle holders make for great sculptural items. Find scents that are relaxing and set a mood, it'll add to who you are and the personal space you are creating.

Have fun with mixing and matching your items, change up your display often and discover new items that bring you joy. 

Here are some online sites we really like for tabletop items:

Nalata/ Nalata



Alder & Co


1. You don't need as much furniture as you think you do, just more interesting pieces.

Who says you need the couch or that chair to fill up that corner? 

2. Collect what you love, it will inspire you to be more creative.

Taking a life lesson from designer Alexander Girard we could all be more creative daily.

3. Don't be afraid of color, it adds emotion to a home.

Monet, Barragan, Le Corbusier and Frida Kahlo all knew a thing or 2 about living passionately.

4. If it doesn't matter get rid of it, free your space.

We consume way more then we need, items with no real meaning or purpose. 

5. Travel and support independent creatives, your collected treasures will tell your journey.

A home to reflect the stories of those who live there, a collected space, unique and individual.

Josef Frank and his textile designs

My first in-person encounter with Josef Frank's work was only last year, during a trip to Stockholm. I had previously seen a small number of his textile designs in print, enough to be able to recognize the iconic patterns and use of color but wasn't too familiar with the story behind the Austrian/Swedish designer's work.

A Norwegian interior designer friend of mine had told me not to miss a visit to Svenskt Tenn upon my visit to Stockholm. I had no idea what she was talking about and googled the home decor store to immediately recognize the lively fabrics. Upon further research, I also learned about the Millesgarden in Stockholm and their permanent display of Josef Frank's work in the so called Anne's House, on the lower terrace. Another site of interest to visit.

Ancient Roman fresco - Pomegranate tree - Villa di Livia (Rome)

Ancient Roman fresco - Pomegranate tree - Villa di Livia (Rome)

The so-called Anti-Design Designer's story is an interesting one. His work touches on classical influences from the Greek and Romans, Egyptian wall coverings and Southern Italian folk art. Josef Frank is most popular as a Swedish textile designer who was originally Austrian, later nationalized Swedish. He immigrated to Sweden before WWII, as an adult with his wife. His career began as an architect, however once he began working for Svenskt Tenn he dedicated his creative forces to furniture and textiles, abandoning architecture. A Modernist who's work isn't easy to classify, it stands out when grouped with his contemporaries.

His philosophy is one of comfortable, practical and uplifting design. A home should not be a work of art to be remained intact, but a flexible place where one lives. The style of his furniture is traditional with a focus on accents such as upholstery, decorative cushions, and throws. Although his popular textiles date between the 1930s to the 1940s his work feels contemporary still, due to his pluralist and not exclusive approach to design. Timeless is the design that can blend into any interior setting.

Exotic Butterfly Lounge Chair

Exotic Butterfly Lounge Chair

This Exotic Butterfly print fabric is a special reproduction from an original drawing by Josef Frank produced by Schumacher 1889. The pattern is signature Frank style whimsical and welcoming. This lounge chair is a vintage refurbish by The Empty Apartment and one of a kind. Available now to collect here.


Further Reading:

Josef Frank: Celebrating the Anti-Design Designer, New York Times

Svenskt Tenn, ArkDes Josef Frank Exhibition