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Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Posted by kswl (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 12:19

If you google "styling oval cocktail tables" or coffee tables, you'll see loads of photos of tables with nothing--- or almost nothing---on them. I've looked at many pictures and have determined that round or small footprint/tall things look best.....big books look awkward and smaller ones look like you forgot to put them away. Most rectangles or squares look uncomfortable (for lack of a better term) perched on an oval surface.

Ever since our interior designer "relocated" the big pottery bowl that was the sole item on our library table to the lower level, I have been shopping my own house for items to use on the table, and I would love pictures, suggestions, tips, etc.

Table is pedestal base from Baker with an inlaid medallion at the center. It is very pretty on its own. Here it is with a large book so you can see the size. (Apologize for horrible iphone pictures, it was after floors but before rug came back from cleaners)

Rug restored, flowers from birthday bouquet from a friend in ceramic vase, silver Revere bowl with green enamel interior, and three varying height brass candlesticks with fat Root candles in green:

More, less, what?

This post was edited by kswl on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 12:30


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I don't think candles work on a coffee table and am not thrilled with the vase. I like the table with the revere bowl on it. What about adding some pretty coasters and an interesting coffee table book.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

See original post for reasons to avoid books-- the proportions don't work. Agree about vase, but it is not a long term fixture there, I am looking more for guidance on sizes, heights, mix and especially SHAPE of materials. I have a cupboard full of vases of every type, from ceramic to silver to glass, but they are not all the right shape or height :-(

I could also do a plant.....

Curious why you don't like candles on low tables?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I really think the table could stand alone and be used simply for wine glasses or a crystal liquor set. Oval tables are hard. I have one. I just never quite get it right and it seems better like it was on the showroom floor, unencumbered.

I think your trio is nice and the colors are great, but it is too much. I don't care for the flowers with the other items. I like the bowl and the candlesticks and perhaps a silver or nickel-plated candle snuffer.

I think that or just the floral arrangement alone. I see you are trying to create odds within odds, but less is more and you know that based on what I have seen of your beautiful work. Sit back and look and think. The right thing will come to pass in time.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 12:50


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Thank you patricia :-) but it's been YEARS and I still haven't come up with a great solution to this. I did have one large ceramic bowl on that table that a potter friend made for us, it functioned as a sort of catchall for stuff left on the table (good) but was really too big and too casual for the table. (The bowl is now in the lower level filled with 3-D glasses for the new tv screen.)

I'll take the flowers away (although I LOVE the colors flowers add to a room) and see what the candles and bowl look like together. I think I am going to need something glass, though, in addition.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I like the flowers too. Maybe in a rosebowl though? do you have one of those? I admit they are a weakness of mine :)

I am kind of nutty on symetrical too though and admit my first thought was an intersting low oval pottery piece - a large one. ( I think my brain is on vacation as I missed above that you relocated a pottery piece!)

This post was edited by boopadaboo on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 13:11


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Got an oval coffee table here in my one-and-only living room -- and looks just like yours!!! :)

Not a Baker ...... just a "Basic" oval mahogany coffee table .... LOL!! :) ...... just teasing! :)

Anyway -- find a darker oval tray (mine is dark-woven wicker with sides)-- and I filled my tray with two or three décor books (without their bookjackets) and a couple of VERY old brass match-holders and a small stack of coasters .... and (right now) an old brass dish/tray sitting right on top of the books ..... the whole thing is set off to one side of the table ....

Nothing tall because it would block the sight-line to the TV .....

The key to the whole game seems to be finding an oval "object" like a tray or bowl that echoes the shape and depth of color of the table .....


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Some ideas here...

Here is a link that might be useful: oval coffee table decor


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I have looked for a brass gallery tray without much success, the ones I have found don't feel very nice. Don't want a big one ---well, not big enough for books--- because I don't want to cover the medallion in the table. (Pedestal feet are brass, so I like that material for it.)

If I found the right tray I would not use the Revere bowl or flowers but I could probably use an orchid on the tray along with other items. I'll keep looking for that.

Teacats, could you post a photo of your table?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

those candlesticks look as though they belong on a dining table or sideboard. To my eye, it looks too 'staged' because you really probably would never light those candles on a coffee table. Perhaps one pretty, chunky candle would look nice on a low crystal stand.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I think you can still use books, but you have to balance them with something of equal visual weight. So, two or three books on one end with a small object on top like a magnifying glass balanced with a tea chest and two smaller boxes on the other end. For flowers, use a low dense arrangement in your Revere bowl or a squat, glass square vase or use a tall, but spindly orchid. Place the bowl either on the books (remove the object) or sort of at the top of a very flat pyramid made of the books, boxes and flowers.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Good point--- I probably wouldn't light them and they are certainly staged, lol!

Found some great trays at Bliss:
White ceramic and pewter:

iron and mirror:

antique brass:

supercool shagreen tray:

Adore this one but it is nickel:

Ok, the next ones not for me but in case mtnrdredux looks they are very Maine-y:

A wood and brass cheetah design that appeals to me for some reason!

Boop, thanks for that link.....you see most of those tables have nothing on them!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Fun, thanks for those suggestions! I actually have a magnifying glass---it is a large blue plastic one I bought at a toy store to read find print! I guess I could find a nicer one for the library :-) We have an antique Rolleiflex camera that belonged to a relative / photographer but I am afraid to leave it out for fear it will be mishandled, it is both valuable and sentimental.

I will look for some smaller books, and post pictures of what that looks like.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Here are three quick ideas I did with things from around the house. As I look at the pictures, I see I didn't do such a great job of spacing and aligning, but you can get the idea, I think. This happens to be a games table with a smaller top than your coffee table, so the items would look more graceful on your table. Hope this provides a little inspiration.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Thanks for those photos, Fun!! I like the first one best because it shows a lot of your game table top, but might also work on mine because I don't want to cover the center medallion.

I have found these interesting items online:

a nut dish with an acorn scoop! Wood and pewter:

A 9.5" tall x 7" wide B'rer Rabbit sculpture in bronze (I loved these stories as a child and visited the Joel Chandler Harris house yearly):

I need to go shopping!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Alternative to a tray?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

How about an oval lacquered tray with a glass vase filled with good quality hydrangeas or an orchid. A pretty box. Something whimsical that reflects your personality. Just throwing out some ideas.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

And a fast, quickie photo from DH:

 photo coffeetableaug2014001.jpg


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Thanks, teacats, the tables are very similar. Looking at your photo makes me want to find a round brass tray!

Oak ton, thank you for those suggestions, I like the idea of a lacquered tray very much.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I have a soft spot for old paper Mache trays, and think you might like the addition of a Florentine print or a mix of colors to correspond to the room, to tie the display to its beautiful surroundings. You can find oval or round trays inexpensively on eBay, Etsy or locally in antique shops. You can lay the magnifying glass on it with an old stamp roll holder, or use it as a base for a rose bowl, or the Revere bowl with potpourri. A stack of things might keep the look lighter, and less cluttered.

Here is a link that might be useful: vintage Paper Mache


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Here is another example from Etsy, but it was sold.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I think the issue is the center medallion: if you want us to see it, then you can't put anything except coasters or something small on the table. Leave it empty unless you need to put it to functional use. Pretty table. I think it probably has to be something in the center, or nothing at all.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

KSWL, I just have to know where you found that gorgeous antique brass tray and even more importantly the B'rer Rabbit sculpture, would you share please? I loved B'rer Rabbit as a child also.

If I were styling the table I would look for vintage B'rer Rabbit books in good condition, stack them, and place the sculpture on top. It would be a reflection of something you love.

I also think a beautiful sterling silver tray would look gorgeous but I know you want to stay with brass.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I agree with vedazu


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Holly-Kay, I found it at an online shopping site called Bliss Home and Design, they have wonderful accessories! They also have large (7-9 inch) reproductions of the monopoly player tokens --- the iron, the shoe, the derby, the terrier, and something else I can't remember.

Vedazu, you may be right, I might should leave well enough alone unless I want one tall fabulous something in the middle of the table.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bliss---- look in accessories for Br'er Rabbit


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Thanks KSWL!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Vedazu, I like that tray!

Shallow ceramic bowl and red leather Chinese box for dominoes:

Closer with the box open, it is lined with interesting fabric. Perhaps I could find dominoes to go in it.

Bowl:

I think I might order the brass gallery rail tray and Br'er Rabbit...good idea Holly.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Do you have a small piece of art glass or a small Oriental vase/pot? I am a fan of orchids, especially orchids in a low art glass dish. I like this orchid in the low bowl

Perhaps an orchid on one side, arching toward the middle, with the books and magnifying glass on the other side. Maybe a few crystal paperweights scattered on the table, too. Wish I had a photo. In my mind, it looks fantastic! ;-)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Lol, bbstx, we need the long distance Vulcan mind meld :-)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

In lieu of the long-distance Vulcan mind meld, Ms. Spock, how about a couple of photos? Not exactly what I was talking about in the previous post, but I like this one by Amy Howard. She does 3 julep cups with nosegays in each. I know this table isn't much like yours, but I like the simplicity and symmetry of the 3 evenly spaced cups. And who doesn't like julep cups! You could move yours slightly above the equator to show the medallion.

 photo image_thumb105_zps7d1d81fc.png

Or if you can't find a magnifying glass, you could put a shoe on top of your books
 photo 0133f361fcbdf62fdea640e22f626c08_zpsa35a68b5.jpg
:-))))


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Well, I don't have a shoe that looks exactly like that one, but I DO have three silver mint julep cups. I guess a picture may be worth more than a thousand words :-). Thanks, I will try that look


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

i LOVE your cocktail table. The wooden grains are marvellous. Keeping it shorn of any adornments would show off the beauty of the table.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I have a large magnifying glass atop a stack of books on my BR library (night) table which I found at Wal-Mart a few years ago. It's a nice one. Granted, it's not heirloom quality and it's not goldplated but I think it has a brass outer rim and a horn/bamboo looking handle.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Well, patricia43, just think of how stylish you could be if instead of a magnifying glass, you fling an old shoe up on top of your books!

I hope you all know I'm being very tongue in cheek. Who puts a shoe on top of their books? Who puts a shoe on top of anything other than the pile of other shoes on the floor of the closet? Do people buy shoes strictly for display? Have I missed another trend?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

A pretty Phoebe Howard coffee table
 photo 131933fa1a4e17a0831a02a49e75f755_zps8d5ea5f8.jpg

Replace the roses with an orchid, and this is pretty much what I was envisioning in my 21:23 post yesterday.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Bbstx, I LOVE your sense of humor! But .....if I put an old shoe that was a replica of the monopoly player's piece I usually got stuck with in family games, would that make it any cooler, lol?

I guess I need to reassess why I am even giving brain space to the motion that I need to style a beautiful table. Is this the dreaded PROJECT END SYNDROME? If so I guess I need to step up my volunteering. At least I am not going to the extreme of moving, like Kevin! (JK Kevin, know your move is a spouse/house combo :-)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

We had an oval cocktail table in the store for awhile and I loved it! Of course it's overdone (we're trying to sell things), but I think some taller things in the mix, and we love using glass paperweights, they're all over the shop!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Sallymo, I think your table looks great, even overfilled, and I think it is because you have only round shapes sitting on it. Agree completely about the need for something tall, that was the rationale behind the three tall candlesticks in the first picture. Unfortunately I can't really think of anything else tall except a hurricane globe with a candle or filled with something :-(


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I think the Monopoly shoe on your cocktail table would be cool! especially because it has special significance for you.

Is this it?
 photo eb40d6da2f6179754baffb92392ea958_zpsa64b3bc5.jpg


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Yes, that's it. But I always wanted the dog! I was just kidding about it earlier, itheyre actually just a little too big....almost creepy. Just looking for stuff leads one down some dark alleys, lol!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Darnit, now I want that Brer Rabbit...


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I like the ceramic bowl and red leather box stacked on the books that you posted Saturday at 20:38. They look like they "belong" there. It looks great with the sofa, pillows, and rug.

The box is pretty open or closed.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Be careful, SueB, one rabbit is an accessory, two is a trend!

Thank you, Tuesday. I've been to the nursery and bought a pretty orchid in a clay pot, which I am going to try next with something else and will post a photo. I appreciate yours and others' willingness to look and weigh in :-)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

So many ideas! I actually think you could use your Revere bowl, vase with flowers and something smaller and round like a beautiful crystal paperweight (lots of different ones available to suit any color or style you like) as a group of three offset from the center and then put one small item (or a small stack) away from that group.

Can't wait to see what you choose!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I think it should be a reflection of you/your family. Angle your books so the top edge is to your left and titles facing sofa. I don't think you need anything on top of them. Then count your medallion as another item and put a third on other side. It could be a fat pillar candle on a simple holder, a sculpture/decorative object, a mint julep cup filled with flowers, a plant, or a group of objects that read as one. If it's an item from your travels or an interesting family memento it can be a conversation starter, like your monopoly piece!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Okay, here are two shots of enameled Rever bowl, books, and orchid in clay pot.

This post was edited by kswl on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 20:16


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Love it! Do you have an Oriental cachepot to slip the orchid into so that it doesn't damage your books?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Yes i do, actually, and it is light yellow. I think the colors would be perfect for the orchid. Will find it in decorative accessories graveyard and post a photo!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I love that bowl. I like the orchid there, but I agree you should find a pot for it. Id also rather a white orchid.
Pretty table and room.

PS I love those trays you posted, eps the ones you said were Maine-y!


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Orchid in planter on books

No books:

Mtn, I love those revere bowls, I actually have three green enameled ones, the one shown, one more olive green and one a teal green. And I thought those trays would be fun for your pool next year....if you don't watch out you will have your own army of shoppers for that place :-)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

I think you need the books on the table. Looks a little nekkid (spelling per Lewis Grizzard) without them. What about the books under the Revere bowl?


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Revere bowl on books:


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Perfection! IMHO.


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Thanks, bb! (We still miss Lewis down here, I live about an hour away from his childhood home.)


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RE: Styling An Oval Cocktail Table....Tips and Suggestions?

Not to be a PITA but I like the Revere bowl by itself, but the orchid needs a smaller cachepot if it sits on the books imho


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