Sunday, July 28, 2013

The coffee table tray #1

My lounge room remains a work in progress. 

Not long after buying my new coffee table and entertainment unit, I became utterly obsessed with what to put on the coffee table. In case you haven't noticed, coffee tables nowadays are less pieces of furniture and more canvasses for still life studies.

After seeing countless perfect coffee table arrangements, the focus of my obsession turned to trays. A tray, I decided, was exactly what was missing, the one piece that would turn my coffee table from a repository of 'things' to an artful arrangement worthy of Belle magazine.

"A tray!" she said, "how hard can that be to find?" Pretty damn hard as it turned out. 

I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a whim (have you priced a lucite tray lately? It's highway robbery!) but I also didn't want some cheap tat that would look horrible. Enter West Elm - my new favourite place - and their gorgeous lacquered wooden trays. I bought the small metallic one; it cost me $39 and goes perfectly with the whitewashed wood of the table.

Of course, once I had the tray I quickly realised that it didn't magically bring everything together. Mine is a lived-in house, it's not the type where people leave shoes at the door and consequently my coffee table is more than a decoration, it's a hardworking piece of furniture. On it are coasters, remote controls, pens, text books (one of us is studying), a laptop (sometimes two), an iPad, tissues and lots of magazines (and not just attractive 'girly' mags like Vogue, no, there are also car and bike magazines for boys).

For the first week I let the situation defeat me and my pretty tray sat on the corner of the table looking lost and afraid of its un-pretty neighbours. I just didn't know what to do with it. Then I decided to accept that my coffee table is a reflection of my life - it's full and varied, sometimes chaotic but useful and enjoyed. 

As such, instead of turning the whole table into a highly-arranged display, I would use my tray to create a little decorative space among the chaos. This way, I can change it to my heart's desire without a difficult conversation about why dirt bike magazines don't belong as tabletop displays.

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