Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A bookworm's thoughts on coffee table styling:

As a proud bookworm myself, I have to say that I'm a little… aghast at the current trend in coffee and console table styling.

I scroll through dozens of posts of beautifully styled homes on countless blogs, Instagram pages and Pinterest boards and although they are all without a doubt beautiful and lust-worthy, I can't get excited about the typical choice in literature that so invariably ends up on all of those oh-so-stylish surfaces.

Many bookworms, I imagine, are introverts. Or, at the very most, what a friend of mine likes to call -- introverts with extrovert tendencies. And, like any introvert worth their salt, I enjoy quiet nights at home with a book or curled up with my dog on the couch watching an entire season's worth of shows on Netflix. I want a comfortable home; a beautiful home. I can't be the only bookworm who feels this way.

So that's why I've become increasingly more confused by the "fashionista's library" trend that has swept the world.

Let's face it, visit any stylish blog and you'll find their home is likely scattered with the traditional coffee table books. Large. Hard-backed. Fashion or home d├ęcor inclined. I'll bet you there's at least one silver screen beauty icon featured in at least one of those books neatly stacked in aesthetically pleasing piles. There's probably one or two books dedicated entirely to several decades worth of fashion magazine prints too.

Now before people start hating me for judging them, let me stress that I pass no judgment. I love Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Bette Davis. Is it within the realm of possibility that I'll one day have a giant book celebrating one of them gracing my console? Yes. Why wouldn't I want to gaze at their timeless profiles every day? Is it also possible that I'll feel inclined to purchase a twenty pound book I could do reps with at the gym that showcases Vogue spreads over that last several decades? Yes. Do I realize that not all coffee table books are created equal and I should maybe give more of them a shot? Sure.

None of this is to suggest that just because someone might decorate their entire living room with coffee table books instead of Steinbeck, Rand, or Fitzgerald means that they aren't well read. Nor would I suggest that just because I decide to display my favorite novels instead of picture-heavy man-hole covers means that I'm well-read. I don't care about being well-read. I don’t care if others think I’m well-read. I just care about reading a great story; a story so compelling that I want the cathartic emotion I felt upon finishing it to be instantly re-transferred to me by a single glance in the direction of its spine.

Here’s the difference in my humble opinion: the inclination when presented with a book is to read it cover to cover, whereas the inclination when presented with a coffee table book is to browse through it.

If I'm honest with myself, however, I'm NOT going to flip through a coffee table book daily (or even weekly). Why? Because I have more compelling things to read. Nor am I going to lay it open to a different page daily like The Book of Kells. They'll sit there like stylish sentinels, fashionably (and unemotionally) guarding my car keys in their abutting bowl.

Also, I have to confess, the one and only time I attempted to actually READ a coffee table book from cover to cover (because how can I display a book I haven't read?) didn't go well. The book featured Edith Head, who, as any film buff will tell you, was one of the most famous costume designers in all cinema. All information aside, the book itself was remarkably ill laid out. I even found some spelling errors. I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

This is why I promote styling my rooms with my favorite novels – new and old.

I'd much rather have my room strewn with familiar friends than cold, sterile acquaintances that I can't care enough about to get to know better. That's how books present themselves to me. Some I know well. Some I couldn't get to know because of where I was in my life at the time. Some I have to keep in my life and in perpetual close proximity because I can't bear to tear them from my side. I need to know that I can pick them up whenever I want and feel their familiarity. Like any steadfast companion, I need them nearby.

With all that said, I'd like to present my kind of coffee and console table styling; the realistic kind of decorating. The kind of decorating that allows the memory to travel to many worlds while never leaving one room.

[This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid to promote any product in this post.]