I promised myself (and you!) that this year I'd bring more of what I'm passionate about to the blog in the form of original content. Well, it's time! This new series is just one of a few that I'm excited to start around here centered around the love of my life: STYLING. (Don't tell my husband!)
We're calling this one 'Tools of the Trade' because each blog post in this series will feature an essential 'tool' that every stylist should have in their arsenal when it comes to building out instagram-worthy vignettes around the house. And of course we'll also show you how versatile these tools are by demonstrating how we use them! Also, before I lose you in this long post, I'd just want to mention that we would love feedback on these new series as we launch them! If you love them, hate them, have topics you want covered, whatever! Feel free to leave comments!
Now first up: how to style with pedestals!
Before we dive into the styling part, I have to tell you why we love pedestals so much, and I can sum it up in one word: HEIGHT. When you're putting together a vignette there is a very good possibility that a lot of the items will end up being a similar height, and that makes for a very flat and boring moment. (You'll get used to me calling these moments - it's the word I use most to describe vignettes!) Having pedestals or cake stands in your tool kit is just one of a few super effective ways to add varying heights and bring movement to the scene! And if you find some as cool as these wood ones, then it's even more fun to use them. Ok - on with the styling lesson!
STYLING A CONSOLE:
When I start styling any area, the first thing I do is clear it completely, then add just the essentials. In this case, it was the two pedestals and the lamp that I knew I'd want to feature on the table.
If you're styling for a client, then you know what the purpose of the vignette is because you're probably focusing on a single product or theme. If you're styling for yourself, then it's up to you to decide! Is it's purely for beauty sake? Do you need this vignette to include something specifically? Here, I decided that the pedestals would be used to show of a little rock & crystal collection! I could have also used them to feature plants, pottery, etc. but this seemed like a fun use for them.
Next, I start building the 'story'. I decided that I loved the blue from that one rock and brought in books that complimented the color scheme. This when we get to the good part! As you can see, there is still a lot of space to fill out here, so I went hunting through my house for a few more essentials. I wanted a plant to bring in more fresh energy, a piece of art to fill in the wall space, and maybe one more element for height since the lamp is so tall! Here's what I ended up with...
After playing around with all the elements, I decided that putting one of the pedestals on the stack of books was a nice way to separate the two, rather than keep them right next to each other. I also liked featuring the blue rock since it became an essential part of the color scheme here, rather than the black and yellow one that I had on the stand before.
The succulent is the perfect addition of greenery here because it doesn't overwhelm the small gems and stones. Anything to big or leafy would have taken center stage.
And then, of course, there's the candlesticks! When I posted an instagram of these so many of you asked about them. I'm actually working on getting some to sell in the shop, but until then, you can find them here!
The final test of any styling moment is to step away and see how your eye flows through the space. Is there one thing it gets stuck on? Can you clearly see all the elements and do they make sense together? My style is a bit more pared down than some - I like each piece to be seen and have its moment, but if you're a super layered up kinda person, maybe you'd add a mudcloth runner under all the pieces, or build up more of an art wall. I like leaving room for spaces to grow, so this is what I'd call finished!
STYLING A DINING TABLE OR KITCHEN ISLAND:
On to lesson two: Always think of ways to use your tools creatively. So, with this vignette, I was actually going to shoot it on our kitchen island, but it was so dark the day that we shot, I thought I'd do the breakfast nook instead, and it totally works here.
I wanted to bring some height to this table because it's fairly small and when you put a huge bowl of fruit or a big plant or something on it, it immediately feels overwhelmed. But these pedestals help take items off the surface a bit more so that there is the illusion of more space! Secondly, if you have a bowl of fruit, a candle, and some other stuff clustered together on a kitchen island, it can all feel a little jumbled. The pedestals give you the opportunity to give each item its own focus! You'll see what a mean in just a moment.
So, back to thinking creatively about how to use items. Here, the pedestals become sort of secondary because we top them with bowls! I am obsessed with this shallow marble bowl from Williams-Sonoma and the way it looks on top of the wood! To not get too matchy, but create a similar look, I found this terazzo style dish at Target that perfectly suited the smaller pedestal.
So I had my essentials (the pedestal and bowls) and I decided to build my color story around the mountain of tangerines. I pulled some linens (Rebecca Atwood!), vases, candles, and small tabletop items like salt & pepper shakers to see how it might all come together.
Now, obviously, there's styling for a photo and there's styling for real life, and in real life I don't just leave my table linens laying around. But here, I wanted to bring in some more color, so I left them in the shot! I eliminated one of the vases, opting for this beautiful tiny one, and after much playing around, decided on the placement of everything!
Here's how I ended up here: You always want to work in threes, and with only two pedestals, I needed a third strong element on the table to round them out. Plus, height wise, it made sense to have one more plate or something on that surface level. So I decided that rather than use the small dish on the second pedestal, I'd use it on the table itself! And from a practical standpoint, I like having a candle on a surface like this, where the matches can live with it and it's safe from overheating anything under it. The salt & pepper cellars and napkins help round things out and add context to the moment.
True story - this is how I'm using these pedestals in my home as we speak. In fact I'm sitting at that table as I type this! So if you're sitting there reading this like "yeah, but does your home actually look like this?" the answer is YEP.
STYLING A SHELF:
Ok guys, I know this post is getting long, but bear with me! You should be a pro at this by now, so here we go! SHELFIE TIME! This is one of the spaces I get asked about most, so I'm sure we'll be doing a lot more series on shelves and how to style them, but this one will be a quickie.
Again - start with the bare essentials and determine your focus. For me, these shelves are where I like to show off my little pottery collection, so I wanted to include those items plus a couple pieces of smaller artwork (ahem, HEIGHT!). Here, the pedestals were a bit more secondary and maybe not something you would normally think of putting on a bookshelf, but that makes them all the more interesting (and challenging!) to use here. I also love how the wood breaks up the ceramics but still feels really organic.
You know the next step - build the story! Now, when I say that I sometimes mean a literal story (maybe it's a collection of items from travels, or a barware moment or something), and sometimes I mean a color story. In this case, it's purely about color. The pottery I have is all black, white, green and blue, so I pulled books that brought more of those colors in! The artwork obviously helps with that too!
So I had the elements and wasn't sure how I was going to use them because normally I like to stack books rather than have them standing, but then.... I had a genius idea. Remember what I said about using items creatively? Voila. The pedestals become bookends.
Balance is key in styling shelves. I placed the art exactly where I wanted it to go and built everything else around it because those are two major focal points. You never want to line things up (like art right above art or books right above books), but rather stagger them. Since I knew I wanted the books in there, I had to use the other two ends of the shelf for those so they'd have the wall to lean on. After that, it's just a matter of deciding where the rest of the items go!
I broke up the vases where I thought they made the most sense visually - see how the blacks are all balanced too? With strong colors, you really have to pay attention to that! Again, this is maybe a bit more minimalist than some would like, but a good start to build on! I'd probably add a tiny plant to the space - something that could trail down the side of the shelf - but other than that I like this how it is!
And of course we couldn't leave you without some resources for trying this at home! Cake stands are the easiest items to search for this purpose, but any type of footed bowl, pedestal, or interesting object will do!
1. grey glass cake stands | 2. beck serving pedestal in wood and brass | 3. marble & wood cake stand | 4. areaware pedestal set in wood | 5. betti cake stand in marble and brass | 6. french marble fruit bowl | 7. sass pedestals | 8. all wood pedestal from McGee & Co. | 9. dauville cake stand with gold top