Turning The Tables

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

Interior designer Louis Henri has a great eye for a table. Here he offers his tips on buying this key piece of furniture.

Louis Henri’s bespoke interiors remind you of the best London hotels. There are echoes of Claridges and the Connaught in the elegant rooms he creates, which have more than a hint of old-fashioned glamour. He has an eye for what works and, in particular, an eye for a table. And when you’re buying your own, there are, he says, certain factors to think about.

The first is shape.

‘You need to think about how you’re going to get around it,’ says Henri. ‘If you’ve got an area that’s a thoroughfare, we’d use something round or kidney shaped – you don’t want to be constantly bumping into sharp edges or knocking your knees on it.’

‘We try to use as many materials as possible. It makes it visually interesting.’

If space is tight, he recommends looking for something with built-in storage. And if you want to make a room feel bigger, pick wisely.

‘By choosing the right coffee table, you can make a room feel twice the size,’ he says. ‘Square or rectangular tables take up lots of space and you can’t see past them. A round table lets you see more of the floor, which gives the impression of a bigger room.’

Going for a material other than wood can help here, too.

‘We like glass tops,’ he says. ‘The reflective surface means it feels quite light. Otherwise dining tables can feel a bit big and chunky. And this look works particularly well if you use big, comfortable chairs for dining chairs.’

Wooden tables can be problematic if you also have wooden floors, as the overall effect can sometimes be too much. The way around this, says Henri, is to have a contrast.

‘Perhaps choose a different wood,’ he says. ‘People often go for walnut walls, walnut joinery and a walnut dining table, and end up with a soulless, showroom feel.’ His advice is to be brave. ‘People are scared to combine surfaces, but you can even put a nickel finish on a pedestal table to break it up,’ he says. ‘We try to use as many materials as possible. It makes it visually interesting. From a distance you can’t see these details, but close up you can. And it’s amazing how much your eyes can cope with in an interior if it’s done well.’

You’ll also need to consider what type of table will work best.

‘I like pedestal tables,’ he says. ‘You could easily have a small pedestal table and fit 6 around it for dinner. They’re so much more flexible than a standard table. There’s one from Julian Chichester we use quite a lot.’

Henri also sources tables at Andrew Martin and Nicholas Haslam. Both are upscale shops with prices to match. But spending a fortune isn’t necessarily a requirement here. Henri recommends always looking at what you’ve already got before shopping for something new.

‘You can always put a new top on it or repaint it,’ he says. ‘Lots of companies sell bases, then you can put your own top on.’

He also recommends being guided by your instincts, rather than what magazines tell you you should want. ‘Get something that you like – not something that you bought because it’s fashionable’, he says. ‘Ultimately – instead of a story about someone else – you want something that tells a story about you’.


Louis Henri – www.louishenri.com

Julian Chichester – www.julianchichester.com

Nicholas Haslam – www.nicholashaslam.com

Andrew Martin – www.andrewmartin.co.uk

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