Halcyon Days x Matilda Goad: How to Curate the Perfect Coffee Table

We turned to interior design guru Matilda Goad and Mayfair antique emporium Halcyon Days for a lesson in dressing our homes, specifically our coffee tables. From pretty trinket boxes to brightly coloured ashtrays to gigantic tomes, here's how to curate a stylish centrepiece.

Established in 1950, Halcyon Days began as a small emporium of antique gifts in Mayfair, London. The art of enamelling on copper almost completely died out by the 1830s, but Halcyon Days set about reviving the craft - and thus their renowned enamel box was born. Today, the brand is one of only 14 companies in the world to hold all three Royal Warrants as suppliers of Objets d'Art. From pretty trinket boxes to brightly coloured ashtrays, we couldn't think of anything better to put on our coffee table.

To help us create the perfect pairings, we teamed up London-based creative Matilda Goad who focuses on producing stimulating visual spaces. With an eye for detail and quest for the unusual she delivers her unique aesthetic to events, interiors, restaurants, stores and windows. Her line of decorative objects sold exclusively through her website are designed to elevate the home with minimum upheaval.

Here, Matilda gives us her top tips on curating a beautifully unique tabletop using iconic Halcyon Days products alongside curios both old and new.

Describe your style.

I lean towards traditional designs but I love the juxtaposition of throwing more modern colours and objects into the mix. I never want anything to feel too stuffy or "done".

Where do we begin when creating our coffee table? Should we have a vision?

In a way, I think coffee tables are an explosion of one's mind. Mine often boasts new samples that I'm playing with alongside sentimental objects that I want to be around. I like the idea that a coffee table is ever-evolving.

Are there any rules for choosing the table itself? What do surfaces do objects tend to look best on?

I'm always drawn to interesting, tactile materials but do bear in mind that the table is going to be dressed up with different colours and objects, so treat it as a blank canvas to a certain extent.

What kind of objects should we look out for?

I think you want your personality to shine through and it should be fun. I always bring back pieces from holidays that have happy memories, put out books out that inspire me and fill my granny's vases with seasonal flowers. You can afford to be a little bolder than you would with other decor as the objects can always be moved or changed.

Where are your favourite places to find objects?

Car boot sales, flea markets, holidays... Always research the place you're travelling to before you visit to see what's in the local area. For me, the dustier and more off the beaten track the finds are, the more exciting and special.

Where should we trawl for tabletop treasures in London?

Halcyon Days for ashtrays and trinket pots, Venusrox for crystals, Summerill & Bishop for beautiful jewel-coloured tumblers that double up as vases, the Serpentine Gallery bookshop for interesting reads, Golborne Road and the top end of Portobello Market on a Friday for whimsical knick-knacks.

Which are your favourite pieces from Halcyon Days?

I really like the pastel-pink trinket box - the nod to Britannia across Halcyon Days products is quirky; simultaneously traditional and modern. The "Gladys Deacon" by Gill Prestige enamel box - inspired the blue and brown eyes of The Duchess of Marlborough - is also daring and fun.

Are there are rules about mixing old and new?

It's essential to do so to give your display character.

How do we make our coffee look unique? Any tricks?

Layering is key; small pieces need to be grouped together to be read from a distance and it's for this reason that I love trays like the ones at Halcyon Days - bold colours and pretty detailing really make objects jump out. Antique bevelled mirrors are great too; you want unique pieces that are talking points but also serve a purpose, such as glass match holders, ashtrays and trinket pots.

What about lighting?

Varying candles always create a ambience; my own line of ribbed beeswax candles come in colours that really pop.

If you could save one object from a fire what would it be?

My latest find - a malachite ashtray that I picked up at a market in Rome.

What's the one most important thing to remember when designing a space?

It's not a museum.

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