After a few milliseconds, the matter is decided: Friend or foe
Our brain quickly sorts into pigeonholes who pleases it or who fails it at first glance. This is rather hasty, especially because it also relies on this method when its owner enters a strange flat. Rustic oak, a love of classics or a modern scandalous look are certainly veritable pieces of information, but they do not tell the story of the occupants. It takes subtlety and a love of detail to get to grips with the accessories. These definitely include coffee-table books, those fascinating illustrated books that are usually carefully sorted, draped or layered on the most expansive sofa tables possible.
I am an avowed opponent of the uncritical English word takeovers, but in this case the German equivalent - coffee table books - really doesn't roll off my tongue. Anyway, you have to know how to read these picture books for adults, and I don't mean the content, but what they call out to the viewers on their stage, the little table: Look, in this house you are interested in the mountains of Asia, the art of Monet or tapestries in Afghanistan. This is a great way to present oneself to one's guests as a refined or cosmopolitan person, but it is especially practical for visitors with whom conversation is a little slow. When in doubt, coffee-table books are a great communicator.
The Coffee Table Book as an accessory
There are said to be people who choose their displayed collection, like the sofa cushions, to match the season's accent colour; this winter, berry tones were the order of the day, and for wise forward planning: digital lavender has been proclaimed the colour of the year for 2023, so you could start stalking pale lilac becovered specimens. On a valuable base, such as wood, glass or marble, the books do what the Italians so nicely describe as fare bella figura - cut a fine figure. Sometimes, however, visitors are almost afraid to mix up the apparently careful arrangement on the table.
As you can see. Appearances do matter, and when it comes to coffee-table books, we are allowed to be superficial. "A large expensive book with lots of pictures," writes the Collins Dictionary somewhat disparagingly about the books that once lay on side tables in front of the reception desk so that those waiting could leaf through them a bit boredly until they were let in, and adds: "that you look at rather than actually read." Photographers will raise their eyebrows in amusement at this, but as a writer I protest strongly. Texts are the beauty that the mind perceives. And the mind wants to be entertained.
Books are accessories and, as such, roommates that naturally blend into their surroundings as eye-catchers. There are said to be people who regard their interior as a total work of art. Of course, they have long since banished their less impressive paperbacks to the cellar and only allow cover beauties access to their shelves. Hard-core people don't sort them by author, but by the colours of the covers. For deco kings and queens, this is an option they should consider. Small-format books can also be laid out on the coffee table (ouch!). Can look good, but doesn't have to. And there is a very fine line between casual and careless, let me tell you. Interior aficionados know, of course, that sometimes small-scale looks a bit lost, and when it comes to decorating, too: think big.
We can't get around the coffee table book, one way or another. And we don't want to. To ensure that the favourite book doesn't become a colour outsider the next time we change the wallpaper, we could suggest offering the books with different covers in different colour worlds. A style book instead of a style break. It's just an idea.
Website - Silke Pfersdorf
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