Alyssa Rosenheck

Leanne Ford’s Relaxed Work Style

More than just a simple piece of furniture, a coffee table often acts as a highlight reel — The New Southern’s NEW version of the mantel. It is meant to tell a story, to be loved and lived in with visual consistency and appeal, rather than being topped with prized possessions that you don’t touch. It’s a spot to showcase new loves, old treasures, and sentimental ornaments… It’s also where we will go with family and friends to catch up, set down drinks, and relax. The charming vignette that we display gives us an opportunity to welcome guests not only into our homes but into our lives.

As the foundation to a space that is meant for gathering, I feel that it is essential to decorate with this in mind. Styling can be deeply personal and because of that I carry an intrinsic interest in focusing on what matters most to my client and their homeowner clients. While southern design is traditionally known for its rules and strict adherence to the past, The New Southern highlights creative differences within the south and all across the country. The top of a coffee table can be filled with a variety of visual elements that all work together as personal renderings. This is our chance to transform traditional concepts of design in our own fresh NEW way. There are no rules here and we can take a deep breath in and a big exhale out as we toss out all of the guidelines and start implementing personal moments and what I like to call “proof of life”.

My secret sauce to a flawless coffee table is in every piece of the jigsaw puzzle. It is the whole and all of its parts. There are no bounds in The New Southern’s world of design and coffee tables truly capture this message. Whether it may be my own home or that of a client’s, here are my coffee table must-haves! Xx


This is the focal point of the table and something that I cannot do without. I suggest choosing your anchor based on ceiling height and the shape of your table. You can go with a low anchor that has a lot of surface area or a high one with a bit less. Think short hydrangeas in a short bowl or a tall vase with airy branches! In the above image, I used a low profile bowl with a lip to support casual layered tulips. 


If you want that jigsaw puzzle to come together you’re going to need to play around with pieces of all shapes and sizes in order for them to fit. Get creative and add some dimension. Staying true to The New Southern, I always seek to mix the old with the new. Maybe consider a super contemporary bowl alongside a more boxy, vintage find. 


This can be anything from an open book, a necklace, or sentimental piece. Lately, I have been loving layering with large wooden necklaces and mixing family heirlooms like an antique tray or modern bowl. Styling with an open book is one tip in particular that truly speaks to me. Choose a page that holds meaning or showcases a sentiment of value for you. It’s a soulful moment that will give those entering your home a glimpse into who you are.


Incorporating personal elements and pulling organic moments are key when it comes to styling coffee tables. I love greenery of all kinds! Pears and fruits are a fun way to add texture and are especially great during the holiday season.