Published on October 27, 2020

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Photography by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Last week actor Shay Mitchell answered an age-old question on Instagram: Exactly how do you style a coffee table? With the help of Chad Wood, owner of freshly debuted Good Wood Vintage, Mitchell explored three distinct styles in an IGTV video: minimal, eclectic, and statement. If clutter makes your heart race, the first style is for you, highlighting  just a few special pieces, whereas the eclectic design is all about the personal, displaying a bunch of objects that make you smile. However, it’s the third statement look that offers a recommendation we hadn’t heard of before: a swoop of palm tree seeds. 

 

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Wood explains that cutting palm tree branches before they’re fully matured results in grape-like pods fanning from a single, delicate stem with a succulent-esque appearance. The unsung hero of coffee-table centerpieces brings a hint of the tropical to Mitchell’s otherwise refined space, especially when casually draped over the surface rather than arranged in a vase. 

If you can’t find palm tree seed pods at your local plant shop, worry not—there are plenty of other unusual greenery choices you can opt for. Sculptural branches are available at most stores, offering a unique shape while removing worries of wilting blooms. If you’re looking for something more intricate, take a page out of Terrain’s book and use the unusual ingredient in its floral installation—barnacles!—as natural sculpture. Move over, coffee-table books. 

Our Fall Style issue has arrived! Subscribe now to get an exclusive first look at Ayesha Curry’s Bay Area home—and discover how design can shape our world.

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