These Statement-Making Tables Are Everywhere Right Now
Just like Caprani lamps, travertine tables are making the rounds. They're another mid-century trend dominating many of the most covetable homes featured everywhere from Architectural Digest to the personal Pinterest boards of the stylishly inclined – and the inventories of the best vintage furniture sellers on Instagram.
Like that perfect marble coffee table you've been trying to will into existence for years, these natural stone pieces add grandeur and interest to any room. They also provide the perfect neutral base on which to showcase a spectacular coloured vase or stack of rare books. If you're looking to add a travertine table to your furniture collection, you're in the right place. But first...
What exactly is travertine?
Think of travertine as nature's concrete. It's a kind of natural stone formed by a process of rapid precipitation of carbonate minerals from solution in the ground and at the mouths of geothermally heated hot-springs. It's sometimes referred to as travertine limestone or travertine marble, and while it is a type of limestone it is actually not a marble.
The Romans used it to build the Colosseum and Its popularity endured through to the 20th century – the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Shell-Haus in Berlin were both built using imported Italian travertine.
While historically it's been used mostly for facades, wall cladding and flooring, travertine became wildly popular in the mid to late 20th century in furniture making and home décor, and due to the undying obsession with the interior style of yesteryear, travertine is now seeing a resurgence in popularity in the form of statement-making tables.
Why do travertine tables make such a statement?
Travertine adds instant texture to a room. It's unexpected and interesting, and yet it functions as a true neutral – it really does go with everything. Beyond its colour and texture, the sheer weight of a travertine table evokes a kind of purposefulness to your interior style. If one were to extrapolate the choosing of a travertine table into a statement about a person's character, you might say that the heaviness of stone furniture says you're serious and confident, while its natural aesthetic and earthy colouring says you're soulful and emotionally intelligent.
Where can you buy your own travertine table?
Expect to pay up to five figures for a genuine 20th-century travertine antique – 1stdibs usually have a good selection. Then there's your local vintage furniture sellers, many of whom are, thankfully, active on Instagram. And if your budget and/or available floor space won't allow for a spectacular statement-making travertine table, consider something smaller like bookends, or a lamp, or a decorative ash tray. You can also use a plinth as your bedroom nightstand or living room side table. And if you find two plinths? Place a sheet of tempered glass on top and you've got yourself a coffee table.
Our number one go-to for statement-making natural stone furniture, however, is En Gold, the Melbourne-based business founded by Steffanie Ball. Her home is filled with inspiration for anyone wanting to incorporate natural stone furniture into their own, and her range of thoughtfully designed tables and home objects not only includes travertine but also onyx, marble, granite and other natural stones. Mix and match your natural stone pieces for added texture and depth. Wall to wall neutral is done – make your neutral travertine pop with an accent of colour, or some tonal pink and beige.
What to keep in mind:
A softer, more porous version of this natural stone is called tufa – you can find furniture made from tufa at a lower price but it will be more prone to damage and stains. Like marble, travertine is softer than other stones common in architecture and home décor (e.g. granite and quartz), so be careful with that second glass of red wine. Also, as you can imagine, stone is kind of heavy, so be careful when rearranging the furniture – phone a friend or employ someone strong to do the job safely.