OK...now, take a look at this bedside tableau...how does it "read" to you?
The bedside table, on the other hand, seems to belong to a real-life person (albeit, one who seriously straightened up for the photo shoot) - There's a cool piece of art, maybe picked up at some random artisan show, a live plant that actually requires watering, and a retro alarm clock, because most of us have to get up in the morning.
Keepin' it Real is about taking your time to build the design of your home - collecting interesting items over the course of travels, occasions, treasure hunts - and resisting the urge to have a perfectly "done" room. As much as I want to fill up barren walls, I'd much rather pick up unique pieces of art here and there than rely on IKEA* for instant gratification.
For me, "realness" also has to do with the choice between trendy items I'm currently craving versus more classic looks that are less likely to be on the "out" list six months from now... Case in point: my TV room redo coffee table decision....
I'm crazy about those lucite tables, and can even somewhat justify having one, as I'm already using a lot of pattern (lucite wouldn't add more bulk and color), and the "invisible line" would be pleasing in the rather small room BUT these things are everywhere - even mainstream catalogs like CB2 carry them! By the time something can be mass-produced for PB, Ballard, or Tar-jay - you know the "look" has peaked - and who wants to be on the back side of a trend? ;)
All those are the finalists...Because there's no way this charmer could end up at my APO box ! But it never hurts to wish loftfully, right? Chinese tole tray table - 1stdibs
**Not in any way bashing Kirkland's or IKEA - great finds to be had at both - just don't go there to buy EVERYTHING!