No, it's not about how few things we have on our tables!
It is about making our tables a real pleasure to look at and finding the number (approximately - let's not get fixated on the numbers!) of items that feels right to each of us.
I am temperamentally inclined towards minimalism, so one beautiful item on my table is enough to lift my spirits, sustain me and satisfy my need for calm.
I can think of past tables covered in children's drawings, homework, musical instruments, craft projects, packed lunches, newspapers, leftovers to be nibbled at - there is clutter and there is clutter! Life is for living and tables are for using after all. I once ran a business from my kitchen table.
A friend always has a little stack of the latest books by her favourite authors on her table, another, an excellent cook, has recipe books and shopping lists spread out. An artist friend has more objects per square inch than anyone I know, but each group is a potential still life painting.
(In the name of research I looked up tablescapes on Pinterest. Aaaaaaaaargh. Too much stuff! I lasted about 15 seconds.) I think of Kaffe Fassett-like tables, little collections on side tables, folding tables or nests of tables that are never folded or nested, stools that act as tables, tables that act as stools. I have four tables in the garden....
Then there are bedside tables. If you need lots of things by your bed do you have a table with a drawer? Wouldn't it be lovely if the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes in the morning delighted you? A posy, a card, a photograph - done in a moment.
Timetables, times tables, periodic tables, bird tables....