February 19th, 2021
Console Tables are a versatile, stylish and functional addition to any room of the home, both serving as an effective storage solution and a place to showcase your favourite collectables. Consoles were primarily decorative pieces reserved for grand manors and palaces, but are now a piece that fits into any decor style, prioritising both form & function. Console tables are often found in entryways and foyers but are equally at home in a living room, bedroom, patio or dining room.
Due to the versatility of console tables in the home today, the term 'console' typically describes any table that features a visually open design with minimal built-in storage and long legs. Standard console tables are usually an average height of 80cm (ranging from 75-85cm high), and you will often find them positioned against a wall, within a small nook or underneath a windowsill. It is important to always measure the width, depth and height of your space to guarantee your console looks intentional and curated, not cramped or too tall for the space.
Console Styling Formula:
1. Identify your Decor Style and Colour Palette // + 2. Select your Console Table // + 3. Pick an Anchor Piece
// 4. Choose a Light Source // + 5. Accessorise // + 6. Personalise to your Needs
For inspiration, we are sharing 3 of our favourite ways to style a console table, in the entryway, living room and dining area so you can learn how you can create a variety of looks throughout the seasons that are balanced, timeless and inviting. At the end of the article we show you how you can incorporate our 5 essential styling tips when decorating any surface.
Styling Tip #1: Identify your Décor style / Colour Palette:
We recommend exploring our Style Library for step-by-step styling tips for a range of decor styles or take our
Interior Style Personality Quiz if you are still discovering your unique style.
Styling Tip #2: Select your Console Table
Decide on the material, size and storage capacity.
The material you select should compliment the décor style you are working with, for example, a stripped pine or rustic antique console suits a Relaxed Country style, whereas a marbled or ornately carved console is better suited for Parisian style decor.
Next, select a storage option that caters to your needs and prioritises function and organisation.
Hidden storage may include built-in drawers or lidded baskets, chests and benches that can be placed underneath the console to hide away seasonal items or knick-knacks. Open storage includes tiered and open-shelving and typically serves to display additional decor.
Measure the space you are placing the console in.
Open plan spaces, such as a large open foyer can be anchored with the inclusion of a round table placed in the centre as a transitional piece. If you opt for a round table instead of a traditional console, make sure the table and decor you select doesn't have a 'front' and 'back', instead, they need to have a visual presence from every angle.
Entryway consoles typically come in a larger range of shapes and sizes, such as rectangular, round and half moon.
When choosing an anchor piece for your console, select a large mirror to help reflect light for a spacious feel. In smaller spaces, keep the look neutral so the eye can be drawn to your selected accent piece. Include a small tray or dish to store the mail & keys.
Tips for Entryway Consoles:
When styling your entryway, prioritise functionality and organisation. For extra storage add in woven baskets, storage ottomans, chests or trunks underneath.
Areas with an abundance of blank wall space favour long rectangular consoles, which can be framed with additional pieces such as a coat rack, tall plant, umbrella holder, shoe tray, catchall or an accent piece such as a chair, ottoman, pedestal or small bench.
Smaller spaces favour half-moon, low or narrow consoles to help maximise the wall space.
Image Source: Suzie Anderson Home
Entryway Key Items:
Centre Mirrors or Art as the key element.
Frame your accent pieces with wall sconces or table lamps. If you have a ceiling pendant or chandelier, position your console to centre the light source to achieve symmetry.
Lustre: a tall glass vase, mirrored trinket box, glossy ceramics, photo frame or candle.
Living: fresh unstructured floral arrangement, potted plant, dried foliage or fresh greenery.
Loved: stacked coffee table books, a large ceramic vessel or ginger jar, sculptural pieces, room spray/diffuser, baskets or pretty trays.
Styling Tip #3: Choose an Anchor Piece:
Anchor pieces include a mounted wall mirror, sculpture, artwork or window. If your console is against a wall, make sure your artwork or mirror is mounted at eye-level and less than the width of your console to prevent your design from looking top heavy. If your console is situated below a small niche, your anchor piece should fill no more than two-thirds of the space, to keep some breathing room.
Image Source: Suzie Anderson Home
Living room consoles give your space an instant refresh and a platform for showcasing different looks throughout the seasons. Behind-the-sofa consoles function as a transitional piece, whereas wall consoles can fill the outer edges of a room, frame a windowsill or fireplace.
Utilise the console to store additional seating underneath, or a pair of baskets to store firewood or throws in the cooler months. Adding a decorative tray allows you to fill up the space and group decor together in a curated way.
Tips for Behind-the-Sofa Consoles:
When selecting a behind-the-sofa console, make sure the console is at-least 2.54cm (1 inch) lower than the back frame of your sofa. Most sofas range from 76-91 cm high, so if your sofa is 85cm high, you will want to select a console that is no higher than 82 cm high. Following this general measurement rule ensures the console acts as stylish anchor and transitional piece for an open-plan living room.
Modern sofas tend to sit quite low, in which case a low bench or ottoman may be a better alternative for your space. Another difference is that you have no wall anchor, so adding lamps on either side creates visual interest and functions as an extra light source. If you don’t have power points to allow lamp lighting on your console behind the sofa, incorporate a large hurricane vase with pillar candle for illumination.
AGAINST A WINDOW
AGAINST A WALL
LIVING ROOM KEY ITEMS
If against a wall, opt for a large mirror or piece of art. If against a window or behind-the-sofa, incorporate a large sculptural piece or artwork on a table easel.
Place a lamp or pair of table lamps on either side of the console or a hurricane if power is not available.
Lustre: vases, trinket boxes, pewter or mirrored trays, photo frames, tea-light holders and candles.
Living: fresh foliage or a floral arrangement or placed underneath in a planter basket.
Loved: items from your travels, family heirlooms, seasonal or festive items, natural found objects such as coral, pinecones, shells and driftwood, stacked coffee table books, ginger jars, artwork, storage baskets & pretty trays.
Both wall sconces and table lamps illuminate the space whilst adding visual interest and height to your design. Ambient lighting in the form of a ceiling pendant or chandelier brings an element of charm and character whilst anchoring the space. Lastly, set the mood with candles to create an inviting atmosphere and elevating your space with a signature scent.
When accessorising, balancing form & function is key. To create a coherent look, layering complimentary and contrasting materials, textures, shapes, sizes, colours and heights is essential. For example, woods create warmth, whereas a gloss or sheen brings an element of glam. If you are lacking textural materials, adding in a woven floor rug brings a textural element whilst indicating a subtle visual boundary.
If you have currently have a separate dining space, a long slim console can provide practical storage solution and functions as a stylish alternative to a display cabinet.
A dining room console can also function as an entertaining space to display your glassware collection, bar accessories, decanters, working cocktail area or share-plate and condiment station for a more relaxed dining experience.
Image Source: Suzie Anderson Home
Image Source: Leilah
Mount a large piece of artwork above the console to bring life, visual richness and interest to your dining space.
The console table can also be used to provide additional lighting, with a pair of lamps or candelabras.
Lustre: vases, pewter serving trays, glassware, decanters & carafes, tea-light holders, display boxes and candles.
Living: floral arrangement or cut foliage from the garden to relax the space and compliment the artwork.
Loved: Items from your barware collection, culinary and cocktail books, fine china, ceramics, rattan trays, linens and decorative objects.
Styling Tip #6: Personalise to your Needs
If you want to create a versatile look that can be changed throughout the seasons and holidays there are a few styling guidelines that can ensure you maintain a streamlined look.
To keep your consoles energised, look to seasonal events and add decorative accents suited to the time of the year. Experiment with different textures that reflect the current season. For example, in Winter you can layer a faux fur or chunky knitted wool throw in storage baskets underneath to bring warmth. In summer, substitute for light-weight linen or cotton throws.
Foliage and flowers can change to reflect the season.
Seasonal decorative accessories such as a nest & eggs for Easter, Christmas wreaths and curated decorations add a welcoming entrance.
Change the scent of your fragrant candles and diffusers depending on the season. Opt for spicier, woodier scents in the cooler months and fresher floral or citrus scents in the warmer Summer months.
Use an eye-catching lighting fixture to elevate the room & make it the focal point.
Lighting changes how we see a space and how we feel when we are in that space.
There are 4 main lighting styles; Accent Lighting, Ambient Lighting, Task Lighting and Mood Lighting. Use accent lights such as wall sconces to frame an artwork, mirror or mantlepiece. Ambient lighting is fundamental to a properly lit room and provides the overall illumination through lighting fixtures such as Ceiling Pendants and Chandeliers.
Task Lighting brightens areas where routine tasks are performed and makes a nice addition to the ambient lighting throughout your home. Task lighting includes adjustable floor or table lamps. Lastly, Mood Lighting is where you can get creative with pretty candleholders, hurricane lamps or decorative lights that function both as decorative objects and provide soft illumination.
Lustre is often what makes a design truly shine... adding a subtle bit of glam through a reflective mirror, shimmer or pewter can bring a sense of glamour and charm that would otherwise be missed. Lustre and lighting often work in sync, as lustre is the state or
quality of shining by reflecting light.
Adding something with lustre adds a beautiful contrast to any organic fibres you may use. You can do this by including items with a reflective surface, such as crystal, glassware, mirrors or pewter to lift the space and stop it from looking flat.
Green, Living & Lush... Plants, Foliage and Flowers can simultaneously soften and elevate a space. Create a fresh, tropical look with some Palm Leaves, a more refined look with White Orchids or Roses, an Industrial look with a Fiddle Leaf Fig and bring a pop of colour with some lemons, limes or oranges in a ceramic bowl.
The key when styling decorative accessories is to not over do it, and one way to do this is to select a large accent piece to frame one side of the console, then work your way into the middle with smaller decorative items, stacked books and trays to group together some of your most loved pieces. Grouping your accessories together in a curated way allows you to work within a smaller space so you can create interesting and eye-catching vignette's. You can achieve this by positioning complimentary items in varying depths, shapes and sizes, such as a luxury candle or fragrance in front of a tall vase and pewter photo frame.
Layering different shapes, sizes and textures creates visual richness.
The Rule of Three:
Experiment grouping together 3 items to create visual interest as your eye can travel from one item to the next. This might include a book, a bowl and a sculpture or a candle, vase and picture frame.
Add in an assortment of small, medium, large or low, medium and high pieces. Always start with the largest piece first & work your way around it.
Positioning a tall, dominant piece on one side adds verticality, whereas a smaller, wide object creates dimension. Our favourite way to create height is with stacked books and vases.
Create an asymmetrical look by placing larger, taller items on one side, working down to smaller, shorter and wider items on the opposite side.
Place flowers in a large vessels or a pair of lamps on either side of your console to frame the space, and smaller filler items in the centre, such as stacked books, candles, sculptural pieces and trays.
Varying Textures & Colours:
Layer different textures throughout the look such as something glossy alongside something matte or something with organic, natural fibres next to something smooth and ceramic. If you are working with a console table is dark, balance it out with some lighter decorative pieces & living greenery. If the table is light, ground it with some darker accents to ground the space.