Console Tables & How To Style Them

CT HERO

Need something for that empty wall space in your entrance, living space or hallway? A console table creates the perfect stage for unique vignettes.

 C - Soundslike HOME Tea Party Metal C - Dover Mason Bradley Console C - Citron Life Odyssey Hallway Table C - Iniko Mayer Walnut Console Table
From L to R: Soundslike HOME Tea Party Metal Channel Console Table, Dover Mason Bradley Console, Citron Life Odyssey Hallway Table, and Iniko Mayer Walnut Console Table, available online at Zanui.

Introducing the humble console table. This versatile furniture piece is the Philip Seymour Hoffman* of tables. It’s famed for playing the ultimate supporting role. It provides the platform for realising untapped potential in your home.

Console tables impart style to entryways and halls, dining, lounge and bedrooms, even your home office. Plus they introduce levels so you can maximise under-utilised spaces. There are a plethora of distinctive designs to match your aesthetic.

*Bless his cotton socks; bright stars burn out.CL - Cafe Lighting Costiera Console Table
Cafe Lighting Costiera Console Table, available online at Zanui.

In architectural terms, a console is an ornamented bracket that supports a shelf or table. By extension, a console table is a tabletop affixed to your wall using said decorative supports. However language is a delicious and fluid thing, and so the term has evolved since its inception circa 1807(!) to represent all tables designed to stand against a wall.

CL - Loft Furniture Gavel Console Table
Loft Furniture Gavel Console Table, available online at Zanui.

Early examples from the 1800s feature cabriole or curved decorative legs. (We do love a little history for context!) These days most are stand-alone. Modern or classically inspired in style, they sport 4 legs. Which means that no hard-core hardware skills are required for installation. (Praise be!)

CL - Sadie Gloss Aqua Z
Zanui Sadie Gloss Aqua Console Table, available online at Zanui.

Often slender in width, these tables are a natural choice for narrow spaces. They accent your space without over-crowding it. Their physical frame creates three distinct areas: the wall/ceiling space above the table, the table’s surface itself and the space beneath the table. We’re looking at how you can use these 3 zones to create your own unique look.

C - Citron Life Karen Antique Oak Hall Table C - Soundslike HOME Loft 2 Drawer Console Table C - Globe West Flinders Console Table C - Soundslike HOME Vintage Console Table
From L to R: Citron Life Karen Antique Oak Hall Table, Soundslike HOME Loft 2 Drawer Console Table, GlobeWest Flinders Console, and Soundslike HOME Vintage Console Table, available online at Zanui.

Let’s start with defining the right style for your space…

CL - Globe West Flinders Console Table
GlobeWest Flinders Console, available online at Zanui.

WHAT STYLE CONSOLE TABLE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

These surfaces can serve as purely decorative – say in a hallway – or fulfil a functional need – providing a space to house essentials like keys, mail and stationery just inside your door. Think about how you will use this piece of furniture – this will dictate its style.

CL - Globe West Elle Brass Cube Console Table
GlobeWest Elle Brass Cube Console Table, available online at Zanui.

For instance, do you need a table with drawers for enclosed storage? How wide is your space? If it’s narrow, you’ll want a slender piece to match. Fine lined designs in metal and wood encroach less on your overall look. Heavy wooded options add strength and gravity…

Are you looking to create a point of interest in a small nook in your home? Perhaps a small one would work best. Top it with just one signature décor accent: a vase of flowers, an ornate lamp, a bowl of decadently coloured fruit. This makes a statement in smaller spaces.

C - Globe West Elle Brass Cube Console Table C - Olsen Console Table Z C - Swann Imports Jebel Glass Console Table C - Cafe Lighting Valencia Console Table
From L to R: GlobeWest Elle Brass Cube Console Table, Zanui Olsen Console Table, Swann Imports Jebel Glass Console Table, and Cafe Lighting Valencia Console Table, available online at Zanui.

STYLE YOUR CONSOLE TABLE

The key to making this space work is balancing your objects with your unused space. Too many trinkets creates a cluttered look; too few, a sense of austere restraint. That’s just you? Go for it! But balance is never a bad thing. (So they say.)

CL - Globe West Elle Cross Console Table CL - via decorpaddotcom
From L to R: GlobeWest Elle Cross Black Console Table styled asymmetrically and a more formal balanced styling (image sourced from decorpad.com).

Balanced vs. Asymmetrical

More formal rooms will benefit from a balanced display. Place a statement décor accent in the middle (say an oversized floral arrangement) and flank it with two matching table lamps or hurricane lamps at either end of your table. Statement pieces give your aesthetic size. Simple yet sophisticated.

CL - via theinspiredroomdotnetC - via roomsinteriordesigndotblogspotdotcom
Images sourced L to R: theinspiredroom.net and roomsinteriordesign.blogspot.com.

For a more relaxed effect, opt for an asymmetrical collection of décor accents. There is an art to the unaffected vignette – you know the kind of casual yet uber-chic collections displayed on coffee or side table in the pages of the glossy mags.

Embrace the odd for idiosyncratic style – work with an odd number of objects and unusual combinations: old with new, glossy with distressed, large with diminutive, used matchboxes from your travels displayed in svelte vases.

Evocative is the name of the show. Read more about the art of the vignette here.

CL - via popswatchdotcomCL - Globe West Aspen Console Table 2
From L to R: a clean-lined ensemble that uses different levels in its styling (image sourced swatchpop.com) and simple but chic styling starring the GlobeWest Aspen Console Table, available online at Zanui.

What will work on my console table?

Anything. Well almost anything. Remember you’re working in 3D, so shape + size is important. Assemble your possible pieces and play! Think about how each piece relates to the others.

Consider fresh natives or faux flowers + ferns, trinkets, decorative boxes, vases, framed photographs, lamps, bowls of fruit, candles… It’s open season. Reframe what we consider decorative and create unique collections. Be bold, like Man Ray. Okay – maybe not quite that bold.

CL - Sadie Gloss Aqua 2 Z
Zanui Sadie Gloss Aqua Console Table, available online at Zanui.

Triangular arrangements are visually intriguing. Table lamps add height to your clustered accents as well as contributing to the mood of your space with their ambient lighting.

CL - Globe West Aspen Console Table
GlobeWest Aspen Console Table, available online at Zanui.

MAKE THE MOST OF THE SPACE ABOVE YOUR CONSOLE TABLE

This space works really well for displaying decorative mirrors and wall art or a gallery wall of personal photographs. Consider a pendant light or chandelier set off to one side.

CL - via centsationalgirldotcom
Exploit the space below your console table for chic + stylish storage. Image sourced: centsationalgirl.com.

DON’T NEGLECT THE SPACE BENEATH YOUR CONSOLE TABLE

This is the perfect spot for baskets and stylish storage options. Jute and cane baskets + boxes add rustic sophistication and allow you to hide away shoes, toys, and other sundry items for a cleaner aesthetic.

Experiment. Enjoy yourself. Style is a journey – not a destination.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.