Thanks to their slim proportions and stylish designs, console tables are one of the most versatile furniture pieces of the home. Plus, when beautifully dressed, they become feature pieces of a room, bringing chic style to even the most overlooked spaces. Whether you're wondering how to get the most out of your console table or are in the market for a new one, our in-house Interior Designer Nicole is back offering her top tips and advice on how to use and dress a console table in your home.
How to Style a Console Table
Tables are fundamental in interior design. While side tables, coffee tables and dining tables all have their uses, the console table is a more occasional piece that doesn't always get a look in. However, the console table is one of my favourites, often featuring in my design projects. They provide a balance of storage and style in my client's homes. You can make the most of your console table by styling it into a room in a number of different ways and dressing it to perfection using my tips below.
First things first: What is a console table?
A console table is a wide, narrow table that is ideal for rooms such as entryways and hallways where space is at a minimum. Consoles date back as early as the 17th century where they could be found in France as tabletop slabs supported by wall-mounted brackets. The name console table is believed to derive from the Latin 'consolidare' meaning to strengthen.
"A console table is a wide, narrow table that is ideal for rooms such as entryways and hallways where space is at a minimum."
Where to Put a Console Table
Console tables are commonly used in hallways, landings, living rooms and dining rooms. They can also be used in bedrooms as part of a vanity set if you are short on space as they are often a little narrower than a dressing table.
Styling a Console Table Behind the Sofa
Although they are usually positioned against a wall, console tables also work very well behind a sofa. If you have a large living room, you may have a seating area away from the wall or a sofa with its back to the room. This is an ideal place for a console table as it allows you to add height and interest to your space using home accessories or table lamps if you have floor sockets.
"Console tables work very well behind a sofa... adding height and interest to your space using home accessories or table lamps if you have floor sockets."
Can a console table be higher than a sofa?
Console tables should be roughly the same height or slightly lower than a sofa - but not higher. They should be narrower than the sofa, but not so small as to look not wide enough. Consoles that have a low shelf are a great place to store folded throws and can also help to hide any unsightly cables and plugs under the sofa.
Styling Mirrors above Console Tables
When deciding on a mirror for above your console table, there are several factors to consider. How wide is the wall that it’s against? Is the ceiling very tall or particularly low? Do you have lamps on the console? Is it just one table lamp or a pair?
What Size Mirror over a Console Table?
As a general rule, a mirror should be slightly narrower than a console table. Height is more important as you need to be able to see into the mirror. If the wall is very tall, you might opt for a portrait mirror to fill the wall space better and create a feeling of space in a room.
"As a general rule, a mirror should be slightly narrower than a console table."
It’s also important to think about what you will be displaying on the console table, be it lamps, vases, photo frames or decorative objet. You don’t want to obscure too much of the mirror with lamps or vases. A pair of candlestick lamps or a single wider lamp look great on a small console so that you don’t obscure your mirror. Alternatively, you might opt for a pair of larger lamps on a wide console table to fill the space nicely.
Styling Artwork above Console Tables
hanging pictures above console tables
A console table can help to create the perfect frame for your artwork. As with mirrors, a general rule of thumb is to have your artwork slightly narrower than your console. However, this can also depend on the wall.
If you have a very big wall to fill, ‘oversized’ artwork can make a big impression above a smaller console table. Let the artwork do the talking with a simple composition of vases and candles below on the table top. Alternatively, select one artwork piece to create a feature that draws the eye.
"If you have a very big wall to fill, 'oversized' artwork can make a big impression."
Styling Consoles with Home Accessories
How to Dress a Console Table
When dressing your console table, there are a few different arrangements to choose from. While the choice is yours, there are two tried and tested methods that are always my immediate go-to when dressing a console for my interior clients. It's all about whether the look you wish to create. Are you seeking a carefully balanced console table for a smart, symmetrical look? Or would you like your console table to be dressed in a more casual way to create softness in your home?
Dressing a Console Table for Balanced Look
"To create a balanced look, go for symmetry. For a more relaxed feel, go for an asymmetrical look."
Dressing a console table for a Casual look
For a more relaxed feel, go for an asymmetrical look by placing taller objects to one side of your console table. When selecting objects to place in front of artwork, choose low profile accessories, like a bowl or collection of small vases, so as not to obscure the artwork behind.
Console Table Guide: How to Style a Console Table
When it comes to styling and dressing your console table to perfection, careful consideration of spacing, measurements and placement is key. Use my top tips above for guidance on how to align your artwork, mirrors and decor with your console table to get the very most out of the space and style of your home.
For more interior guidance, get in touch with the Pavilion Broadway Interior Design Team or check out my other blog posts: