If you’ve ever looked at an empty space in your home and thought ‘there’s something missing’, the answer could be a console table. One of the most versatile pieces of furniture in the home, the humble console not only provides valuable extra surface space but also acts as a stage on which you can showcase everything and anything: from treasured trinkets brought back from travels overseas, to vases full of colourful flowers, to a collection of family photographs, the console is a blank canvas for you to interpret as you please.
A console table can be purely decorative - a vignette sprinkled with clues divulging your tastes and character to guests - or it can take a more functional role if it includes drawers or a shelf. Where you place your console table in your house will largely dictate its purpose; for example, a console placed in a dining room will probably be used to house readily accessible tableware, whereas one in a hallway will most likely be used for display.
However, it’s equally important to consider not only what you display on your console table, but also how you arrange it. Balanced, asymmetric, solo or grouped – we look at some popular configurations: which one do you prefer? Read on for our top tips on how to style a console table.
When styling a console, most people tend to favour a balanced layout - it’s more pleasing to the eye and, despite its formal appearance, offers a sense of calm. Most symmetrical console table arrangements feature identical sized pieces at either end (such as a pair of lamps) with a focal feature in the centre. We think this type of arrangement offers maximum impact with very little effort.
To prevent your arrangement from looking too ‘samey’, vary the heights of your chosen objects and introduce trinkets from different eras. Think slick metallic picture frames paired with vintage vases. This breaks up the visual monotony, allowing the eye to travel easily from piece to piece.
The generously scaled Upton Console Table is the perfect surface for sporting a balanced arrangement. Solid and unobtrusive, this console table could work in a kitchen, hallway or sitting room.
Just because a console layout is classed as ‘asymmetric’, it doesn’t mean it should be messy or cluttered. In fact, probably more thought is given to its unbalanced layout than when designing a symmetrical one!
More often than not, there will be logic to the positioning of the pieces on an asymmetric console - with their shape, size and colour all being taken into consideration – but the end result will be nonchalant.
Effective asymmetric layouts are often anchored by a large object at one end, with successive pieces decreasing in height, towards the opposite end. If you feel that your asymmetric console table is looking too cluttered, select two same-coloured objects to place at either end of the table. This will help your eye travel from left to right.
Transforming your console table into a modern bar is one way to create an asymmetric arrangement; however, this change also serves a purpose. The adaptable Pompidou Console Table is the life and soul of the living room and can be used to showcase an array of cocktail glasses, shakers and drinks.
Keep your console simple by highlighting just one decorative piece, such as a feature vase of a large faux flower arrangement. Strategically placed lighting, mirrors or complementary pieces of art, either above or beside your console, can also help to focus attention on your display.
A gentle word of warning: others may see a minimally styled console as an inviting space for keys, loose change and other stray bits, so one with drawers might be a more practical option here, to ensure that the top remains clutter-free.
The Half-Burlington Console Table is a neat addition to a small space, acting as the perfect stage for a special vase or sculpture. It could be placed in the hallway, making an excellent entrance table.
For a more eclectic arrangement, why not use your console to showcase a collection of decorative pieces? This is a clever way to draw attention to pieces that might lose their impact when dotted around the home. Consider grouping together pieces from the same category (photo frames for example) or perhaps accessories that are completely unrelated but have one thing in common, such as the same colour or finish.
Avoid displaying these pieces in a single straight line; this kind of arrangement calls for a bit of creativity, so play with positioning to create depth, which will make your display much more interesting for the onlooker.
A twist on traditional console table styling, the addition of fresh flowers is an effortless way to embellish your interiors. Sat to one side, or right in the middle - you can’t go wrong with letting a floral arrangement take pride of place on your console table.
Faux blooms ensure that you can keep your favourite flowers all year round, or have the flexibility to change them seasonally if you wish. Why not choose a bunch to reflect the colour scheme embodied throughout your home or pick a unique selection to add a pop of colour to your console table?
You could even match your chosen vase and floral arrangement with your console table. A rustic country arrangement would look beautiful twinned with a wooden console; on the other hand, a glass vase - paired with pure white flowers - would complement a modern minimalist scheme.
If you need a few ideas, take a peek at Willow Crossley’s exclusive range for OKA. Floral stylist Willow has designed a cornucopia of colourful bouquets that look as if they could be plucked from a country garden.
Remember, what works for one room might not suit another, so experiment with different layouts for your console table until you’re satisfied with the arrangement.
To find the right console table for every room in your home, shop our range of console tables.