Published on May 6, 2019
Decorating a console table can be a fun challenge. Learn how you can easily decorate your console table by remembering a few simple tips.
Console tables (or sofa/entry tables) are fun but sometimes challenging to decorate. They are long and narrow, and oftentimes there’s the temptation to fill up all that linear space with stuff.
I recently added a console table under the beautiful mirror I purchased during Black Friday. As I am preparing to style it, I thought I’d share some tips for getting console table decor right every time.
Console Table Decorating Tips
Whatever your reason for adding a console table to your home, there is a way to get a look you’ll love for a long time. Just remember the two most important things in styling: Scale and Placement.
- Scale – your decorative items must fit the scale of the piece of furniture they are on. No wimpy lamps on large console tables or over-sized round mirrors hanging over tiny console tables.
- Placement – chant this in your head every time you are styling anything, “layer, layer, layer”. Group things together, stack things up…don’t just spread everything out because of the length of the table.
Everything else, from the decor pieces you choose to what you hang over the console table, is up to your own interpretation based on your personal style. Here are some things to consider when it comes to decorating your console table:
Purpose Of Your Console Table
- purely decorative,
- a place to drop mail and keys
- a functional piece of furniture in a living space
- will it need to provide light for a space?
When I designed the above reading nook for a client, I knew the console table was also doubling as a side table for her reading chair, so a lamp on that end was a must. This helped steer the direction of the rest of the styling. A properly-scaled lamp is an easy way to complete one whole side of a console table, and it is functional as well.
My new console table will be a place for us to drop keys and mail, hopefully provide a little storage, and hold a nice, big lamp. I can never have enough lamp light. Deciding on the function of your console is essential, as it will determine the styling. Really think through that piece of the process.
Style Of Your Console Table
- Don’t match your decor to the style of your table
- Mix it up
When decorating your console table, it’s best not to determine your accessories based on the style of your console table. Some of the best, most unique and eye-catching console styling I’ve seen has been a combination of different styles.
If you have a clean-lined, ceramic or Lucite console table, warm it up with some gold or wood accents and greenery. On the other hand, if you have a traditional console, such as the wildly popular Everett foyer table, pair it with a more modern mirror and unexpected styling pieces for a collected look.
I love the way Nicole at Eye For Pretty transformed the Everett foyer table by adding light, airy pieces to give it a fresh, modern look rather than a farmhouse or traditional look. This console is so versatile that whatever your style may be, it can work in your space.
What to Hang Over the Console Table
- Interesting over-sized object
- Collection of baskets, hats, etc.
- Mix materials
The subject of what to hang over a console table is one that could go on all day, but a mirror is always a good choice. Depending on location however, your space may be better served with a large piece of art hanging over your console. If you have an interesting object, very large basket, or collection of straw hats or artifacts that you’d like to display, go for it. Just make sure the scale is correct for the table.
Here is an example of a console table with framed art above it. You can really stretch your creative legs on what to hang over this versatile piece of furniture as long as you love the look of whatever is on the wall paired with the table.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have a wooden console table, you should pair it with a metal or gilded mirror. If your console table is metal, white, concrete, or Lucite, warming it up with a wooden or gilded mirror is the way to go. Gilded is good in any situation…it’s timeless. To create visual balance, you need to mix materials.
Lighting For Your Console Table
I am of the belief that you can never have too many lamps, so for me, a console table lamp is a no-brainer, especially if your table is anywhere that could use a little extra comfort lighting. However, I recently designed a master bedroom that called for a console table with no lamp. It was on a long, bare wall in close proximity to the owners’ nightstands, and they preferred not to have another lamp so close. In that case, we went with an over-sized vase filled with tall branches.
Here is an example of a console table without a lamp, and it pretty much only serves the purpose of being a beautiful welcome to guests. The two sconces flanking that gorgeous gilded mirror provide the light needed for this space, so the console is freed up to hold beautiful objects and lots of greenery or flowers.
All Console Things Considered
This entryway designed by Studio McGee is the mother lode of console table styling. Drawers and baskets for storage, a bowl for keys and mail, two large lamps for light, and the beauty of a mirror and fresh flowers. It combines all of the elements you need to consider in such a beautiful way.
I recently consulted with a client and came up with the console setup below for an awkward wall she just couldn’t figure out. Metal table, wooden mirror, space for footstools underneath, perfectly-scaled lamp for additional light, large accessories layered in front of mirror. This provided the function she needed as well as the pleasing aesthetic she wanted, and it was all achieved on a modest budget.
Whether you have a healthy budget or are designing on a dime, you can get the look you want when decorating your console table. Simply remember the “Things to Consider” as well as scale and placement.
Use this post as a guide, remember to be confident in your style (refer to this post if you’re not), and decorate with items that bring you and your family joy.