Design Inspo

How To Style a Console Table

It’s time to organize clutter and bring order to your entry. Follow these tips for a console table that’s elegantly styled and entirely personalized.

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You’ve already styled the rest of your living room and are just getting to that collection of everyday items by the front door. Somewhere, buried beneath the mail, keys, and bags, is the console table you initially purchased to help your entryway make a good first impression.

It’s not too late to turn things around! Sweep the clutter off the top and learn how to bring your home’s interior design savvy all the way to the front door by styling your entryway console table.

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What Is a Console Table?

Console tables, first seen in France in the 1700s, were once willowy, two-legged tables attached to the wall with brackets. Their slender nature made them perfect for holding a mirror for a quick makeup application. Over the years, they’ve been the answer for extra serving surfaces, corralling junk (oops), and displaying art.

They’re still slim and designed to fill that empty space between rooms to help our homes function more smoothly and display a bit of personality. However, consoles of today aren’t limited to being a personal display or a useful surface — they can be both at once.

What Can You Use As a Console Table?

Though you can definitely use an elaborately carved French antique as your console table, you’re not limited by any one style. Consoles come in a range of interior design styles and materials, from traditional sideboards to modern lucite, in long rectangular, semi-circular, or totally one-of-a-kind shapes.

Any piece of furniture that is the right height (30 to 36 inches) and width (roughly 12 to 15 inches) for the space can be used as a console, including custom pieces constructed of live edge wood or fashioned around antique bicycle parts. Keep your console dimensions in proportion, especially for small spaces.

Experiment with consoles of different shapes and sizes in Spoak’s room visualization tool so you won’t be surprised by that table sticking halfway out in the hallway. There, you can create mock-ups with real product photos, create floor plans to check the dimensions, and more.

Elements of the Perfect Console Table

There are a few key ingredients to console table styling that’ll make a console table functional while enhancing the overall room design.

Find a Focal Point

Take a cue from console tables of old and hang a mirror above it to draw the eye from the table and up the wall: Bam. Instant focal point. The reflected light and mirror image gives a tight hallway a feeling of spaciousness while letting you check your reflection before heading out the door. Spoiler: You look flawless.

If not a mirror, why not place a piece of art that grabs your guest's attention above the console? Choose a piece that’s not as wide as the console. If you add brass fan sconces on either side of your art, you have an arresting and inviting (dare we say, Instagrammable?) entry.

Consider Radial Balance

Any art directly above the console should fit within the borders of the table. Just as artwork needs to fit over the table, the same goes for lighting. For example, line up your hallway console underneath that glam crystal glam chandelier for an opulent welcome.

Create Balance With Odd Numbers

When choosing your console table decor, never forget the Rule of Threes: grouping items in odd numbers works with your brain to create visual interest. But you don’t have to stop at three as long as you keep it an odd number. Consider this concept in the tips below.

Vary the Height of Your Objects

When remembering your odd number rule, consider varying the height of items you display on your console. Center a tall table lamp grouped with a mid-height vase of flowers and a bronzed dish for car keys. The various heights keep your eye moving around the tabletop.

Vary the Texture of Your Items

Besides looking at different-sized items, it’s wise to vary the texture of your decor. Combine imperfect artisan pottery with sleek modern art decor pieces for a pleasing contrast.

Don’t forget the tabletop itself can add interesting texture, especially if you choose an option made of distressed wood or smooth glass. You may even cover your console with a textile slipcover for a warm, pulled-together look.

Follow Your Color Scheme

Make sure your console’s materials fit in with your home’s color palette. Everything doesn’t have to match to work together. In fact, creating contrast can help your console still life pop. For instance, your streamlined black console is the perfect foil for a large piece of driftwood and a few white paper-wrapped books stacked beneath it.

Gather Together

Though we may be talking a lot about styling and displaying, you want a console that actually serves its intended purpose as a useful table surface. Group things you use regularly (and regularly leave scattered about) together in decorative boxes or woven baskets.

For a long console, you may not only collect items together in groups of three but create three different groupings of items. Just remember to vary height and texture within those groups.

Personalize Your Console

Personalizing your console style is where things get fun. Include items you love or that hold a special meaning for you.

  • Maybe you’ll show off a stack of books that you love or a framed polaroid from the best concert you went to.
  • Create a vignette with a glass jar full of shells you collected from a trip to the shore.
  • Invite guests into your life by displaying the silver candlesticks you were given as a wedding gift.

Add Greenery

If you’re ever in doubt about how to fill a tabletop, you can never go wrong with greenery. It’s an excellent opportunity to personalize your space and connect your family and friends with the nature around you.

Fill a carafe with a DIY flower arrangement from florals from the farmers market. Dry last week's flowers upside down and use them in a few weeks as a dried flower arrangement. Your collections of branches and buds can change from what is readily available as summer turns to autumn to carry your interiors along with the natural rhythm of the seasons.

Vary Your Console Depending on Location

We’ve emphasized consoles as entry tables inside the door of your home, but there are lots of other places that can get a big boost from a small table.

Float a Console Behind Your Sofa

If your space is large enough to place a console behind a sofa floating in a large living room, use another horizontal surface to distinguish your personal style. Ideally, your console should be about an inch lower than the back of the couch for a streamlined look.

Dining Room

If your console is in a dining room, you’ll likely want it to be an extra serving surface, so leave room for impromptu platters.

Any drawers or bottom shelves in your console can be extra linen and serving ware storage. Keep your various china patterns and glassware in mind as you source your dining room console to ensure a soothing color palette.

What Console Styling Are You Dreaming Up?

Styling a console table is a creative and expressive way of taking your home decor up a notch while creating a better-functioning space. Look for more console styling tips within the Spoak community — inspiration is only a click away.

Photo Credit: (Left) Margaret Cuca


Is a Console Table the Piece Your Home is Missing? | Elle Decor

Designers Share How to Style a Console Table | The Spruce

Console Table | Getty Museum

24 Easy DIY Flower Arrangement Ideas | The Spruce

Join Spoak to create your dream console arrangement or for help re-designing your entire home.

Date Posted
April 25, 2023



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