Make the Most of a Console Table

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Lately console tables have been commanding my attention. Most often seen in entryways, they provide the perfect spot to set the tone for your home — and add style you can enjoy the second you walk in the door. Of course we also love their functionality; they can add light, provide storage, and ensure you’ll always know where your keys are. Let’s take a look at how you can arrange these tables to create welcoming spaces.

Transitional Entry by Rachel Reider Interiors

Rachel Reider Interiors

Pair with a mirror. A mirror with an interesting frame adds style and gives you a great spot to check your face before you dash out the door.

Living Room by Brian Watford Interiors

Brian Watford Interiors

Use symmetry. Symmetry always adds balance to a space, especially with a long console table like this one.

Traditional Entry by Rachel Reider Interiors

Rachel Reider Interiors

Flank the table with chairs. It’s a great solution for where to put those extra chairs you only use when your dining room table has the leaf in, and it’s the perfect spot for doing that Mr. Rogers thing with your shoes when you walk in the door.

Entry by Brian Watford Interiors

Brian Watford Interiors

Use the space underneath. Use the space under the table for a sculpture, interesting basket or stack of books.

Contemporary Living Room by Benning Design Construction

Benning Design Construction

This particular design really plays with proportion. On paper, I wouldn’t think this oversized sculpture would work with this slender table, but it does work. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Contemporary Entry by Glenn Gissler Design

Glenn Gissler Design

The space underneath can often hold stools and ottomans.

Midcentury Entry by Amy Lau Design

Amy Lau Design

Don’t feel stuck inside the traditional console-table box. A cabinet or chest or drawers can also fit the bill.

Side note: This is a lesson in excellent interior photography. Mirrors can be tricky, but all this one reflects in this shot is a painting that adds to the scene. I also like the way it’s composed with the light fixture cut off at the top of the image and the rug cut off on the bottom corner.

Eclectic Entry by Adeeni Design Group

Adeeni Design Group

This cabinet, used in the spirit of the console table, sets the tone for the rest of the house, letting visitors know that there are a lot of exotic touches to see here.

Contemporary Entry by Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.

Anchor the ends with a pair of table lamps. This will add light to the space and give you a jumping-off point for adding other items.

Contemporary Entry by Michelle Hinckley

Michelle Hinckley

Create a landing zone. This table has drawers on top and baskets underneath for throwing those “in and out the door” items like your keys, wallet, mail and shoes.

Contemporary Hall by Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Don’t despair if you have a narrow hallway. Even a tight space can handle a shallow table. This setup turns what could have been a humdrum hallway into a glamorous space.

Contemporary Living Room by Amy Lau Design

Amy Lau Design

Go beyond the foyer. Don’t have an actual entryway? (Don’t feel bad, I don’t either.) You can still use the console strategy along a wall in a living room. It also translates nicely to the way you might set up the top of a sideboard or buffet in your dining room.

Transitional Living Room by Rupal Mamtani

Rupal Mamtani

Add height with objects. The heights of the mirror and the tall hurricanes draw the eye up from this lower cabinet.

Traditional Hall by LDa Architecture & Interiors

LDa Architecture & Interiors

Punch up a wall. This Chinoiserie table adds color and personality to this eclectic hallway. It’s also functional; the lamp provides reading light to the windowseat next to it.

Contemporary Living Room by Erika Lam

Erika Lam

Ground a piece of art. As seen in many of the photos here, a console table is a great way to give a work of art a base, so it’s not just lost on a sea of drywall.

Southwestern Entry Southwestern Entry

Use material to tie things together. A primitive table mixes with a carved sculpture, intricately carved mirror and exotic embellished boxes — all tied together by a common material.

Asian Living Room by Sylvia Martin

Sylvia Martin

Let a table with exotic style inspire your collection. There is a wide variety of items all around this intricate Asian table, from a palm tree to gorgeous paintings; a Buddha to a golden horse. Somehow it all works.

Traditional Hall by Elizabeth Dinkel

Elizabeth Dinkel

Use a piece with more depth in a vast foyer. This Parisian-style desk can stand up to the large scale of this entryway.

Contemporary Living Room by Elad Gonen

Elad Gonen

Flank a console with sconces. This adds symmetry and lights up the space.

Traditional Family Room by Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

Imitate the tablescapes you see around Houzz! When I asked this designer about arranging objects on a console she gave me some good advice: “The easiest way is to group things in threes, and I also create visual triangles and balance.” — Cristi Holcombe

Learn more styling secrets from interior designers and decorators

Next: See more photos of consoles in interior design

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