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How to style a console table


November 2015

Photography courtesy of Thibaut
Fine Furniture

Console tables are among the most versatile pieces of furniture in a home. Because they are shallow, they are great for spaces like a foyer. A console table in your home’s entryway welcomes guests and adds personality and function to your front hall.


Asymmetrical styling is more challenging and usually more casual. The most important component of an asymmetrical design is to be sure you balance the size and scale of all tabletop pieces since you will not be using matching items. For example, put a lamp at one end of the table. At the other end, place a vase, an arrangement of candlesticks or other decorative accessories of similar size and scale to the lamp. Between the end pieces and at varying heights, stack books horizontally, add a catch-all tray for keys and mail, lean a mirror or display accessories.

Photography courtesy of West Elm


Symmetrical designs repeat and balance items on the left and right sides of the table top, typically with a large piece between them. For example, place matching lamps or planters or install sconces at either end of the table. In the middle, hang or lean a mirror at a different height than the end pieces. The mirror pulls double duty by reflecting the light as well as giving you a quick way to check your hair on the way out the door. Fill in the rest of the table top with framed photos, accessories, artwork or collections. Typically, symmetrical arrangements are found in more formal or traditional interiors.

For both symmetrical and asymmetrical layouts, the negative space under the console is a great place for benches or a stool to sit on to remove boots and shoes, show a piece of art or keep a large basket to store household items. Vary the heights of objects and use an odd number of pieces on the table top as well as under it. Experiment with what looks best and provides the most function — it might take a few tries to get it right. You may want to change the look of the table with the seasons or holidays.


This story ran in the November 2015 issue of: