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Roadmap to Styling Your Console Table

Your roadmap to styling a console table

You know the feeling you have when you’re trying to decide what to put on your coffee table, sofa table or mantle and nothing looks quite right? You rearrange things over and over but end up second guessing yourself and it ends up staying either empty or cluttered?

No worries! This is a common dilemma, and one that I am asked about often.

The good news is: with my roadmap, styling is something that can be learned

So in this post, I’m giving you my roadmap to styling a console table, and we’ll talk about other types of tables in future posts. 

Also commonly called sofa tables, console tables are generally long, narrow tables that are placed behind sofas or up against a wall in an entryway, hallway, living or dining room.  

No matter what room your table is in or what style it is, you can use this basic roadmap to style it: 

Choose an anchor piece

Just like you need a focal point in a room, you need one for your table. That focal point is your anchor piece… the piece that your eye is drawn to first and that grounds the entire arrangement. 

For tables placed against a wall, this can be a large piece of art or mirror hung over the table. It can also be a collection of various sized art leaning against the wall or arranged gallery style on the wall.

For a table placed behind a sofa, this could be lamps on each end of the table or a large object in the center.

Add items to balance the table

Balance in design just means that each side of the table has the same visual weight. This can be achieved in one of two ways, symmetrically or asymmetrically. 

What’s the difference? 

Symmetrical balance: Placing objects on your table so that each half of the table is a mirror image of the other half. The same objects are on each side of the table. 

Asymmetrical balance: Placing objects of different size and shape on each half of the table. Even though the objects are different, each half of the table should carry the same visual weight. 

So how do you choose which objects to add? 

Here are my top tips – my roadmap to styling a console table – that will help you decide what items to use: 

  • Use objects with varying heights. This creates more visual interest. 
  • Utilize trays or bowls. These items are decorative, but they are also functional, which is why I love using them generously when I’m designing a space. A tray on an entryway table can collect keys and mail. A large bowl on a sofa table can collect remote controls. 
  • Utilize books. I love love love books! I don’t necessarily use them on every console table, but they are a great addition to consider. 
  • Utilize the space underneath the table. I love using small benches or ottoman that can be tucked underneath and pulled out when needed for extra seating. Think parties and family gatherings!
  • Pay attention to scale. In general, larger objects will look better than smaller ones. So always err on the side of choosing larger…larger vases, bowls, tray, books, etc. Larger items almost always look better than smaller ones.
  • I always prefer using fewer (but larger) items rather than a bunch of smaller items. Using too many can end up looking cluttered.

So there you have it! Following this roadmap can eliminate a lot of the drama we have about “getting it right”.  Remember… there are likely a gazillion ways to style your table that would all look amazing. You just have to find the one that YOU like.

Keep it simple. Don’t make it too hard. You got it. 

Kricia Palmer, MD, ASID | Doctor, life coach & interior designer

I’m Kricia Palmer, and I help women physicians let go of clutter and create beautiful, clutter-resistant homes so they can feel more peace, get more rest and be more focused.

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Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.