How to style a console table is something I compare to styling shelving. The process is very similar, but it’s something that can feel daunting and overwhelming without the right structure.
Before we get stuck in, the greatest piece of advice I can give is always start with may more than you need to complete the styling. Plus, don’t expect to have the console table styled in the first go, part of the process and the fun is styling it, taking a step back, swapping out items and repeating until you’re happy. ALL designers still do this, it’s part of the creative process.
But, like anything, there are ways to create the perfect structure for a console table that will make the styling and sourcing decor accessories part so much easier to create something that looks like a pro did it. Ready to get stuck in?
I show you 13 practical ideas and tips for how to style a console table as well as showing you my own console table transformation from a budget Facebook marketplace find.
My Console Table Transformation – £10 Facebook Marketplace Find
Interiors are expensive, but I am always here to show you that you can still get that designer look on a budget.
Console tables are notoriously expensive, depending on the size. If you want a large proportion one for a hallway or bedroom you are looking at anything upward from £150.
Size is important. If you don’t get the proportions right in a hallway, a small console table will look inadequate, but don’t let price dictate the size.
As you’ll have seen from our Victorian house renovation, there was no way our narrow hallway would ever be able to house a console table. But one in our bedroom would become a focal piece.
I knew exactly what I wanted, a large scale, chunky Farmhouse style console table that was black. I found the below console table for £10 on Facebook marketplace, it needed a lot of love but it had serious potential!
The unit looked grotty, but it was easy to transform on a budget. This is what I did…
- Sanded the unit back and cleaned
- Painted the entire unit black, it needed two coats
- Removed the existing handles and replaced with polished brass scallop cup handles
That was it! It took about a day to complete and it has given it a whole new lease of life to this console table on a budget, this is what it looks like now…
So, a stunning console table suddenly seems super achievable, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the best ways to style a console table.
How To Style A Console Table: 15 Practical Tips & Ideas
1. Start With A Blank Canvas
It sounds obvious, but starting with a blank canvas is the only way you will be able to effectively style a console table.
Take everything off, give it a good dust and take in the proportions of the console table. I’d then recommend having a box ready with all of your styling bits and pieces ready. Now, it’s time to set a structure.
2. Use An Anchor
If you chuck yourself into styling a console table willy nilly with small decor accessories you’ve already set yourself up for failure.
When you’re working with a large scale console table, it’s all about proportion and scale. The best starting point is to use an ‘anchor’, so this is a large item that will lead the design and give it immediate structure. It will also become the main focal point on the table.
Here are some ideas for anchors that you can use;
- A large lamp
- Large piece of artwork
- Large set of candlesticks
- A sculpture
- Large vase with flowers
3. Vary The Height of Objects
As I’ve already touched on, styling a set of shelves follows the same design rules as styling a console table. You should always vary the heights of objects that you place together.
A row of objects the same height creates no depth, visual interest and it can make the setting feel flat.
By varying the height of objects that you introduce, you create greater visual interest and height in the space.
4. Create Balance
Use symmetry or asymmetry to create balance in your display, depending on the look you’re going for.
Scale becomes an integral part of this process too as using items that are all of the same height and size will not create a well balanced display.
Using a mixture of different objects can still create a symmetrical look if that’s what you want, but more importantly it will be well balanced too.
5. Think About The Colour Scheme
Consider the colour of your console table and the items you’re displaying, and use colour to create a cohesive and visually appealing look.
Also pay attention to the colour scheme in the space you’re placing the console table, as you don’t want to start introducing lots of bold colours that you don’t already use.
Draw inspiration from the room, but don’t be afraid to introduce a couple of subtle accents to define the room such as green, black or brass.
6. Add Texture For Depth
Mix and match textures to add depth and interest to your display. For example, try pairing a smooth vase with a rough-hewn wooden box.
If you have open space beneath the console table, a favourite way of mine to dress this area is introducing some rattan baskets or pouffes.
They bring gorgeous texture and a rustic appeal to the setting, yet they’re excellent for hiding everything and anything, or providing a soft and comfortable perch in the hallway!
7. Play With Scale
Just like height plays an important role, using items of varying scale will help to create an interesting and dynamic display.
You’ll typically use a large anchor point like a lamp, but then you won’t want to feature anything else of the same scale was there will be no balance on the console table.
Use a mixture of one large anchor, medium and smaller items too just like this to create that well balanced and cohesive setting.
8. Mix and Match Styles
Combine modern and traditional elements, or mix and match different styles, to create a unique and personalised look.
Transitional style is one of my favourites as it can forge two of your favourite interior design styles in a very natural way.
A common way to do this is by introducing a vintage, antique or family heirloom in amongst your new, modern styling accessories for the console table. It just brings that unique and personal touch to your display.
9. Think About Functionality
How will you be using your console table? Aesthetics always lead the way for me when designing an interior, but it HAS to be functional too for your daily life.
If your console table is by the door it’s likely you’re going to need a place to grab your keys, dog leads and spare change for parking. This can help you understand what things you absolutely need from a functional point of a view.
If you have a drawer in the unit, use this for all those bits and bobs. If you don’t, invest in a gorgeous, ornate dish that can hold keys, and spare cash, functional, yet looks beautiful too.
10. Layer Objects
It’s simple, layering objects on top of each other creates depth and visual interest. When it comes to styling the console table, have a look at what items you have available and what would make sense to use when layering.
For example, you may already have a small stack of two books, you could place a decorative ornament on top to raise the height and visual interest, or some magazines with a ornate dish on to hold keys and other trinkets you need to easily reach for as you leave the house.
A method you can use for books too…
11. Use Books Creatively
Using books other than their intended purpose always creates a divide in the design world, some hate it, I love it.
I always actively encourage layering books in settings like shelving, on console tables and coffee tables. It adds height and visual interest, and larger books can really fill a void like other objects just can’t.
Depending on the size of the books, opt for 2 or 3 or similar sizes in width so they don’t look out of place stacked on top of each other.
12. Incorporate Natural Elements
I personally love the use of natural elements on a console table, it brings an authentic and soft approach to the space and it can be updated seasonally.
If you have used a large vase as an anchor point, play around with adding some faux or real stems, eucalyptus and gypsophilia are a couple of my favourite types of foliage for bringing an organic feel to the table.
13. Edit and Revise
The most important part of how to style a console table effectively. Edit, revise and repeat.
You will never get your console table styled perfectly on the first go, most designers won’t. This creation stage is the fun part.
As I’ve already mentioned, always start with more objects than you need, this helps you edit the styling, see what works well and what doesn’t. Keep stepping back after placing an object to help you curate the perfect look for your console table!
Before You Go…
If you’re looking for ideas to style a console table in a hallway, you might be looking for some further hallway ideas to leave a lasting impression with your guests, head over to this following post for plenty of decor ideas to elevate and add depth to your hallway space…