In the world of interior design, console tables are on fire right now, finding their way into our homes’ spaces in new and surprising ways.
I totally get this passion for consoles. Wood pieces add much-needed weight and structure to a roomscape. And consoles are perfect if you want a table that delivers maximum visual impact using a minimal amount of space.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use console tables.
▪ Under a TV: Flat-screen TVs are so wonderful to work with when designing a room. Unlike days of old, when we had big, bulky units to work around, today’s streamlined TVs can fit in small spaces with no fuss. Most of the console tables we sell are used under a TV, with the TV either mounted on the wall above it like artwork or perched on its top. That’s how I use my console in my lake cottage.
While the top of the table needs to be pretty clear to not obstruct the view of the TV, take advantage of the space below for a display or storage.
▪ Under artwork: I’m over the moon about the big, bold, modern artwork that’s so popular right now. Striking art wakes up a wall and makes a huge statement in the room. A perfect spot for a large painting — or any artwork, from a mirror to a grid of photos to a pair of botanicals — is over a lovely console. The table won’t compete with the art but will visually ground it.
▪ Behind a sofa: A great way to visually divide a larger living room into more intimate conversation areas is to slide a console table behind a sofa. One of our favorite tricks is to scoot a bench or two small ottomans under the table, to use in a snap when you need extra seating. When not in use, the furniture fills in the empty space below the table, making the space seem cozier.
▪ Fill an empty space: If your home boosts big, open rooms with tall walls and lofty ceilings, you’re probably looking for ways to make the space feel a bit more intimate. Console tables are your ace in the hole. Slide one in front of a large bank of windows. They are small enough they won’t obstruct the view, yet offer space for storage or decorating.
▪ In an entryway: Entryways can be hard to decorate. What do you put in the space that makes it seem welcoming, yet won’t gobble up too much room? You guessed it: a console table. Slide a console against the wall near the door, top it with fabulous art or a mirror, a lamp and maybe even a tray to hold your keys and purse when you walk in the door.
▪ In a hallway: Console tables are also great in hallways, where you want a bit of visual appeal to break up those long, boring walls, but don’t have room for a big piece of furniture.
▪ In the kitchen: My cousin Anne just renovated the kitchen in her fixer-upper. Instead of putting in banks of built-in cabinets, she opted to use a console table to store her china. She filled the shelf below with dishes and storage baskets. The space above can be used to serve meals, like a buffet, or as a spot to decorate.
▪ In the dining room: If a hutch or buffet just doesn’t work in your dining space, try a console table instead. It uses a lot less space, but still adds lots of pizzazz to the room.
▪ In a home office: All of us need extra storage in our offices. Consoles to the rescue! The lower shelves are a great home for your printer, baskets filled with files, books — you name it. The top? Decorate at will.
Mary Carol Garrity owns Nell Hill’s, a home goods boutique in The Village at Briarcliff in the Northland.