How to style your console table to achieve a minimal look
What is a console table?
From the Latin verb consolor, meaning “with relief, mitigation, alleviation”, a console table is a multi-functional piece of furniture usually placed against a wall. Console tables are closely related to pier tables, which were designed to make use of the wall space (or pier) between arches in buildings dating from Ancient Greek and Roman times. Later, pier tables were placed in the spaces between windows in the interiors of palaces and country houses.
True to their name, console tables serve to lighten the load of an interior, practically and/or visually; by providing a surface upon which to keep practical household items and to act as a display for treasured or sentimental objects. Console tables are often overlooked and can be a versatile addition to any domestic space, and have played a surprisingly interesting role in the history of furniture and design.
What defines a minimalistic interior?
Minimalistic interiors are characterised by strong, clean lines, and a neutral, muted colour palette. This type of design has its roots in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when designers of the Modernist and International styles stripped interiors of excessive decoration, leaving only the essential functional components and their materials to provide visual interest.
These rigid rules have been relaxed as the style has been practiced by people of various generations and cultures. This cycle of interpretation and reinterpretation has resulted in different offshoots of those original styles, including, but not limited to, Scandinavian or ‘Scandi’ interiors (modernism reimagined by Nordic designers) and pared back Industrial style interiors.
Minimalistic interiors can be warm or cool toned, as dictated by the use of lighting, textures, and colour palette, however the intrinsic goal of the minimalistic interior is to create an atmosphere of calm and serenity for the user. Contrary to the concept of minimalism, wherein ‘less is more’ when it comes to possessions as a whole, minimalist interiors don’t necessarily mean you need to have less, but rather encourage being more selective in what you have on display. This is the beauty of the minimalistic interior: it provides a sleek and stylish backdrop for your existing possessions.
Where can I place my console table?
Originally, these tables were exclusively long, narrow, and tall, as a result of them being designed purely in order to slot between arches, pillars and large windows. However, the silhouette for console tables is now widely varied, from rectangular to round, narrow to wide, and large to small. Likewise, console tables have migrated away from strictly being placed alongside a wall in a reception room; they are just as useful in an entryway or hallway, living room, or dining room.
They are extremely versatile and can be used as a side table, foyer table, or display table, depending on their placement. They can also be placed depending on their materiality and style; our New York console table might help bring structure to a living room full of soft furnishings due to its angular silhouette and metal materiality (think Piet Mondrian’s paintings). Conversely, the Gustavia console table might be best placed in a hallway due to its extra drawer space for storage and its light, bright colours and materials which would help elevate a part of the home that gets less natural light.
How can I style my console table?
Styling a console table begins with the style and materials of the table itself. Our Parquet table is of darker wood with gold detailing and an inlaid parquet pattern on the top (hence the name!), so may suit carrying fewer pieces to allow the craftsmanship of the table itself to shine through. It’s easy to imagine the Parquet in a formal dining room carrying a series of treasured photographs and an ornate vase, whereas a more utilitarian piece like the Trenton console table may have a more practical use in a foyer to hold keys, post, and other daily necessities to give a warm welcome at the front door.
The styling of the console should be harmonious and clutter should be avoided, regardless of the style or intended use. Grouping elements or single objects at either end will create a sense of symmetry, whereas placing tall items such as flowers on one end and low items such as books at the other will evoke a sense of dynamism. The design trick of odd numbers can certainly be put into play here; grouping 3 or 5 elements at each end or centrally will help to create a congruent display.