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Friday, February 26, 2010

Console Yourself

Nothing makes our hearts all aflutter like seeing an artfully arranged vignette on a console table. A console table doesn't have to serve a purpose- it can just look pretty and purely decorative- so it's a perfect place to have a little fun. A good vignette is a perfect balance of two components- polished glamor mixed with "oh, I just threw any old thing on there" effortless. Achieving this mix, of course, is harder than one might think. We'll confess to being a bit stumped before when trying to figure out the best way to style a console table.

To help demystify the process, we've selected a few striking examples and want to point out a few key elements that make each vignette really sing.

Element #1- Height 
Simply put, you must have height. You must draw the eye upwards to make things flow. One way to do this is by adding a lamp; we are also partial to a floral component of some kind that helps give a slightly deconstructed effect and makes everything less stuffy. The cherry blossoms in the two photos below are a perfect example.


Without the cherry blossoms, sure this room would be great, but a bit prim. The scattered, imperfect branches are really the perfect finishing touch here. Bonus points for the haphazardly displayed clam shell on the floor!

House Beautiful

Element #2- A Striking Backdrop
A stunning, ornate mirror or an eye catching piece of artwork adds such a lovely embellishment to an console table. You can go a bit over the top here and get away with it, as the gilt mirror below shows. Of course, we love the symmetry of the lamps and the bamboo chairs that help to bring the focus to the mirror. And another giant clam shell- are we noticing a trend here?

Domino via Semigloss Chic

This cheerful yellow artwork contrasts so nicely with the peacock blue lamp. And to add height, Lindsey Harper has made the lamp even taller by putting it on a stack of books. Oh, and do we see a hand-turned-jewelry-holder similar to the one for sale in the MoS Store? By the way, that cat is totally wondering when the photographer is going home so that he can start chewing on those flowers!

Lindsey Harper

Element #4- A Pop of Color
It sounds simple, but you need a jolt of color to get the eye excited. The table below would be infinitely less exciting without those gorgeous green boxes on the right, don't you think? And of course, see the photo above for another great use of color.

Canadian House & Home

Element #5- A Mix of Textures
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to add a fabulous wallpaper like the one pictured here, but if you are so fortunate, keep in mind that you can then keep it a bit simple when it comes to arranging a tabletop. The sleek, thin console table might not make a huge statement on its own, but blends perfectly with the rest of the room without competing with anything else. The lamp looks fabulous when contrasted against the wallpaper, doesn't it? And don't forget the fresh flowers! You don't always need a million things on a table to get the arrangement to pop.

Lindsey Harper via Porterhouse Designs

Element #5- Books
The lamp in this photo is not my favorite, but I do like how this picture shows how you can utilize books to add a layer of depth to an arrangement. They don't have to match- it's probably better if they don't- but they add so much character to the photo below.


Element #6- Unique Objects
You know how you see unique, slightly bizarre objects at flea markets or antique shops and think "that's cool, but what the heck would I do with it?" Well, a console table or chest is a perfect place to showcase a slightly off the wall accent object, or a little collection of items. We love this campy little bust below, but the pretty seashells and orchid keep things on the straight and narrow.



Chic Coles said...

Great post. So helpful.Have a great weekend

Mrs. Bogarde said...

Your posts are always fabulous! I am going to enhance my little console nooks today :)

Elizabeth said...

Lovely post!

FWIW, the 'campy little bust' is actually a phrenology guide. Phrenology is the interpretation of someone's personality based on bumps on their head. It was popular during the Victorian times, I believe. Anyway, I can tell you all this because I have the same bust on my mantle at home. :)

The Matters of Style Girls said...

Thanks for the info about the bust Elizabeth!! I knew it had some medical or historic origins but must confess I was in a rush last night and didn't get a chance to look it up! It's such a cool piece!

Anonymous said...

Fab post today! I swear, it reads like it's written by some world famous Interior Designer. Wonderful ideas- great style!
Going to try and print it for future reference.
thanks, thanks

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