How to Style a Sideboard or Console Table

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Console tables and sideboards are such incredibly versatile pieces of furniture. In fact, the age old question of “what should I do with this blank wall?” can normally be answered with a bit of stylish storage and some art and accessories – and this is where these pieces really come into their own. The beauty of them is that they come in so many different styles, they can be made to truly fit any interior style. So whether you are going for a vintage or traditional piece or something more contemporary, what you put on that console table or sideboard says a lot about what your style is all about.

The beauty of a console (normally a piece with tall legs and little or no storage) or a sideboard (if they have storage incorporated into them and have shorter legs) is that they are an opportunity to share a micro collection of your personal aesthetic – the story of YOU.  Whether you want to show off a collection of your grandmother’s vases or you want to plonk down a television on top of it, the space is there to interpret however you please.  Utilise this bit of extra surface space to share what you’re all about and what you love.

eclectic symmetrical display

There are generally three different ways to style a long slim surface like this. You can either create a symmetrical display or an asymmetrical display.

Symmetrical displays are normally a little more formal and perfect for a room where an elegance and formality may be desired – a dining room is a great place to create a symmetrical display with either large lamps that flank each side or similarly large objects like vases or tall plants that are twinned on each end. Your brain understands and interprets symmetry very quickly which means it’s easy on the eye and there is an innate sense of calm that is conveyed immediately.

traditional symmetrical display

With an asymmetrical display, there is more interest and more energy created.  As such, it will contribute to a more casual approach in your decor.  Think about how your own style is conveyed and how it could be reflected in the objects you choose to display.

My personal preference is an asymmetrical and eclectic display but I have used symmetrical vignettes in my home as well where it suited the space.  As long as you feel comfortable with your own sense of style and what works best in your own home, there really are no hard and fast rules here.

asymmetrical mid century sideboard

However, something you may wish to keep in mind is that whether you have a symmetrical or an asymmetrical display, the accessories you are using and the height and scale of the objects on your table play an important role in the final look.  Create height by stacking a few books and place objects or plants of various sizes on top, use tall vases and table lamps and collections of photographs or decorative objects to style your console or sideboard.

asymmetrical eclectic sideboard

When we vary the heights of the objects on the table and hang any art above, your eye has an interesting line to follow and this variation of height allows it to take in every piece on display.  Without that variation in height or scale, the collection of objects will read quite flat as your eye will simply stagnate along the straight line created.

asymmetrical eclectic console display

You also want to ensure that you layer objects – a single stream of objects all lined up like little soldiers will again appear uninteresting and boring so consider using artwork propped up against the wall, larger or wider objects at the back and smaller items layered in front of it to vary the depth of the accessories.

And finally, don’t forget to consider varying your textures – rough with smooth, glossy with matt, natural fibres and metals – all of these variations create interest and layers in any display.

asymmetrical contemporary sideboard

I hope my tips today have been helpful and you feel ready to take on a satisfying styling challenge!

Don’t forget to check out our amazing range of table lamps in both traditional as well as contemporary styles to finish off your console or sideboard perfectly. We also have a fantastic selection of wall lights that will create ambiance in whatever room your sideboard or console table is styled.

Image sources: Francois Halard for Vogue / Charming in Charlotte / Amber Interiors / Lauren Nelson for Rue Magazine / Waiting on Martha / Architectural Digest

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