A thoughtfully styled console sets a welcoming tone – an expert reveals how to create arrangements with impact.
FRANCES Cosway, design director at White Pebble Interiors, provides some easy styling tips for the hallway console so you can create head-turning displays.
Your hallway table is often the first thing people see when they enter your home, so it’s worth taking the time to style it with care. A beautifully styled console sets the scene and creates a lovely, welcoming ambience.
What are some elements to include in your arrangement?
Some of my favourites include:
A tray for grouping pieces together such as candles, trinkets and small photo frames.
Greenery or flowers. I can’t pass up foliage in a statement vase or a great, oversized bunch of flowers. A collection of things from the garden is always a nice touch.
A trio of books stacked on their side can create impact. Choose books with nice spines and stack from largest to smallest.
How can I style them like a pro?
Group like items, such as vessels or photo frames, together. Or create a mixed group consisting of, for example, a frame, vase and candle.
Use odd numbers when creating clusters.
I prefer to have asymmetrical arrangements on consoles. It creates visual interest and allows you to add in different elements over time. Saying that, it is certainly possible to achieve a well-decorated console using symmetry.
With an asymmetrical set-up, aim to have taller items at one end of the console and shorter items at the other. This could take the form of one large photo frame or a tall candle at one end of the console, and a group of three or five smaller photo frames or candles (or a combination of the two) at the other end.
Do you have any rules of thumb?
Varying the heights of the items on your console is critical. If everything is at the same height, all sense of balance is gone.
A painting or mirror should be hung at eye height.
Artworks and mirrors should never extend past the ends of the console. Try to keep them at about 75 per cent of the table’s width as a rule.
Round or oval-shaped mirrors or artworks work particularly well as they break up the rectangular lines of the console.
Layering the items on your console can work well. For example, if you have a mirror and a lovely tall plant, it’s fine to overlap the plant and the mirror. But it does depend on the length of the console – on a very long console with plenty of space, it can be best to avoid layering items.
How should I decorate the area above the console?
This is a really important spot and finishes off the look of your hallway arrangement. You could decorate the wall with a textured wallpaper that acts as a background for the decorative items on the console.
Or hang a painting or mirror above the console. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be centred. For an interesting and dynamic aesthetic, create height at one end with a lamp and then place the mirror or artwork at the other end of the console.
How important is lighting?
Very. Decorative lighting – either in the form of a table lamp or a pendant light over the console (hung to one side, not centred), is a great addition. It not only creates lovely mood lighting when you step inside the home, but it provide functional light when people are coming and going.
Any tips on colour?
When selecting colour for your console display, consider the console and its surrounds as a whole. The colours you choose should look intentional and make sense within the overall scheme.
It’s best to choose no more than one or two colours for your console arrangement, and then use tone variations in the pieces you select to add interest.
What should I do about all the practical bits and bobs such as keys and mail?
A console needs to serve a practical purpose too, providing a space for everyday essentials such as keys and sunglasses. To give them a proper home – and prevent them from cluttering up your console display – it’s best to choose a console with at least two drawers. This will give you plenty of space for both storage and display.