Before working in interiors I had actually never heard of a console table and, contrary to my initial thoughts, it’s not actually a table that can offer some kind of emotional counselling. Console tables are high, slim tables that are designed to go against a wall, supported by bracket-like legs (or consoles). Not only are they great because you can put them anywhere but they can serve both a decorative and functional purpose while never taking up too much valuable space.
Our first console is simple but extremely stylish; the Garcon Console Table (above) is a two-tiered brass table on a recessed brown vellum base. Two eglomise shelves serve as practical storage space but this table is just as striking as it is. Brass and glass work well with an endless range of colours and materials and so this table would lend a contemporary twist to a huge array of houses. With the simplicity of its design, the Garcon would make a wonderful hall table; top it with a pair of lamps, or flowers and photo frames and keep the bottom shelf for decorative urns or book.
Where the Garςon is simple and striking, our second choice is soft and feminine. The Ludwig Console (above) is a semi-circular ‘distressed’ console with a top made from weathered oak and Gesso and fluted legs that are hand-carved, lending this table a look that is reminiscent of antique French painted furniture. The lower part of the table is finished in a soft grey and would be a beautiful addition to a drawing room or bedroom; the exposed wood grain (unvarnished and unsealed) is what gives the reclaimed wood frame its rustic look and so this is not a table to paint or treat. Use this table with neutral colours and soft furnishings; the unusual shape makes it an attractive piece so it doesn’t need to be topped with endless accoutrements. Place it on an upstairs landing or in a spare bedroom, perhaps in between twin beds with a blue patterned lamp base and simple cream shade.
As with a lot of furniture, there are the simple designs and then there’s something a little more ornate. Above is a wonderfully decorate wrought-iron console which, at almost 200cm long and 100cm high, is neither small nor discreet. The table pictured is finished with a gold-leaf highlight over bronze but other finishes are available, meaning that you can tweak the look of this majestic table to suit your home. The top, in this instance made of marble can also be changed so that you can have a totally one-off piece. The general frame is a classic console but the twig design makes it modern without being whacky; this is a definite hall table or space-filler and needs nothing on it as the intricacy and elegance of the design speaks volumes.
Talking of DIY consoles, several manufacturers offer the option to design your own piece, with frames, finishes and tops that can all be mixed and matched… sort of like a Build-a-Bear for grown-ups. One such manufacturer offers this with their stylish Stag Console Table (above), hand-forged by a blacksmith to create an elegant table with cabriole legs. The style is perfect for a dining room or kitchen and the deer legs add a fun design twist. In order to have something totally personal, there is a choice of frames (below) including yellow gold, black and polished steel with a range of drop-in tops such as cobalt or crimson leather, oak, beech and mahogany so you can really play at being designer and let your creativity run wild.
Console tables are great for rooms that need a little extra something; big hallways that would benefit from an eye-catching piece or an empty drawing room wall that needs a bit of cheering up. Make sure the table you’re going for has the right proportions for the space and that stylistically it’s going to work with its surroundings. Decide on the kind of aesthetic you want to go for before you start looking – a long and narrow console is good as a decorative item whereas two shelf consoles are good for storage and/or display. Don’t feel that you can’t actually use it – the whole point of a console is that is serves whichever purpose it needs to. Whatever you choose, one of these chic narrow tables can add real character to your interior design and once you get started, it’s easy to find excuses to put one in every room.