Our best side table styling ideas to help you decorate like a designer

Simple and versatile, slimline side tables are one of the quiet heroes of home decor. Here’s how to successfully style one in your home


These side table styling ideas will help you decorate like a designer

The slim and stylish console table is one of those trusty items of furniture that can make themselves useful all over the house. These low-profile tables are designed to live against a wall but their uses are really only limited by your imagination. Whether creating a first impression for guests in an entranceway, housing car keys, sunglasses and phones in a hallway, or standing discreetly behind a couch, a console should suit the style of your home and work for your family (see page 20 for a few options). Here are our tips for styling a really beautiful and useful console.


There are no strict rules on what should and shouldn’t go on top of a console, but the most important thing to remember is to avoid clutter. Think about mixing items of different heights and textures (mix matte and glossy objects for best effect) to create interest and don’t be afraid to leave empty space. Grouping collections of items together and placing them on a tray or atop a pile of books always looks great, too.



To anchor a console table in its surroundings, consider adding either a decorative mirror or a piece of art. This item should be proportionate to the space and the size of the console table.

  • Mirror Console tables and mirrors are a common pairing as together they create a handy area for final touch-ups before you head out the door. Depending on the style you choose, a mirror can be hung or leaned against the wall, and ideally it should coordinate with your console through its colour or style.
  • Artwork Art can unify and liven up an entranceway and can also be used as a starting point for the scheme in this area, so select wisely and think about the overall effect you want to create. The chosen artwork should tie in with the colour or design of your console.

Add a rug

If you have wooden floors in your hallway, a rug or runner looks great just in front of the console. Make sure it’s not too small as the result may look unbalanced. Also, never place a rug under the console – keep a narrow space between the two.


A table lamp on top of a console adds another light source, creating an extra layer of ambience. We are also seeing a lot more feature pendant lights over consoles (as shown opposite) which can look great in the right setting.



With indoor plants very much in vogue at the moment, a potted plant or vase arrangement is a great addition to a console. If space allows, a larger plant placed next to the console is another way to add life and freshness.

Storage and extras 

Many console tables have built-in drawers and shelves for items that tend to create clutter such as mail, pens and shoes. If your console doesn’t have extra capacity, there are ways to make it more functional:

  • Bowl or tray A lot of console tables are used as dumping zones for keys, mobile phones, sunglasses and so on. Depending on your preference, a bowl or metal tray can help to keep these items tidy.
  • Hooks If you don’t have a coat closet, think about standing a coat rack next to your console or install some hooks for coats, hats and bags.
  • A chair In larger entranceways a chair is often placed next to the console. This is especially handy for putting on shoes. Just ensure the chair is in proportion to the space.


Think outside the box

Due to their narrowness and versatility, the console table is now popping up in lots of other locations in the home and being used for a variety of purposes, such as…

  • A TV stand As console tables are narrow, they can act as the perfect stand for today’s slim TVs. They take up far less floor space than a traditional unit so are worth considering if space is limited. Just remember to ensure you have room for the cable box, DVD player and any other related electronics.
  • A home office If there is no room or alcove available for a home office, you may be able to create a mini office with a console table. Take into consideration what essentials the table needs to hold – eg a laptop, lamp, writing materials, sketchpad – as this will determine the size of the console and how much storage you require. A stool or slim chair is a good seating option in smaller spaces. Don’t forget to ensure you have a handy power supply.
  • Bedroom vanity Turn a console table into a vanity by hanging a mirror above it and tucking a stool or chair underneath. If the console doesn’t have drawers, use nice boxes to keep make-up and jewellery tidied away.
  • A space divider In open-plan spaces console tables can often be seen placed behind a sofa, facing the dining area. This placement helps to delineate the spaces. Just remember the console should ideally be at the same height as, and no longer than, the sofa.
  • Sideboard substitute A console table can be used instead of a sideboard to ground a dining space and, if it includes drawers or shelves, to store cutlery and napkins.

Created by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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