VINTAGE CONSOLE STYLE GUIDE
Let’s pretend your home was capable of writing a love letter to a single piece of furniture. Who would they choose? Well, we’re willing to bet the vintage console table.
A phenomenally versatile piece of furniture, the vintage console table reinvents entries that previously seemed too narrow, gaps between windows that garnered awkward glances, and walls that stopped too short to be of good use. A used console also offers up storage, display room for table lamps, and converts gracefully into a desk or buffet when needed.
If it sounds like a magician, well, it kind of is. For a round-up of our favorite styles and uses for the secondhand console table, read on below.
THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE MOON
The Vintage Demilune Console
An English translation of Demilune turns up the perfectly apt: Half Moon. Featuring a bowed front, flat back, and three or four legs, this antique console was first introduced by the Romans, but was ultimately adopted by the French in the mid 18th Century. Unexpected and just plain lovely, a used Demilune console is a fluid counterpoint to the more rectangular consoles, which typically feature a blocky footprint and squared-off edges.
Use a vintage Demilune console to add interest in a space that’s short on architectural flourishes, or in especially tight quarters, like an entry. Although the style traditionally trended towards Neoclassical or Federal styles, there no shortage of contemporary-interpreted Demilunes, nowadays. If your style runs a touch more feminine, look for tables with scalloped aprons and gracefully fluted legs.
The Lucite Waterfall Console
Spaces that need a bolt of function—but not the visual heft created by a weighty piece of wood furniture—will hit it off swimmingly with a vintage Lucite console. Rounded corners and paneled sides lend any waterfall-style console a clean profile, but pair it with clear-as-a-whistle Lucite and the console takes on a liquid-like quality, perfect for teaming up with bright, textural objects like florals and boxes. Impressively, your objects will look like they’re floating.
If your Lucite waterfall console has bottom shelving, go on and take advantage of it (though pay mind to not overload it with heavy-looking objects), but if it’s just open air below the top, you might think about fashioning it as a desk. Often the perfect height to accommodate a workstation, we love the look of a vintage Lucite console stationed next to a bed in a bedroom, with a pretty boudoir chair tucked underneath. The result is unexpected, perfect for homes that lack the space for a true office. It’s the Lucite’s transparency makes the look possible, as a traditional desk would add far too much weight.
THE OPEN BOOK
The Vintage Bookshelf Console
If you have a need for bookshelves, but don’t necessarily love the towering profile of them, an open shelf console could be your new BFF. These types of consoles come in virtually every style, but remain united by their bottom shelving. Recruit them in materials like metal for purely functional purposes in an entry, mudroom, or kitchen pass-through (we love the look of catering dishes displayed on the open shelves), or use one in a homey material like reclaimed or whitewashed wood in an airy living room.
These types of consoles also thrive as sofa tables. Traditionally used behind a sofa that floats in a room, a sofa table with shelving acts as an anchor, tethering a sofa to a sort of faux wall. While a shelf-less console will work as a sofa table, of course, we think a shelved bottom adds presence and purpose, ensuring the look goes off without a hitch.
POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE
The Sculptural Podium Console
There’s no better way to commence your space than a vintage podium console. These consoles make grand impressions by relying not on four legs, but a single, plinth-like support. The plinth can be simplistic or grand and sculptural (some do require extra bolting to the wall), but regardless, the style exudes major drama.
Use a vintage podium console in an entry where the front door opens to a blank wall and hang a mirror over the top, or try using two smaller scale ones on either side of a bed like nightstands. A tip for success: when decorating a podium console’s surface, arrange a vignette on the table’s middle to balance the centered base. We personally love the look of a few pieces of art casually layered onto a console’s center. Use varying sizes of art and it offers the illusion of symmetry while actually being delightfully askew.