Entryways are one of the oddest rooms in the home. They’re the first things guests see and set the tone for the house as a whole, but are often made of little leftover patches of space carved out or crammed in between the main rooms. That can make for some pretty unusual layouts, and a space that isn’t exactly easy to decorate. Console tables are one of my favorite solutions to these problematic spaces, combining a guest-approved grandeur with a compact, versatile footprint.
Entryways aren’t large spaces; even in a big home, they’re a transitional space that isn’t really designed for furniture. In many cases, full sized furniture would actually crowd the area, making it feel cramped and overfilled. But unless (and sometimes even if) your entryway opens immediately onto another room and/or a staircase, it will look quite blank and empty if you don’t include any furniture at all. That’s where console tables come in. Console tables are often used as sofa tables because they’re very thin, and they work well in an entryway for the same reason: they sit close up against the wall and won’t intrude on walkways. But because they’re taller than normal tables, they have the heft needed to make the space feel furnished.
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Every entryway is different, but often there will be at least one blank wall perpendicular to the front door. It might be between the door and the staircase, or just the wall to a neighboring room, but usually this will be the one big blank spot in your entryway. Hanging art here can work, but even a large piece will leave the lower half of the wall looking quite bare. A console table – especially one with an interesting base, will flesh out that space nicely, offering a good height but with a slim profile that won’t take up much space in a narrow entryway.
The Big Blank Wall is an even bigger problem when it happens to be directly across from your front door, but console tables are a great solution here, too. You don’t want the first thing your guests see when they walk in your house to be a pile of mail, boots, and keys, so while you might put a smaller accent table next to the door for utility, you want what occupies the wall directly across from it to have a more designer flair. Console tables have this on a very basic level because even pretty simple ones have the benefit of being stylishly unusual-shaped, and many are specifically designed as statement pieces. Put a small cluster of interesting objects or a little greenery on the table and top it off with a framed piece of art, and instead of a blank wall you’ll have an arrangement that will wow – and one that won’t come out more than about a foot from the wall, so it won’t restrict your walkways.
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In a smaller entryway, you might want to consider hanging a decorative mirror over the console table instead. A large, decorative mirror can help make the space feel larger, and especially in an entryway that has a wall directly across from the door, it can make the space feel a little less portioned off by adding visual depth. A mirror/console table combo can be a good choice in very well lit entrances, too, as adding in a simple reflective surface can help enhance the natural light and make the space feel warmer and brighter.
Console tables also work really well in entryways with area rugs. In any room, you want there to be a border of bare floor between the edge of your area rug and the wall (particularly providing clearance for the front door to open easily), but this border is usually fairly small, which can create some unsightly overlap if your furniture is too large. Because console tables are rarely more than 16 inches deep, they fit perfectly into the recommended 18-24″ border without crowding onto the rug.
All that said, console tables are tables, and serve the simple function of any surface placed near an oft-used entrance: a place to put down mail, keys, purses, and so on. Now, the slightly narrower surface (not to mention the designer nature of most console tables) will probably discourage you from letting the papers build up for too long, but when you just need to put down the stuff in your hands and lock the front door after a long day, even the most decorative console table will do the trick!