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Floating Consoles: A Modern Twist On The Classic Console Table

Console tables are a practical addition for a home’s entryway. Not only do they provide much-needed surface space in a high-traffic area, but they can also make what can be a very awkward space feel more inviting and help your home make a good first impression. But many models are more decorative than practical, and often are designed for spaces that are either large, traditional, or both. Floating consoles are better suited to a more contemporary home, and manage both to be more compact and have a bit more storage than a more conventional console.

Florence Hanging Console IN Matte White Lacquer HGSD526 From Nuevo Living
Florence Hanging Console IN Matte White Lacquer HGSD526 From Nuevo Living

Traditional console tables have thin, wide tabletops mounted atop very tall legs, and are designed to nestle up close against the wall, providing a simple ledge of surface space that won’t restrict foot traffic. Consoles like this are typically used in an entryway, both to warm up the space and as a convenient place to put down mail or keys when you return home. Floating consoles are more like wall mounted cabinets, with a sturdy rectangular shape and no legs, but like conventional consoles are very thin, so they can be mounted to a wall without taking up too much space.

Florence Hanging Console In American Walnut Veneer HGSD527
Florence Hanging Console In American Walnut Veneer HGSD527

The appearance of these two different types of consoles is fundamentally different; where conventional console tables are tall and spindly, floating consoles have a very solid appearance. Beyond that, floating consoles are almost strictly modern in style, with very minimal designs, simple lines, and little or no ornamentation. The cabinets usually have slab style doors with smooth, unembellished faces and no door or drawer pulls, to the point that it can be a bit difficult to tell at a glance that the doors are there at all.

Elise Hanging Console In American Walnut Veneer HGSD524 From Nuevo Living
Elise Hanging Console In American Walnut Veneer HGSD524 From Nuevo Living

Most floating consoles also have a relatively simple finish, either a single solid color (black, white, and gray are popular) or a simple wood veneer or wood printed laminate, and usually with a soft sheen or gloss. Combined with their simple, geometric design and very modern wall mounted installation, floating consoles end up looking less like traditional cabinets or consoles and more like very large decorative shelves: they’re elegant yet unobtrusive, and will help draw the eye to any decor items you set on top of them.

This simple floating console is both practical and elegant, perfect for a compact entryway (by Wud Furniture Design)
This simple floating console is both practical and elegant, perfect for a compact entryway (by Wud Furniture Design)

Not only does the fact that floating consoles are mounted to the wall give them a modern look and feel (one of the simplest ways to make any piece of furniture look more modern is to make it look like it’s floating!), it also makes them visually more compact. Traditional console tables are designed to occupy a blank wall, so even though they’re very spindly, they have a large visual impact. Floating consoles stick to a single tight shape surrounded by white space, which can make the wall they’re mounted on feel larger and more open – especially because the cabinets don’t have legs, which gives the impression of greater height. For a small entryway where storage space is needed more than decoration, a floating console can actually make the space feel larger rather than more crowded.

A small floating console near the front door creates an accessible yet relatively private hub for important household items (by Jennifer Weiss Architecture)
A small floating console near the front door creates an accessible yet relatively private hub for important household items (by Jennifer Weiss Architecture)

Taken together, all the seemingly simple features of floating consoles result in a cabinet that’s seamless and uncluttered, which is absolutely perfect for a busy entryway. Floating consoles not only provide more storage than a console table of equivalent width, but they keep most of what’s inside hidden. That means you can keep everyday items close at hand but completely out of sight, whether it’s keys, gloves, sunglasses, or a dog leash. Of course, there’s still plenty of surface space you can use for setting down mail or creating a small, cheerful display, but the simple, streamlined cabinet itself lends well to a clutter-free appearance.

Floating consoles can be designed to fit odd or cramped spaces without disrupting the flow of household traffic (by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.)
Floating consoles can be designed to fit odd or cramped spaces without disrupting the flow of household traffic (by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.)

Their simple design also means that custom shapes and sizes can be built relatively simply and affordably, in an almost infinite variety of heights, widths, and depths, depending on your needs. While most floating consoles are about the size of a small cabinet, they can range from anything as compact as a bare-bones shelf to cabinets as wide as the entire length of a wall. This makes them an ideal choice for oddly shaped spaces, weird corners, or inconveniently recessed areas, since they can be fine-tuned to fit any space seamlessly, which often isn’t a viable option with more traditional tables.

What do you think of this more modern take on the console table? Let me know in the comments below!