4 Simple Styling Tips for Consoles, Tables & Shelves.

Less is more. And on that note, today I’m sharing four easy styling tips to keep in mind if you get the urge to redo one of your consoles, shelves, or other surfaces this weekend! (As often happens to me. Changing things up is one of my joys of life! Matt knows this all too well…what a lucky man!)

Since we’ve gone more minimal in our home and decluttered a lot of unnecessary furniture, we (by choice) don’t have a lot of different surfaces to style. I don’t have extra shelves, long consoles, buffets or sideboards. And I like that!

But we do still have a few, like our mantel and this vintage bureau (which serves as a sort of console focal point between the dining and living rooms).

frame on wall with antique bureau below, eucalyptus in vase with candle

vase | candle | candleholder | frame


1. Function first.

I always like to start with function first. For example, ask

  • Where is the surface you’re styling?
  • What is it near?
  • Who uses it?
  • When do you use it?
  • What things would be helpful in that space?

For us, this bureau is next to our dining area. I love having candles on the table for dinner, but there’s a small problem I kept running into. Our dining table is smaller than most, so it can get cluttered fast. I realized it would be helpful to have another place to set a candle so the table is free while we eat breakfast and lunch, then we could bring the candle to the table for dinner.

If your surface is a table in your entryway, maybe you’ll think about a bowl for keys or a basket with a lid to keep the dog leash in. If it’s your mantel, add a long carved wood tray for the matches or lighter.

Make sure you take care of your function first, then work everything around it from there!

eucalyptus leaves in vase on table with candle

vase | candle | candleholder| frame


2. Always add some green.

I see this missing so often. A space styled without a plant usually looks duller than it would with one. Here, I chose a bunch of fresh eucalyptus and put it in a white vase that helps the green pop. (Green + white is one of my favorite combos!)

Now I had my candle, a vase, and that vase was full of luscious greenery. But there was a problem… (It’s common. You’ll want to watch out for this one too.)

console styled with eucalyptus in vase, candle, couch in background

vase | candle | candleholder| frame


3. Vary your shapes, colors, heights, & textures.

The problem was height. The candle was too short next to that beautiful bunch of green; it looked unbalanced. So I need something to give it a bit more height. Books are an easy way to do that. I prefer to place them from largest book to smallest book, with the smallest on top. This also gave a bit more horizontal “base” to the candle, which helped balance it with the large amount of greenery coming out of the top of that vase.

Books also provided some warmth to this area that had some cooler “feels” (like the marble top, the glass candleholder, and the ceramic vase). So if you need to cozy up the feel of your surface while adding height, books can pull double duty here!

You could also use a small stool, a cake stand, or one of these wood risers to easily give an item the height it needs in your space.

tabletop styled with eucalyptus, candle, and books, frame on wall above

vase | candle | candleholder| frame


4. Less is more.

In the spirit of keeping this simple, I’ll just leave you for the weekend with that one final thought. Less truly is more.

I could have filled my space with more. I could have fit in a tabletop clock I had, as well as a cool woven basket. But I stuck with the few elements I had, and that’s what gives it the simple-yet-elegant feel.

Exercise restraint. Add slowly to your chosen surface—and stop as soon as the right look and balance is achieved. Avoid the temptation to add more, to do more, to fill more. Let each piece speak for itself.

dining bureau styled with eucalyptus, candle, and books

vase | candle | candleholder| frame

➜ Click here to see my mantel styling tips: “A Minimal Mantel: How I Styled It (and Why!)

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