Choosing Hall Console Tables

hall console tableThe console table is a narrow table that was primarily designed to fill a vacant space along a wall, especially in a hallway where there is little decor.  To break the monotony and create a little style, hall console tables are a wise choice.  Often we see pictures or mirrors hanging on a wall along the hallway, but the decor often looks unfinished as if we had extra pictures or an extra mirror and needed a place to store it.

Choosing hall console tables take care.  Size and style is important.  In homes built in the recent decades, hallways are quite narrow.  In fact, they were designed as a route from one room to another, unlike the wide halls of homes built in the 1920’s and earlier.  A century ago, halls were designed more like narrow rooms than passageways.  Visiting any older home and most likely a small love seat or a pair of chairs can be seen in the hall, along with a larger console table.  Choosing display tables was much easier when space was not the primary determining factor.

Things to Consider When Choosing Hall Console Tables

  • The length of the hall
  • The width of the hall
  • The style of furniture in adjoining rooms
  • Any light fixtures in the hallway

The Length of the Hallway: Determining the Length of the Table

We have all seen pictures of rooms that seem perfectly balanced and we have seen those rooms where the furniture looks as if it is too large or too small for the room.  When selecting a hall console table, we are looking for the “Goldilocks effect.”  We want the balance to be just right.

In fact, we are going to use what in mathematics is called the “Golden Factor” or the “Divine Proportion” to make sure our hallway is balanced visually.  We see it everyday in practice.  We just don’t think about it.  But, we always know when something looks right and when it doesn’t.  There is no need to take a calculator with you when you go shopping, and we are certainly not going to get into a complex mathematical equation.  However, we will do an extremely simple variation of the “Divine Proportion” just to help in making a choice.

The reader can either look up the mathematical equation or take our word for it.  But, to make sure the table is not too long or too small for the length of the hallway, measure the wall where the console table will be placed.  Let’s say it is 6′ long.  (Use your own hall measurement if you know it.)  Now, determine what 60% of that length is.  (6′ x .6 = 3.6′)  Sixty percent is not the exact “Golden Factor” but it is so close that we will be well within the proportional range.

Having done the math, we can see that a table that is roughly 3 and a half feet in length will work in the hallway.  In other words, we should be looking for a console table that is about 40″ – 42″ in length.  Of course, this is not exact.  This is only to give a good example of determining size for this piece of furniture.

The benefit is that when shopping we will not buy a table that is too long or too short.  We know the approximate length that we need.

The Width of the Console Table

This is particularly tricky.  If a longer table is needed, the width should accommodate it.  In other words, it is not wise or appealing to have a table that is extremely long and extremely narrow.  However, the table should not be so wide as to crowd anyone walking down the hallway.  Remember, kids will be walking with backpacks or carrying a lacrosse stick.

Use your judgment.  Measure the width of the hallway.  Generally, the console table will be between 14″ and 18″ in width.  If your hallway cannot handle a 14″ extension into the path, consider chair railing and wallpaper.

The Style of the Hall Table

Again, personal preferences and common sense come into play as much as a degree in interior design.  So, rather than fill the space with what to look for, we will give examples of what to avoid.  The list is shorter.

If the house is decorated in furniture from a pre-contemporary period, it may be best to avoid an ultra-modern curved metal table with a glass top.  In other words, do not act as if the hallway is not a part of the existing decor.

An easy rule of thumb is to match style or wood tone.  That will guarantee a safe decision.

The Light Fixtures

A small overhead hall light will not create a problem.  However, some new homes have electrical wall sconce lamps.  When positioning the table, take into consideration location of the fixtures.  Use common sense.  That is always the best option.

Placement of the Table

When placing the table in the hall, it is not necessary to center it.  That is one of the benefits of purchasing the best size table.  Following the rule of “Divine Proportion” the table can be placed for best fit in the location.  Of course, do not place the table in front of a doorway or at the exact intersection of the hallway.

It is most important to note that while these rules are not written in stone, they are golden.  More important than anything else when selecting a hall console table or any other piece of furniture, train your eye and learn to trust your judgment.