WHAT TO PUT OVER A CONSOLE TABLE
“This is part of our entry hall. The mirror is the one that will be located to the hall like you suggested. I used to have photos and decorative items on this console until my 2 year old discovered he can move the table and take the frames with him. Any ideas about how to fill this space? Should I hang a piece of art and surround it with family photos?”
Ahhh, I remember the energy of a two year old boy; soon he’ll be playing catch and tackle football so your things still won’t be safe! Often we don’t spend much time decorating an entry – a coat stand, a table, a place to drop keys and mail and that’s good enough. However, your entry should announce who you are and set the tone for the other main rooms of the house. You want to inject some of your personality and style even in this pass through area. Just because you have a toddler, don’t totally give up on having a stylish home…..just decorate with non-breakables!
Your console is a good start – simple and clean lines so anything will work with it. In an earlier post I wrote about hanging art and give some guidelines. This mirror is definitely hung too high over the table – but I think it’s the one you’re moving to the hall. When you hang the new art or photos, hang them a little lower and provide some connection to the table underneath.
Generally I wouldn’t recommend mixing “art” and family photos in the same grouping – they’ll provide a tug of war of style and interest. If you have a piece of art that you’d like to use but it isn’t quite big enough, flank it with other smaller framed art or maybe something dimensional or textural to inject some much needed texture and personality. Consider things like platters or decorative plates, a tray, baskets in an unusual weave, wood initials, masks, a wreath or dried wall arrangement, a shadowbox of some of your son’s baby favorites, etc.
The table really does need something so it doesn’t feel so stark. How about a couple of baskets on the bottom shelf to hold toys and books for him. Maybe if he has “his” things within his reach he’ll feel less inclined to play with your things on the top shelf. But, just in case, keep your eyes open for accessories he can’t hurt or that won’t hurt him if they fall. A tall metal watering can with sticks or branches for height paired with some vine balls and maybe a wooden box or two. Put a silk plant on the floor next to the table that’s 3-4′ tall. It’ll create an “end” to the table and might give your son the impression that he can’t move the table if there’s something else in the way. The taller silk plant would also help bridge the distance between the table and the artwork.
MORE ABOUT HANGING ART
“Thanks for all the good suggestions. I’m addicted to reading your blog! I’ve been making sketches of your ideas to share with my wife and we’re excited to start making some changes. I’ll keep checking your blog for more ideas we can use. I’m not so sure about the height of hanging art – I know it’s supposed to be about 60″ off the floor but my wife and I are tall (6’2″ & 5’11″) and sometimes we feel like we’re looking down on art.”
I certainly understand about tall vs pictures. My husband is 6’5″ and we used to have that discussion every time we hung a picture. (I’ve got him retrained now though.) You don’t necessarily want to feel like you’re looking down on your art but it shouldn’t feel like it’s floating above furniture or above average eye level either. Hanging art is more about hanging it in connection to what’s around it and how people will be viewing it. If they’ll usually be seated (dining or living room) hang it appropriate to a seated person but if it’s in a walk-through area (entry or hallway), art can be hung a little higher. If it’s hung over a chest or piece of furniture, you want to make sure they are visually connected so generally I wouldn’t hang anything more than 12-18″ over a piece of furniture.
PLAN YOUR ART ARRANGEMENT BEFORE HANGING
A tip you may already be aware of is a good, almost fool-proof way of hanging multiple photos or pieces of art. I’m sure you’ve heard about laying out the pictures on the floor until you find an arrangement you like. Taking that a step further, get a large piece of kraft paper or just tape a bunch of pages of newspaper together until you have a big piece of paper the size that you want to fill with art. Lay your art out on top of the paper and after you get everything where you want it, trace around each frame. Tape up the paper and hammer each nail within the frame square you drew. Remove the paper and quickly hang the art in perfect placement. Slick!