decorating a console/buffet table

how to decorate a buffetI’ve been vying for a giant wood and glass cabinet for many years now and it’s just not happening for several reasons: the cost, the inevitable move it will have to make since we live in a rental, and because I’m too afraid to unpack 90% of what I would actually like to display (china passed down from my grandmother that has been in my family since the early 1800s = a lot of pressure).  I still wanted to show some of our treasures so decided on a less expensive and more portable option: a console.  I stalked this console for months until it went to a floor model sale (it takes perseverance) and then snatched it up.  Thank you to the scratch we easily fixed that warranted an additional 20% off.  We decorated it with things new (a bright tray, a simple clock) and old (possessions passed down from our grandparents), both rustic and glam.   

Steps for decorating a console:
1. Switch out the standard boring knobs with a set that have more to offer (these are from Anthropologie).  
2. Combine items that are pretty, rustic, new, and vintage of varying sizes and heights.
3. Have several options available to decorate with.  I tried many different variations before deciding on the finished product.  
4. Place the larger items first.
5. Begin filling in with smaller items to display.  
6. Tweak the spacing and placement so some items are overlapping and not every inch is covered.

knobWhen placing the larger items, I like to spread them out so the end look isn’t perfectly symmetrical.  And remember, this is a great opportunity to display personal items with a story behind it.  This vase was my grandparents’ from their time living in Germany.  I love its intricate detail paired with simpler items.

consoleThese vintage theater binoculars were recently discovered when unpacking a box of my grandparents’ china.  I love the mother of pearl finish.

vintage opera glassesI’d have framed pictures covering every inch of our apartment if I could, so it was hard to limit this to just one (I like the neutral colors courtesy of Alaska’s scenery).  However, I’d rather have them on walls and I like the look of one simple modern silver frame.  Are you wondering what the basket is?  It’s a creel (a basket used when fly fishing to hold the fish) that belonged to Nathan’s great-grandfather.

setting up a buffetvintage german vaseIn the lower shelves I busted out the larger pieces of our china collection (starting slowly) because I couldn’t stand to have every piece packed away.  Also, I just like the look of old books and thought the colors of the covers compared nicely with the all-white china pieces.  

vintage booksCompromise: displaying hunting paraphernalia.  Although, if we are going to proudly show hunting items, I am willing to showcase this duck decoy once used by Nathan’s great-grandfather circa 1912.  At least it’s interesting and well-loved.

vintage decoyThis console pretty much sums up Nathan and I, with items that are manly, pretty, random, and meaningful.  Bringing in our two personalities when decorating is often challenging, yet we accomplish this feat by pairing things that we’ve purchased together with things we’ve received from our families.


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