What To Put On A Console Table Behind A Couch

The console returns. Yes, the console is like Rocky and Batman movies. The sequels keep coming. Maybe instead of The Console Returns we should say “Console: The Final Chapter” or “The Console Strikes Again” or “I Still Know What You Did Last Console.” No? Fine. We’ll stick with The Console Returns.

Yes, after many (many) posts about our big console build, this is the official finale. And this one is the most exciting for me because it’s all about the fun stuff I put on it. Haha. I’m deep, what can I say? I’m sure it’ll constantly change, but here’s what it looks like today:

The lamps were more than we’ve ever spent on lamps (I have some sort of imaginary $50-a-pop maximum and these were $59 each) but from the moment I saw them at Marshall’s I couldn’t. walk. away. I even texted a picture of them to my friend Cat and she said “You’re a magpie, gotta have ’em if they’re shiny.” So I said to myself: “Self, what’s $18 extra bucks when it’s true lamp love?” It did help that they were marked down from $125 each.

We also picked up that big capiz-topped black lacquered box from HomeGoods (on clearance for $15, down from $36) because I knew it would be awesome for stashing nearly all of the clutter that seems to collect on the sofa (a few magazines, books, notebooks, pens, remotes, and even my brush and lotion). And the sleek glammy vibe worked with the blingy lamps to bring some modern chicness to our rustic ol’ console beast.

Other than that I just brought in some stuff that we already owned, from a few stacks of pretty hardcover books that I love to flip through (which are also functional thanks to a handy coaster that I stacked on top for my nightly cup of tea and the smaller white capiz box that’s secretly full of my smaller sofa essentials (lip gloss, vitamins, nail clippers, etc).

And this cute $3 thrifted quatrefoil tray is perfect for all of the jewelry that I like to remove as soon as I sink into my special spot on the sectional (the chaise in case you’re wondering).

And here’s what we have going on in those hidden baskets in the middle compartment. The left side is full of board games since this the room where we usually get our game on. And the basket on the right has a lesser used remote (for the DVD player) as well as some books that we got for Clara from the library (we try to keep them all together so we’re not looking everywhere for one last book on the day that they’re due).

And of course we have a little ceramic animal action going on thanks to my old ZGallerie rhino friend. Probably just for a bit until Clara gets bigger and he becomes endangered. Then he’ll go live on the built-ins in the dining room again:

For some reason this shot kills me. The little ceramic rhino butt in the background gets me every time.

As for the bookshelf sides of the console, we found three of these $5 baskets at HomeGoods, so the one on the close side of the console on the bottom shelf is full of a bunch of Clara’s board books while the top shelf has some of our books and a fun little Cardboard Safari rhino going on.

… and two more baskets on the far side of the console have blocks and other small toys stashed inside.

We’re sure everything that we have on/in the console table will be constantly changing. For example, once Clara’s a bit more mobile I don’t think my beloved ceramic rhino will get to live up there anymore. Unless I want him to meet an untimely end like my ceramic pooch.

Heck, she might even try to murder the cardboard rhino on that side shelf (so far, so good though) so we’re just going to play it by ear. We might decide that we’d like more empty space for putting stuff down on the top of the console (we have that big expanse in the center for a large bowl of chips or something, along with plenty of room for more coasters for drinks, but you never know if we’ll want even more). So it’ll be fun to tweak it and watch it evolve as the rest of the room comes together over the next year or two (still on the list: breezy curtains to add softness, a larger and more balanced looking media cabinet, etc).

And now for the weirdest video we’ve ever made. We were in sort of a quirky mood so we thought it would be hilarious to make a sexy stroking-the-console-video of the whole thing in action (we even throw open that middle compartment for ya to see how it opens and closes in “real time”). The music kills me. And the slow motion. Yup, we’re still laughing about it:

Strangest video you’ve ever seen. Am I right? Oh and we have one more pic for ya. At night it’s all sorts of magical in the living room now that we removed all the weird ceiling fans and that off-center corner pendant light and use the console table lamps along with the desk lamp to illuminate the room.

This photo doesn’t even do it justice, but in person it’s so cozy and glowey and charming. And we can only imagine how the right curtains and a bigger and more proportionate media cabinet will take this work-in-progress room a whole lot further. Someday…

Psst- Wanna flip back through the whole console building journey? Here’s the first post, the second post, the third post, the fourth post, and the fifth post.


  1. says

    Oooh, I love the decorated console. And, I’d be totally fine with a title of “I Still Know What You Did Last Console” or, if you want to keep it simple, Console 4 a la Scream. Anyway, love the lamps and the functional storage!

  2. Kristina says

    Ooh, I love your lamps! And your video made me blush. I never thought I’d get so excited about wood. (That’s what she said)

  3. kalibrooke says

    fabulous!! love the lamps–they’re so perfect for the space and give off a much warmer vibe than i would have thought. great job!

  4. Kristin says

    You guys, I so love the console and I love, love, love the lamps. But as much as I’m trying, I can’t love the green rug. Is it there to stay? Also, are you still planning on changing out the “Art” in the frames above Karl?

    Love the blog, it’s definitely something I look forward to in my day!

    • says

      Yes! We love the rug so it’s definitely here to stay. But we know not every item in our house will be everyone on the interweb’s cup o’ tea. No worries. As for the art, we go back and forth. Sometimes we want to keep it for the long haul and other times it’s just a placeholder as we originally intended it to be. I think sometime down the line we might go for something a bit less basic (something with a small pattern or even black and white photos). Should be fun to see where we end up…


  5. Abercrombie Wife says

    That room has come a long way in a short amount of time (the whole house really). I am in LOVE with the evening shot! Makes me want to cozy up with a hot tea and watch Grey’s Anatomy. I have living room envy! I do have to say that I originally loved the wall art before, but now that it is all coming along I think I would prefer to see some type of photo or print in the frames. Are you still planning on doing something like that or are you planning on leaving them the way they are? Don’t get me wrong I still love them either way.

    • says

      We go back and forth on the art too! I think sometime down the line we might go for something a bit less basic (something with a small pattern or even black and white photos). Should be fun to see where we end up…


    • says

      yeah, I thought the same thing about the art too! I was in love with the art before the console table, but now I can see those frames showcasing some bangin’ B&W photos…that would look sexy…the room still looks awesome though!

    • Abercrombie Wife says

      I’m with Paige on the b&w photos. Can’t wait to see the rest of the room evolve. Are you planning on getting anything else done before the big B-day party? like curtains?

    • says

      We’re shifting our focus outside to the patio we want to completely DIY (which we hope to eke out before Clara’s party so it can be part of the hanging out space). But you never know about things like curtains – if we find something perfect charging bulls can’t keep me from grabbing them and getting them up within a day or two!


    • KellyD says

      Funny! I guess I’m on the “out with the art” train too! I used to love the art but with all the new touches coming together it’s starting to stick out like a sore thumb, maybe too modern for the cozy and charming vibe that the rest of the room has…. And I love the texture that the rug brings to the room!

  6. lisa says

    i think it looks great….one question…the whole room looks great, but i notice you still have a teeny tiny tv in that room. any plans to upgrade to a bigger one, and if yes, will you mount it on the wall, or put it on a tv stand?

    • says

      Oh yes, we have plans for a new media cabinet that’s more in proportion with the giant sectional and console which probably means upgrading to a larger TV. John can’t wait for that. Haha.


  7. Bia Silveira says

    lmao! that video is like cheesy 1980s furniture lover soft porn!
    great work guys! you make us furniture designers proud. you wouldn’t believe the stuff that happens when novices try their hand at furniture making, but you did it beautifully.

  8. almk42 says

    Boy, am I glad I’m not the only one who keeps nail clippers by the couch. We keep our cat claw clippers there, too, since my husband trims the kitty’s claws while he’s snuggling on the couch after we go to bed.

    One question I’ve been wondering about your idea to keep drinks and things behind the couch. I love the idea of not having a coffee table for little hands to get into and little heads to bonk, but I would be concerned that I would constantly be spilling drinks all over the back of my sofa. Or that the cat would be trying to walk around back there and spill things. Are you guys just a little less crazy sitting on your couch than we are?

    • says

      We thought Burger would be all about the console table (as in, using it as a runway for dog fashion shows) but he won’t go back there. Even if we have food up there he just whines at it but won’t go get it. Which comes in handy because we don’t worry about him spilling things or anything. And so far we haven’t had any spills or anything due to flailing (maybe I flail less when I know there’s hot tea on the table behind me?). So far, so good. Oh and the slipcovers are dark washable so I guess that helps.


  9. Nicole W. says

    Most awkward video ever!! I can’t help but wonder if this is a scene from your reality show… the one with john’s shirt off, saw dust flying, you handing him lemonade…???

    For real though, the console looks amazing. Great work :)

  10. Gavin S. says

    Bahahahaha! Y’all are such goobers…I love it! The video is hilarious and the lamps are totally fab. Absolutely worth the extra $18!

    I was at the thrift store this weekend and thought of you. I was wondering…do you buy something every time you go to the thrift store? There were lots of things I could have worked with there, but nothing I was desperately needing for my house at the moment. Would you have gotten something just to have a project and worked it in somewhere later or just left empty-handed like I did?

    • says

      I’d say we walk out empty handed about 70% of the time and leave with something around 30% of the time. We’re no strangers to holding out if we don’t have a big need for something (or a place for it) even if it’s cute.


  11. Karen says

    Looks Gorgeous! I love those lamps. A little bling never hurts. LOL

    I really like the nighttime pic with the lamps on. It looks so cozy. Can’t wait to see what you do for curtains.

  12. says

    The console and the room look so great! It sounds like you’re really loving your sectional still. Has it held up as well as you thought and is it totally comfy? We’ll be in the sectional market very, very soon and your guy always comes to mind when I think about starting the search!!

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