Certain design elements are constantly adapted to changing styles and consumer preferences. It happens with fabric and furniture, as well as with decorative accessories.
Animal prints, for example, were once confined mainly to rugs and wall hangings, but now they're being applied to furniture as well. The shapes of various pieces have also become less predictable, as have the materials used in constructing them. It's not that the forms and surfaces are new; rather, looks that may have fallen out of fashion are being rediscovered and repurposed by furniture manufacturers.
This trend is certainly to be welcomed because of the broader choices it offers for both modern and traditionally designed interiors.
Q: I want to add a console table to my home's entrance foyer, both for functional reasons and to make a design statement in this small and nondescript space. There doesn't seem to be much available, however, apart from straight-legged tables made of brown wood.
I realize that these boring sorts of tables could be jazzed up with a grouping of decorative objects, but I'm not much of a collector.
A: Since you're aiming for visual interest as well as functional improvement, a console alone may not be sufficient. You should also consider adding a small, decoratively framed mirror and a small lamp, either wall-hung or tabletop.
I'm not surprised by your frustration over the lack of options. It's true that most consoles are meant to hold decorative items and have little personality of their own.
There are certainly exceptions, however, as the photo indicates. This console by Laneventure, an American furniture manufacturer, embodies a couple of the adaptations I mentioned above. Its hand-painted finish was inspired by a faux tortoise print, and the traditional X-shaped base -- not seen much in recent years -- is here constructed of an unexpected material: bamboo.
The table has the exotic look of one of those 19th century campaign pieces that were moved from one Napoleonic battle to another.
The scalloped apron and the gold-band accents on the chocolate-brown frame further ensure that guests will not be able to ignore the design statement this table is making. Top it off with a gold or brass candlestick lamp and your foyer will be transformed.
Rita St. Clair is a syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services Inc. E-mail general interior design questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.