Design:

How to Add Verticality and Visual Interest to a Space

Words by Sacha Strebe.

Nicole Franzen
Nicole Franzen

While we’re all about breaking rules at EyeSwoon HQ, there’s one guideline that continually comes into focus for us:

  • scale – understanding how the size of an object in a space relates to the size of those around it.
  • verticality – positioning objects that are perpendicular to the horizontal plane.

Varying scale and verticality when designing a room creates visual interest which engages the eye, allowing it to dance from one object to the next. This is where pedestal columns come into play. Whether you choose a standalone plinth or a grouping, they allow you to create what Athena refers to as “broken planes.” In her book, Live Beautiful she writes:

“You never want your furniture or objects to be on the same plane. My living room—which isn’t stuffed with things—feels rich and layered. I achieved this by uniting furniture and objects that are all at different heights.”

The low sofa, two-tiered triangular coffee table, closely stacked pillars, sculptural standing lamp, and Prouvé stool draw your eyes around the room, bouncing from point to point, lending it a playful allure.

Pedestal columns allow you to achieve this visual objective by providing a vertical surface to create sculptural interest or curiosity to the otherwise mundane.

How to Add Verticality and Visual Interest to a Space
How to Add Verticality and Visual Interest to a Space

Each of these moments is an opportunity to express yourself and create vignettes from low to high that are personal and meaningful, and most of all, allow for the visual intrigue that your eye craves. Case in point, the nude male torso that sits atop the marble plinth in Athena’s Brooklyn bathroom; the vintage vessels on the Roman-inspired columns in her living room; and the plaster plinth with a vessel tucked into the corner of her hallway. 

If you’re looking for vintage pedestal columns to add verticality and visual interest to your space, then follow our tips below for how to source them online and IRL:

Deep dive into keyword searches

There’s nothing we love more than heading down the keyword rabbit hole on our favorite resale sites. Download the apps and save your favorite searches too. I do this all the time on eBay so I can receive email alerts when a new product for my search term is listed. I keep a close eye on Etsy and Charish too.  

Check out your local antique stores and garden centers

Pedestal columns are heavy so if you’re searching online, the shipping for a wooden or marble piece can be just as expensive as the product itself. So make sure you hit up your local antique stores—be prepared to travel outside of your immediate area too! Also, don’t discount garden centers. They often have varying plinths or columns that they are selling as plant stands. Sometimes antique stores will also have a garden section where you can find interesting plinths. I have found really interesting broken pieces from old buildings and retired garden objects that I’ve converted into plinths/pedestals. Olde Good Things is one of my favorite places for these unique pieces. 

Don’t forget about Facebook Marketplace and Instagram 

Facebook Marketplace is a treasure trove for deals but it can be time-consuming to track them down (especially when they’re not listed correctly!). But, remember, that’s all part of it! Instagram however has become a destination for independent vintage dealers who are sourcing unique objects and selling them on the platform via DM—some of them even have collection drops. My only advice is to turn on notifications because they sell out—fast! Here are some of my favorites:

Tiff Toto Interiors
Lui Trova
Javaneh Pirooz
a.vintagefind
Nice Vintage
Wilder Homes
Lumière Vintage Furniture

Final words…

Designing your home is a journey (some might even call it an emotional roller coaster!). I know firsthand how long it takes to find “the one”—those pieces that speak to your style and the space—and when you do, it feels like kismet. The creative process can be frustrating and torturous at times but the fulfillment and pride at the finish line are worth every minute of it. Happy hunting!

Shop Our Favorite Vintage Pedestal Columns:

CB2 Tall Burled Wood Pedestal

Whether you put something atop this pedestal or not, she is a natural beauty.

The fluted design of these French columns are the visual interest every space needs.

CB2 Vesta Marble Sculpture Large

CB2 also sells a smaller version of this and they look great coupled together to elevate a lonely corner.

The William White Plaster Pedestal Column

Plaster is a material we regularly express our fondness for. It brings instant depth and texture to a neutral space. Athena has one in her Brooklyn hallway with a sculptural vessel on top.

Marble is a gift from Mother Nature to us and we cannot seem to get enough of calacatta.

If marble isn't your material of choice, opt for wooden pedestals which add instant warmth.

Stone is also a wonderful option for a pedestal. This one acts as a mini side table and would also look great coupled with another slightly taller version with books, a vase, or sculpture atop.

This vintage reeded wood pedestal was made by a local artist in the early 80s to display his art.

This 1980s wood pedestal column can be stopped back or painted in any color to suit your home and display objects or use it as a plant stand.

Mix up your materiality with the texture of concrete.

While there is no makers mark, this Burl laminate pedestal is in the Milo Baughman style from the 1970s and it's truly a beautiful sight to behold.

Vary the heights of your pedestals with this classic column that mimics ancient Rome.

This pink marble will add a pop of color while still feeling like a neutral.

This aged column pedestal works well as a sundial pedestal or with a bust or statue.

Designed by gardening expert, Bunny Williams, this pedestal can stagger the heights of plants in your garden or add interest and shape to the visual landscape of your living room.

Teak offers a beautiful warmth and texture to any space.

This 1890 pedestal from Spain has so much history and beauty.

Add striking contrast to your space with this black marble pedestal.

This antique solid marble pedestal has a unique shape and design to diversify your space.

Bring in a hint of history with a Roman-inspired pedestal that adds ornate detailing to your space.

This rose marble plinth is a classic and it's easy to see why with its beautiful veining in the viola hue.

This marble beauty will engage the eye with its stunning color and texture.

Travertine is having a moment because it's such a classic and its neutral hue fuses with every style and arrangement.

A book and a vintage vessel with sculptural branches on this pedestal will attract the eye from across the room.

This carved design brings in a hint of an old-world style home.

Add some ancient history with these Greco-Roman pedestals.

You can never go wrong with a little violet marble!

Mix up your eras with this neo-classical pedestal.

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