This Is My Mom’s Rental-Friendly, Secret Decorating Move That I Should Have Stolen Sooner

published Nov 6, 2020
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Earlier this summer, I went on a mini vintage buying spree with the hopes of finally finishing decorating my apartment once and for all. My favorite find from this time period has to be the stone pedestal that I scooped up from Adaptations NY. When I saw a picture of it go up on their Instagram feed, I fired off a message right away, saying I’d buy it even before I knew its size, condition, or cost. While I generally don’t recommend acting this hastily without getting these vitals, time is definitely of the essence when it comes to vintage shopping, especially on social media. Certain things can be bought sight-unseen, and a pedestal is probably one of them.

From their picture, I could tell that the scale would work: This pedestal was going to be the perfect piece to fill the awkward, empty corner in my tiny dining room that has always bugged me. I picked it up from the store, set it in place, and now have it topped with a floral arrangement in a funky vase. I sent my mom a picture of the new piece, and she responded with a snap of her own leggy pedestal, regally displaying a leafy green plant in her entryway. How had I glossed over that detail in my parents’ place for so long?

She has an additional one in her dining area, too, also displaying a plant. I’m certainly no stranger to pedestals; they’ve been used for ages to give pieces pride of place in museums, stores, and showrooms. I just hadn’t thought to use this kind of thing in my own place until this summer, even though my own mother had being doing this probably for 25-plus years.

Turns out my mother and I are not alone. Designer Lindsay Colby, whose Brooklyn home is pictured here, snagged a marble pedestal from Apt Deco for $75 and is using it in her living room for fresh flowers. I’ve also seen design influencers use them to set off special sculptures or busts, and practically every Insta-worthy boutique is using one to highlight their new arrivals. Back in August, Abby Campbell, owner of homewares shop Abigail Bell Vintage, told me they’re the key to making any space look more polished. “I say this all the time, but a pedestal is such an easy way to elevate your space and make it feel like a fancy adult lives there,” she says.

I seriously should have stolen this decorating move sooner. Pedestals, particularly those created in a columnar shape, play into the classic design trend resurgence I’ve been seeing as of late. They’re relatively small in terms of their footprint but can literally elevate your decorative pieces, making your interiors look more luxe in the process. They are available at many different price points, and if you’re a “the more plants, the better” kind of a person, they’re a fun new way to work in a little more greenery. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to fill an empty corner. Unlike shelving, you don’t even need to pull out a hammer to set one of these up, so they’re super rental-friendly. The more ornate ones even look good without anything on them at all!

Want to give a pedestal a try in your place? I found a few styles that’ll work in lots of different settings. Keep in mind that these pieces aren’t always cheap though—they’re tall and solid, especially if they’re made out of real stone, plaster, or even poured concrete. As such, these pieces are not advised in homes with pets or small children (or where small children visit frequently), since they can sometimes topple over (unless you find a secure way to bolt yours to the floor). To snag one for a song, I suggest looking for something secondhand on Facebook Marketplace or even Craigslist now before this trend fully catches on, and pricing starts reflecting demand. If you’re handy, you can also probably build (and paint) a simple, box-shaped style without much trouble, too.

Credit: CB2

Hex Cement Pedestal Table

Cement, sand, and fiberglass come together in this Brutalist-inspired fluted pedestal that’s available in two sizes. Since it’s built to withstand the elements, you can also use this guy outside to set off a favorite potted plant.

Buy: Hex Cement Pedestal Table, Starting at $199.00 from CB2

Credit: Amazon

EMSCO Group Greek Column Statue 

If you want something on the shorter side, you can’t beat this resin reproduction. It currently costs less than $50, looks like fancy granite, and is super lightweight—so very easy to move around from spot to spot—if you like to constantly restyle your things.

Buy: EMSCO Group Greek Column Statue, $74.25 $49.94 from Amazon

Credit: Chairish

Antique Alabaster Carved Design Squared Top Pedestal

Truthfully, if you want something vintage stone or alabaster, it won’t come cheap. I’d set an alert on Facebook Marketplace for those key words and hope for the best. You can also shop resale sites like Chairish, but again, staying local is best to save on shipping.

Buy: Antique Alabaster Carved Design Squared Top Pedestal, $1,495.00 $375.00 from Chairish

Credit: TRNK

Place Pedestal

This steel pedestal’s geometry is really stunning. I’d top this one with a table lamp or a dried floral arrangement featuring dramatic pampas grass.

Buy: Place Pedestal, $455.00 from TRNK

Credit: Etsy

White Satin Laminate Pedestal

Store display specialists that sell on Etsy often offer simple pedestals for decent prices. This made-to-order rectangular style would work well in a more modern, minimalist setting.

Buy: White Satin Laminate Pedestal, Starting at $159.00 for a 3-foot model from Etsy

Credit: Apt Deco

Tall Faux Wood Pedestal

This faux burl wood baby is quite the looker. Just imagine how great this pedestal would look topped with a classic bust in your living room.

Buy: Tall Faux Wood Pedestal, $225.00 from Apt Deco

Credit: Terrain

Three Leg Plant Stand

Technically, this teak design is labeled a plant stand. In the larger, 40-inches tall size though, it comes pretty close to a pedestal in my book. Try this one in a rustic-style smaller space, since its base is just about 15-inches wide.

Buy: Three Leg Plant Stand, Starting at $148.00 at Terrain