What should I do to make my "aquarium stand" look nicer?
October 2, 2012 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of setting up a planted aquarium and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the furniture it will be sitting on from an aesthetic standpoint.

I live in an apartment that I've done my best to decorate to my somewhat quirky taste given its rather outdated trimmings. [Pic--please forgive my bad photography. You're free to make fun of my stuffed owl pillow.]

On a lonely wall I have an old (Queen Anne?) desk that belonged to my parents that has nice lines but is currently finished in a deep cherry stain that I'm not fond of. [Pic--sorry for the flash, I live on a glacier in Central New York with shite lighting.]

On this desk will be the 6.6 gallon aquarium with black substrate, green plants, a rock or two, and tiny red fish (Bororas brigittae, if you're curious.) On the wall above the aquarium I will be hanging a Moby Dick postertext.com poster with a white matte and skinny black wooden frame.

The obvious solution would be to paint the desk black, but I've got a lot of black going on in that room and I'm looking for opinions on alternatives. I don't want to distract from the aquarium, which I'm envisioning as the focal point. My only other idea is to glaze the desk with a silvery finish over black, but I'm not convinced.
posted by xyzzy to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Maybe a long table cloth? You can play with color (i.e. Change it if your impulse doesn't thrill you, for a lot less hassle than painting a desk) and hide aquarium supplies beneath the desk, neatly out of sight.
posted by Michele in California at 8:43 AM on October 2, 2012

Could you do it in a soft grey colour instead of a hard black. You could even distress it a little.

Like say here.

Benjamin Moore does some beautiful greys, you can get warm or cool ones depending on what matches your decor/tank.

Another option would be to paint it a bright colour as your room looks very monochromatic say the same red as the fish. A nice shiny red with the black and the green of the plants would look great together.

Also I love your owl pillow.
posted by wwax at 8:49 AM on October 2, 2012

I'm about to do the exact same thing! My plan is to put an aquarium mat underneath so it doesn't damage anything (although now a tablecloth seems like a great idea, given the water changes). I'm also going to put a black background behind the tank to make the plants pop, and I'm going with dwarf shrimp.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:12 AM on October 2, 2012

Came in to suggest a bright color that coordinates with the fish, but I'm liking the tablecloth idea too. Much less work and you can change it out easily if you get bored.
posted by brilliantine at 9:42 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you go with a tablecloth, have a piece of clear acrylic cut to the size of your tabletop and put the fabric under that. That way, if you want to change the fabric, you can slowly slide the acrylic sheet + tank over a bit, swap the fabric and slide the acrylic+tank back until everything is set up right again. This avoids stressing the tank's construction because a filled tank should not be lifted due the weight of the water.

The acrylic sheet makes for better cleanup too as it is way too easy for dripped aquarium water to wick into the fabric and collect under the tank where it will sit and destroy the wood surface of your table.
posted by jamaro at 10:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would go with a tablecloth if the legs were straight, but I think with the curved legs it might look a bit odd. I'll test it first, though. For storage I was going to look for an ottoman or trunk from HomeGoods to slide underneath.

I like the the idea of a warm French grey, though red is quite tempting. It's a very good idea to get a top cut, tablecloth or no--thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks, guys. :)
posted by xyzzy at 4:28 PM on October 2, 2012

Red or grey, is good, though I personally would be tempted to silver (aluminum)-leaf the table.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:40 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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