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Guides

A Buying Guide to Console Tables

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A Buying Guide to Console Tables

 

A favourite of many interior designers, the console table is a prominent feature of many design projects. 

 

You may have heard the name, and you may even have perused them on our website, but do you know what a console table is?

 

What is a console table?

 

The console table is the side table’s more refined, older sibling. Long and narrow, they’re usually placed against a wall, the back of a sofa or the end of a bed. 

 

These versatile pieces of furniture come in various designs and are either minimal and open in design, or come with drawers and shelves.

 

What is the difference between a console table and a side table?

 

The console table is usually a stand-alone piece of furniture whereas side tables tend to stand alongside, and complement a sofa or armchair.

 

Additionally, the console table usually serves as a more decorative item than functional side tables. Think of side tables as a flat surface on which to place your cup of coffee. Console tables on the other hand exist to spruce up a space.

 

What is the purpose of a console table?

 

  • They enliven empty spaces or bare walls. Large hallways and rooms can feel sparse and cold without enough furniture. A console table – such as our gorgeously shabby chic Antoinette table – brings richness and warmth. 

 

  • They make great accent features depending on where they’re placed and how they’re styled (read on to find out to style yours).

 

 

  • Conversely, if you’re short on space, a slender console table can be used as part of a vanity set in the bedroom instead of a dressing table. 

 

Why is it called a console table?

 

The word ‘console’ is thought to be derived from the French ‘consolide’ and the Latin ‘consolidare’, meaning ‘to strengthen.’

 

The original console tables of 17th-century France consisted of a tabletop slab strengthened by two wall brackets and scroll-shaped legs. Over time, console tables evolved to be freestanding. 

 

How to style your console table

 

Here’s how to make the most of your stylish occasion table:

 

Place it behind a sofa

 

In larger living rooms, where sofas aren’t against a wall, a console table placed behind one helps soften and blend the seating area. In this position, they also provide a surface for a table lamp. 

 

Ensure the console table is roughly the same height as the sofa and slightly narrower. 

 

Display home accessories

 

When styling a console table, always consider balance. Accessories displayed on its top don’t have to be completely symmetrical, and you don’t have to use matching objects. However, matching the height of objects on either side creates harmony. 

 

Alternatively, be bold and deliberately asymmetrical by going for taller objects in one corner, graduating down to shorter ones. 

 

Decorate with a mirror

 

Console tables and mirrors complement one another perfectly. Whether you mount the mirror on the wall above, or place it directly on the table is ultimately up to you. But make sure the width of the mirror is narrower than the table. 

 

Placing home accessories either side of the mirror works well. However, be careful not to obscure too much of the mirror and once again, think about balance. We recommend matching candlesticks or lamps on either side. 

Use as a frame for artwork

 

In much the same way as the mirror, the console table provides the perfect frame for a piece of wall-mounted artwork. As with mirrors, ensure the painting is slimmer than the table beneath it. 

 

Use accessories sparingly on the table, particularly if the artwork is a bold, feature piece. Let the art do the talking!

 

. . .

 

For lovers of the Hamptons interior aesthetic, check out our guide to recreating it with our shabby chic Hamptons coffee and console tables. 

 

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @pretty_little_home 



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