What is a Console Table: The Definitive Guide for 2023

The process of designing anything great requires the following three steps – get the basics right, add your personality, and pay attention to the little details. And it’s really that last step that takes anything from looking good to amazing. In terms of designing your home, a console table will be that little detail for you. 

Due to certain naming conventions, there’s been a lot of confusion regarding what a console table actually is, which has made it harder for this lovely piece of furniture to be spoken about. However, in this article, we’re going to clear the air and equip you with everything you need to know about console tables. 

What is a Console Table

Let’s start with what a console table is not. A console table is not a side table. As the name suggests, a side table is a table that is placed next to furniture that is sat on. Its core function is to hold essential items so that they are within reach. Moving on to another misconception, a console table is not a sofa table either. Although they may share the same dimensions, a living room sofa table is restricted to be used behind sofas. 

Originating in France during the 17th century, as so much great furniture has, the console table is a wide yet moderately tall table. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact dimensions of this table but you can expect to find a console table to be 16 to 26 inches wide and 20 to 30 inches tall. These long narrow console tables are super versatile and can be used in a wide variety of locations around the house. 

Use for Console Table

One of the great things about console tables is that due to their size, you can use them however you like. Of course, this mostly depends on which room the table has been placed in, so let’s look at a few common places where you can use this table in.

  • Hallway

The hallway is usually the first area of the home that the eye is greeted to from the main door and so it deserves something that instantly establishes the overall vibe of the house. Console tables are absolutely great for that. If your hallway feels empty, a well-designed entryway console table will help fill up that empty space without going overboard. 

It can also be helpful to store and organize some of your every-day-carry items such as wallets and keys. In fact, you can take this one step further by installing a shoe rack underneath your entryway console table to organize all the footwear that goes in and out of the house.

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  • Dining Room

Moving on to the dining area, whether you have a separate room for the dining space or it's conjoined with your living room, a console table can prove to be really helpful for this area. The most common way to use it would be as an extra semi-portable table to keep things that don’t need to be on the dining table. 

For example, you can use your console table as a small and temporary bar to store liquor and glasses. A console table with storage is especially useful to keep cutlery and all essential kitchenware in one place. If you need to place your chinaware on display too then you can also consider buying a console table with shelves. 

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  • Living Room

What’s a living room without some cozy lighting? And no, we don’t mean wall lights. We’re talking about lamps. But here’s the thing, if you’re trying to create a cozy atmosphere, standing lamps usually don’t cut it. They most certainly can but table lamps are a more foolproof way of accomplishing that. Your console table can be the perfect table for such lamps.

People usually use side tables to do that but by using a console table instead, you’re giving your house that oomph that makes it unique. You can also use your console table as a TV stand or a table to keep your gaming consoles on. 

Consider buying a reclaimed wood console table to really bump up that cozy feeling.

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  • Bedroom

Bedrooms tend to be smaller than other rooms in the house so it’s important to keep furniture pieces that take up the least amount of space without sacrificing on functionality and any of the practical requirements. That is one of the reasons why you should consider swapping your desk or study table with a console table instead. 

A console table with storage built into it will also help declutter some of the mess that often piles up in bedrooms. And if nothing else, you can use it in the same way it would be in the living room– to keep lamps on or act as a TV stand. 

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Console Table Types

Since console tables are within a broad range of tables with no officially designated use case, there isn’t a clear distinction between different types of console tables. However, over the years, homeowners have adopted these tables to fit their needs and the following are just some of the roles we see the console table playing.

  • Vanity Table

Vanity tables are well known and loved by individuals that apply makeup and do other face-focused grooming activities. It goes without saying, but if you’re going to use a console table as a vanity table, you need to install a mirror and sufficient light on the table and around the room. 

One of the reasons why these tables are so good for this specific activity is because they’re built wider than some of the other types of tables, so you get more workspace to place all the required gear. 

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  • Desk

We’ve touched on this point before but let’s expand on it a bit. In the last 10 years, we’ve witnessed a lot of homeowners swapping their regular work desks for console tables and a lot of that has to do with the rise of the minimalist design aesthetic in interior design. Even in rooms where a normal desk could be used, people have opted to go for console tables.

So if you’re someone that wants to keep up with the times, feel free to hop on the trend and see how you like it. It’s certainly more lightweight and thus easier to move around, which can be helpful if you like to change up the arrangement of furniture in your house. 

If you need to store some files, you can select a console table with storage or a console table with shelves to keep them there.

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Popular Console Styles

  • Modern Console Table

Think clean lines, dark wood, and minimal bulk but with plenty of functionality, and you get the perfect modern console table that pays homage to the modern interior design style.

  • Farmhouse Console Table

The farmhouse interior design style is all about creating that simple charm of the farm, so a wooden console table with storage is key to nailing that aesthetic. 

  • Mid-Century Modern

This is one of those styles that just refuses to die and how can it? The iconic floating leg design and furniture painted in neutral tones with sudden pops of color are just so gorgeous to look at. 

The mid-century modern style also makes use of drawers so try buying a console table with drawers.

Typical Console Table Materials 

  • Wood

Wood is, undoubtedly, the most common material for most furniture pieces and it’s all because of how warm it makes any space look. If you’re getting a wooden console table, you just can’t go wrong with it. 

Extra points if it’s a reclaimed wood console table.

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  • Rattan

Rattan is a type of palm that is usually used in wicker weaves. We really love this material because it creates a very beachy aesthetic within the home. If you’re into this type of material, take it one step ahead and get a rattan console table. 

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  • Stone

Definitely a bold choice but it’s often the bold designs that end up looking like the most premium option. A stone console table is just perfect to create that type of experience. 

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How to Style a Console Table?

If you know what you want to design and how you want to design it, feel free to skip this section. However, if you’re looking to get a few ideas to create interesting designs with your console table, this section might be helpful to you.

  • Make it the Focal Point 

One of the best ways to make a really good-looking room is to always create a focal point within the room. This could be anything but some items naturally tend to grab a bit more attention such as the TV. A narrow console table, on the other hand, does not automatically grab attention but by placing it in the correct setting, you can make it the focal point of any room.

This is a really nice look because it’s so unconventional. We suggest placing it towards the side of an accent wall or a gallery wall and creating a nice color pop between both elements. You can also place suitable décor like artwork on your narrow console table to draw more attention towards it. 

  • Play with Different Sizes of Décor

Tables are a lot like the ground. They are flat surfaces that allow a lot of items to stand evenly on them without tipping over. However, they can have a very flattening effect on the room so it’s best to pair them with décor that breaks this monotony and adds more curves to the room. Books and flowers are especially great for this.

Essentially, our goal is to look for décor that varies in height and shape to create a degree of asymmetry and unevenness. Since there are no straight lines in nature, this process will help you humanize your room a bit.

  • Try Environmentally-Friendly Options

The 2010s may have seen minimalism leading the way as a design trend but with climate change becoming more relevant in our society, we’re seeing a strong push in all industries, including interior design, to create products that are in line with strong environmentally-friendly practices. 

What this means for you is that there is no better time than now to buy a rattan console table or a reclaimed wood console table. This is a design trend that is picking up and by the end of the decade, we expect it to be widespread around most American homes. 

Conclusion

Take your time experimenting with console tables. As mentioned previously, these are very versatile pieces of furniture that can be used in a lot of areas around the house. You will notice that by just shifting its location, you can completely transform the overall aesthetic of your home.

To recap, in this article, we’ve explored various aspects of console tables and how to style them in any room. 

  1. What is a Console Table
  2. Use for Console Table
  3. Console Table Types
  4. Popular Console Styles
  5. Typical Console Table Materials
  6. How to Style a Console Table