Console Tables 101
What is a console table?
A console table is a long narrow table roughly the height of a dining table that generally serves an entryway, living room, or dining room.
A true chameleon and versatile piece, the console table is the ideal piece of furniture wherever you need extra storage, a landing pad, or a place to put a lamp.
How is a console table used?
A console table is handy near a front door as the extra tabletop storage space is a perfect catch-all to set keys and mail. Entryway consoles often have a mirror above for quick hair and makeup touch ups before leaving the house.
Also popular in a dining room as a sideboard for placing platters of food, the console table can act as a buffet.
They also make a fine addition to a living room, allowing another surface to place a lamp, books, and décor. Console tables are sometimes referred to as sofa tables when they appear behind a sofa, often with a pair of matching lamps for a traditional look.
Is there an average height for a console table?
Console table height averages about 30”.
What’s the difference between a console table and a side table?
A console table is larger, more narrow, and serves a different purpose than a side table. A side table is small and offers a place to rest a drink next to a sofa or chair. A console table can hold many items (especially if it has shelves) and sometimes is versatile enough to be used as a desk in a home office setup (just pull up a chair) or below a mounted or standing TV screen.
Where are console tables used?
Using a console table in a dining room makes sense when the room is large enough to warrant an additional piece of furniture. Honestly, I've seen many dining rooms with console tables crammed in when there's really not enough room for them -- or any particular need. We all know the feeling of falling in love with a piece of furniture and being determined to squeeze it in because we want it to fit, not because it really does. Or, we see a photo on Pinterest and must have that piece in our homes – no matter what. Remember that even the most beautiful console table won't look good unless you have enough space.
What a console table brings to a dining space
A console table brings a valuable additional surface to place lighting and home décor pieces.
Most rooms can benefit from ambient lighting in the form of table lamps, and without a console, a dining room is lit only by overhead pendant(s) or recessed lights. Adding soft light with shaded lamps is the best way to bring a sense of intimacy to any dining space.
How to style a table in a dining space
Styling for a dining room console ought to be kept simple. If the console and room are large, a pair of matching gourd lamps with ample shades plus a striking piece of art or round mirror will look stately.
If your space is more modern, a lower console table in a Mid-Century Modern style will deliver the look you need. Top it with an interesting lamp and a large square piece of abstract art. Whatever style is yours, leave the console top mostly empty, as you'll want the space to serve food at your next get-together.
Entryways can be tricky. Many of us have entries that just can’t handle a console table due to size. But if you’ve got the room (at least 48” of wall space is ideal) then you can probably fit an entry console into your life.
Check for front door clearance (most consoles average about 18” in depth). You’ll want to be sure you can fully open and close your front door without hitting the console. If 18” deep is pushing it, look for an ultra-narrow console table (yes, they exist!). We’ve seen them at 12” -- or even less.
What a console table brings to an entryway
The entryway console table is a practical waystation for keys, dog leashes, mail and any other random items that come into your home on a daily basis. But aside from its practicality, the entry console serves as the entrée into your home, a gracious statement that one has arrived. It can be a bit disconcerting to walk directly into a room with no vestibule or entry. So even if you think you don’t have room for a console, pull out your tape measure and get to measuring. You just might surprise yourself!
The entryway console table is a practical waystation for keys, dog leashes, mail and any other random items that come into your home on a daily basis.
How to style a table in an entryway
I’m a big believer in putting a large round mirror over an entry console. If you want to do a quick hair and makeup check, this is the spot for it. Guests will appreciate it when upon entry to your party they can give themselves a quick check as well. As with a dining console, leave some empty space on top for the unexpected bouquet of flowers.
Bedroom console tables are often an alternative to a dresser or when you just want something below a mounted TV screen, or to hold a TV screen on a stand.
In a large primary bedroom, sometimes there’s an extra wall that needs something but you already have a dresser on another wall. The bedroom console table can hold an additional lamp for more ambient light or just a surface for pretty décor. If you have a console table with shelves, attractive storage boxes of mementos can find a home, and if you’re short on closet space, try nice-looking boxes to store additional pairs of shoes.
What a console table brings to a bedroom
Any time you have enough space for a console table in a bedroom, you have an opportunity to create a sense of coziness. Try adding a large basket with extra throws and pillows if your console has an open frame. You can also place an ottoman or stool underneath and a round mirror above to make your console into an instant vanity.
How to style a table in a bedroom
With so much versatility, a bedroom console can transform into a desk for a quick check of your email before bed. Just pull up a chair and perch your laptop for a little work-from-home at your leisure. Be sure you’ve chosen a console table with open space underneath and a 30” height for greatest comfort. Add a desk lamp and you’re ready for anything.