What is a Console Table? Plus, How to Use One — From Entryway to Living Room

Console Table for Room
Console tables are some of the most versatile furniture pieces in the home — they can do just about anything you need from them. Whether you're after some additional storage space by the front door, a focal point behind a floated sectional, or a dining room accent table to show off some of your favorite home decor.

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.

Console Table in a living room
Credit: Madison Modern Home

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.

Console Table Desk
Credit: Madison Modern Home

Where are console tables used?

Dining room

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.

Console Table Dining Room
Credit: Madison Modern Home

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.

Dining Room Console Table
Credit: Madison Modern Home

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.

Console Table Entryway
Credit: Madison Modern Home

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.

Shop this article
No items found.

Living room 

A console table in a living room makes sense when you have enough room for it AND it has a specific purpose. Trying to cram a console table into a small space isn’t usually the best idea.

Console Table in a Living Room
Credit: Madison Modern Home

You don’t want too many random pieces of living room furniture lining every wall, so plan carefully and add a console if – and only if – you can meet the above criteria (space and purpose). If you’ve met those requirements, congratulations on your console table!

Now, let’s see what we can do with it. 

What a console table brings to a living room

A console in your living space brings an opportunity to add stylish décor, a place to house books and collections, a surface for additional lighting and a landing pad for a TV. If it’s solely for a media console, keep the top relatively clear. A simple stack of coffee table books and a couple of low vases won’t get in the way of TV watching. If your console is essentially a bookcase (because it comes with shelves) remember to mix in some decorative accessories for a styled look.

How to style a table in a living room

The console table I have in my own living room houses a vintage table lamp, a stack of three coffee table books, a vase, a candle and a foo dog sculpture. I’ve arranged these items at different heights to create interest and a sense of balance (not symmetry, but visual balance). Above the table is a framed Miles Davis poster from the 1970s. I’d recommend any variation of this décor combo that fits with your style – whether it’s transitional, eclectic, modern farmhouse, BoHo or Mid Century modern.

Want to Create Your Dream Home?
Get the Inside Look, our free weekly newsletter that delivers curated home decor and furniture picks, expert design advice, and more. Join 4,000+ subscribers.
Enter your email to sign up
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

3 console table styling tips  

1. Embrace your style

Ideally, wood tones should match whenever possible, as it gives your room a pulled-together look. But that isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. If you’re trying your hand at interior design for the first time, it’s safer to get close in matching materials. But if you’re an old hand at this, feel free to mix it up.

I have multiple wood tones in my own home, but the overall scheme is pulled together by a warm red and blue color palette, so it all feels seamless from room to room.

Mixing up materials while maintaining an overall look-and-feel is the best way to get a unique style profile – one that is decidedly YOU. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t like something you can always paint it or change it in some way to fit your taste. 

2. Think about your console table decor

When it comes to console table decor, I love to place large books, interesting decorative items, table sculptures, candles in candle holders or in glass containers, bouquets of flowers or branches, vases, trays and baskets. There are also useful practical items like mail sorting stands and bowls for keys. In a bedroom, you could place framed photos and a jewelry box. In a dining room, I’d place a large bowl of fruit or a clear vase of leafy branches. 

3. Use a console table against the back of a sofa

Console tables can also work against the back of a sofa. This can work well if your sofa is floated in the middle of a room rather than placed against a wall. 

If you’re going for a traditional look, your table must be the exact height of the sofa back. Measure the back of the sofa (don’t include the height of pillows or back cushions, just the sofa back itself).

If your style is more modern, a lower console works best – especially if it’s got shelving for books. Sleek profiles look best in modern rooms, so feel free to go low.

Meet the author

At Living Cozy we produce content with leading furniture and interior design experts. This guide was written by Robin DeCapua — a home staging and decor specialist with over a decade of experience. Robin is the owner of Madison Modern Home, one Los Angeles' leading home staging companies.

Written by
Robin DeCapua
Owner and Designer at Madison Modern Home
The Inside Look
The email newsletter guaranteed to bring you the latest brands, products and tips to live you best life at home. Delivered every Friday. Join 4,000+ subscribers.

Thank you! You're now subscribed to the Inside Look.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

About Living Cozy

Your go-to source for modern homeware and furniture brands.
We bring together industry experts and the people behind the brands we share our homes with to give you unique insights into the world of furniture, homeware and interior design.

Expert writers and contributors

Wilfredo Emanuel
Mike Fretto
Karen Rohr
Yoselin Castro
On Living Cozy, you'll find advice and insights from furniture and interior design experts to help make your house a home.