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Console Table Considerations

If storage space is at a premium in your home or you're looking for an instant way to create a new look without rearranging furniture, a console table may be exactly what you need. Learn more about what these pieces are and how they help make decorating easy.

What is a console table?

A console table is a long piece of furniture that's about the same height as a dining table or desk. Where it really differs is in its depth. Console tables are typically shallow, sometimes 12 inches or less, which helps them fit well into compact spaces like hallways, entryways, and even behind your sofa. They provide storage space and decorative flair without having a large footprint of floor space.

What console table styles and features can I choose?

One of the great things about console tables is that they're not just about looks. Many of these pieces have functional details that can help you make better use of some unused spaces in your home. The following features can provide convenience and style.

  • Drawers below the console table's top help you organize essentials and keep them ready to grab at a moment's notice. Drawers are especially handy if you're planning to place your console table in an entryway. That way, they can hold keys, wallets, gloves, and other necessities in an accessible spot. An entryway console table is a great place to arrange a decorative tray for the day's mail, too.
  • Shelves typically extend across the legs of the console table, creating lower levels of storage for books or space for decorative displays. You can also add small boxes or baskets to a shelf for concealed organization.
  • Distressed finishes are a feature that makes new materials look old. This gives the console table a more rustic, timeworn look. Elements like intentional scratches and dings or areas where paint or finish looks like it's been rubbed off are common distressing techniques.
  • Flip-top console tables have tabletops that either flip open to reveal storage space within or flip open to create a larger tabletop when you want to increase its surface area.
  • Casters are small wheels on the bottom of each leg of the console table. They make it easy to roll the table from room to room. Many casters lock so the table doesn't move once you have it in place.
  • Pedestal console tables feature tops held up by a single column, or pedestal, instead of legs. This can keep the table and the area it's in feeling visually lighter because four separate legs aren't occupying the floor space. Pedestal console tables can also have somewhat of a traditional or even stately feel, especially if their center columns are carved or embellished.

How do I decorate a console table?

Display your personality by decorating the table. In an entry or hallway, it's common to hang a mirror above a console table. Here are a few other designer tips on decorating a console table while keeping it functional.

  • Symmetrical vignettes: Symmetrical decorating soothes the eye as soon as you walk through the door. Place two of the same items, such as a pair of table lamps or decorative candles, on each end of the table. Or flank a vase of flowers or mirror between two similar lamps. It's all about balance.
  • Asymmetrical vignettes: Asymmetrical decorating is also about balance. Style both sides of the table with different types of items in the same color or material. They don't need to match in size or height as in symmetrical arrangements.
  • Under the table: The space under the table should be decorated and kept neat, as well. Baskets or precise piles of books go on shelves. Or, store two similar ottomans underneath for extra seating.

Versatile console tables work well around the house. If you're looking to add some extra color and decoration behind your sofa or in an entryway, consider a console table to invigorate the space. Measure to figure out your available space, and enjoy choosing a style and finish you enjoy.

Related: Adding your console table to the entryway? Check out these Entryway Storage Ideas for extra inspiration.