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The Console Table- Origins and Development

console table- styylish


The console table started off as merely a decorative furniture piece. It has gone through multiple evolutions, proving its functionality and purpose over time.

Back in the day, console tables used to come with matching stools, mirrors, and beautifully intricate details, making them an absolute must in palaces and aristocratic mansions.

Giltwood Console Table
Giltwood Console Table, Munich 18th century, Available on Styylish.

From swinging between quite minimal in appearance to sometimes being extravagantly over-the-top, console tables are best described as truly versatile. They also play a very important role in the hierarchy of the ‘table family.

But where did they come from?

The Origins of the Console Table

France was the first to witness the creation of the console table during the 17th century. It was first introduced there as a small, ornamental piece of furniture with theatrical designs and fine, sophisticated details. Some part of the origins of console tables also lies in Italian architecture and furniture design.

It became an integral part of any room’s decoration and was found in almost every affluent household.

Originally, console tables were shaped like a half-moon or a crescent that was affixed to the walls with the help of a curved bracket known as a ‘console.’ The brackets mainly served the purpose of supporting the table top. French architects gave these half-moon shaped tables little legs in the front to make them appear as free-standing.

The King of France, Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, is majorly accredited for popularising the console table. That’s mainly because this beautiful piece of decorative furniture was a mainstay of the King’s royal courts as well as the Palace of Versailles

The fashion of grand consoles particularly experienced a major boost during the King’s reign, where these tables were designed in pairs and complemented by matching mirrors.

Soon enough, console tables became a true embodiment of ‘Rococo,’ which is a uniquely theatrical and ornamental style of décor and architecture. This style mainly characterizes glides, curves, asymmetry, and serpentine lines. The Rococo style first gained massive success in France, after which its popularity spread in England and different parts of Europe.

French Console Table
18th century French Console Table. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Evolution of Console Tables

Console tables initially displayed a great deal of regality. Given their exorbitant prices and dramatic appeal, console tables were majorly reserved for the nobles and the rich in France.

Initially, the original console tables featured a half-moon shape that stood on top of two legs. These legs were attached to the wall behind them with the help of consoles.

Soon enough, these tables also started featuring four legs instead of two that prevented the need for brackets or any form of additional support.

Biedermeier Console Table- styylish
Biedermeier Console Table, German 1820, walnut veneer. Available on Styylish.

Console tables were still very popular in the 19th century.

During the Biedermeier period in Austria and Germany the console table design was unpretentious and stood out for its geometric form and exquisite wood veneer


The Modern Console Table

They successfully made their way into the world of décor and design. The tables today are also higher and wider than before, usually with a square or a rectangular shape and shallow tops.

What’s so different about the modern console table as compared to the one that sprung to popularity in the early 18th century?

Apart from the shape and size, there are hundreds of new variants, designs, and patterns of the modern console table today. The difference is mainly due to modern construction methods.

However, one simply can’t overlook the beauty and uniqueness of antique furniture, which is truly one of its kind. From durability and strength to true extravagance, the antique console table has a bit of everything.

Furthermore, this purely ornamental furniture serves today many purposes and does not only have a decorative, aesthetic appeal.

These tables have greatly managed to preserve their baroque qualities and characteristics, but at the same time, they’ve become highly functional and practical.

There are so many additional ways of using the humble console table and make the most of its usability.

Modern Console Table. Source: A Blissful Nest.


The Ultimate Bar for a Party

There’s no reason why you can’t use it as a bar for a party at home.

These tables are great for arranging a mini bar.

Bar arrangement
Example of a modern console table used as a bar. As seen on Wayfair.

Instant Makeup Vanity

Many women prefer keeping a table in their bedrooms where they can easily transform it into an instant makeup vanity. Simply attach a mirror on top, place a lamp for added lighting, and arrange your makeup on the table top.

Entry Table in the Hallway

Need something minimalistic but fashionable to jazz up the hallway? A console table is a great option that you can further adorn with the help of other decorative items and objects.

Storage Essentials

French Antique Console Table
Antique French Console Table, 1800. Available on Styylish.

Who would’ve thought that something as intricate and sophisticated as this could serve as a storage space?

That’s the beauty of this furniture type; you can use it as a stylish storage option. Just place a console with a shelf and drawer in an otherwise wasted space.


Choose the Right one for Your Home

There is a lot of options to choose from if you are looking to add a stylish and unique console table in your home décor.

From modern ones to the vintage variety and to traditional wooden tables, pick the one that best compliments your interior décor and design.

A console table is definitely a true piece of art.

It’s a beautiful addition to any room and a great way to make a big style statement!

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