Elements of Style: Console Tables

There are many interior décor “basics” that I should know, but don’t.  One example is the console table.  I bought a wonderful Florentine-looking console at the Urban Cottage recently, and I started wondering about it.

Where does the name “console” table come from?  What is the purpose of the console table?  (To put random knick-knacks on?  That would be my guess, but I doubt that was the original inspiration!)

According to Judith Miller’s Furniture, World Styles from Classical to Contemporary – a wonderful resource – the console table was first used in the 17th century Europe.  They were found in formal rooms and grand residences; console tables were made to display wealth, which would explain why they were (and still are) finished in ornate detail.

Trolling the web for the best of what’s out there, my Top 5 are:



(1) THE ORIGINAL:  18c French Louis XVI Giltwood Console.  Available from Le Trianon Fine Art & Antiques on 1stdibs.com.

(2) THE (NEO)CLASSIC: Petite Neo-Classic Demi-Lune Console, circa 1810.  Available from Spurgeon-Lewis Antiques on 1stdibs.com.

(3) THE EAST ASIAN: Shanxi (China) elm console, early 19c.  $12,500 from Silk Road Collection.

(4) THE CONTEMPORARY: Marble top console table with twin gilt octagonal bases, circa 1960s.  Available from Assemblage on 1stdibs.com.

(5) THE NEW MODERN: Gus Modern Stanley Console Table.  $575 from All Modern on Allmodern.com



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