How to style console tables

Console tables are the place we put our keys and loose change on as soon as we walk through the front door. But over the years, especially more recently, they’ve really come into their own and can be found in many a home, and not just in the hallway either.

Here, we take a look at this on-trend furniture item, including the origins, common uses and ways to style them.

What are console tables?

Are traditionally slim tables that aren’t to be confused with side tables. Originating from France and Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, console tables typically stand up to 36 inches tall, and feature narrow rectangular tops. They were originally half-moon shaped, incorporated two legs and were attached to walls using brackets. Over the years, they have evolved to be more functional and less decorative pieces incorporating four legs and free-standing design.

Examples of decorative, eye-catching console tables include:

Console tables tend to be a common feature in hallways and landings because they serve a purpose without taking up too much room. Most are positioned so that they sit flush against a wall, adding to their space-saving attributes and also creating the necessary space for curved designs.

Vicky, our in-house stylist says: 

‘The console table has made a comeback for a very good reason. It’s a piece of furniture that works in most rooms and areas, including the smallest of spaces. And when you see some of the incredibly stylish design options coming through, no 21st century home is complete without a practical or statement console table. Wood, metal, marble, glass, the material options are just as vast too.’ 

Why is it called a console table?

The name reportedly stems from the brackets that were used in the 17th and 18th centuries to fix the tables into place. A certain type of brackets, ‘S’ brackets, were used, which were also called consoles. 

Can you put a TV on a console table?

It all depends on the dimensions. The general rule of thumb with choosing a TV unit is that it should be the same width or a little wider than your TV. The same principle applies to console tables. 

These days, console tables are available in the widest range of styles and sizes, much wider than ever before, with some being sturdy enough to take the weight of a TV.

What’s more, lots of them also incorporate useful storage, such as drawers, that are ideal for storing consoles and other devices. The Cruz Console Table is a prime example.

What do you put on a console table?

It’s entirely up to you!

Where it’s positioned will influence what you put on it/use it for. For instance, if you’re sticking with the traditional hallway/landing positioning, then you may just want to use it as a place for putting your keys, post or the contents of your pockets, interspersed with a few photos, if you have the space for them.

But if your console table is in the living room, you could put plants, ornaments, lamps, magazines or coffee table books on it.

In the dining room, you could use it store your cutlery (if it has drawers), recipes or baskets of fruit, veg or bread.

If it’s in the office, you could put your urgent paperwork, filing or stationery on it.

And if you happen to have one in your bedroom or dressing area, you may want to put photos, jewellery or make-up, books or your eye mask on it.

They are incredibly versatile pieces of furniture, which is most probably why they are such popular pieces of furniture!

Sleek, simple and substantial, The Valencia Console Table makes an excellent office console table. 

How do you decorate the bottom shelf of a console table?

Not all console tables have bottom shelves, but if they do, they make an excellent additional storage space. You could choose to leave this shelf empty, but then you’d be letting a prime storage area go to waste!

There is no right or wrong way of using the shelf. You could:

  • Put baskets on it – that can be used to store away all sorts of items. (Tip: lidded boxes are better for creating a clutter-free look and keeping certain possessions out of sight).
  • Pop your shoes on it – which is ideal if your console table is in the hallway.
  • Put ornaments on it – candlesticks, ornamental figures, decorative glassware etc.
  • Store your books and magazines on it – which can look really striking if they’re neatly stacked in piles. 

The list really is endless!


No longer resigned to just hallways and landings, console tables have really come into their own in recent years. We love the range of designs and seeing how our customers make them shine within their homes! Planning on doing the same? Don’t forget to show us - follow us & share your pictures using #myScShome.

Shop our full range of console tables

Published: 26th April 2022