The history of the console table is an interesting and rich one. It’s believed that the origins of this piece of furniture are in French and Italian furniture design. Large console tables were a must-have in aristocratic mansions and palaces in the late 17th century and throughout the 18th century. They had theatrical designs with intricately carved details and delicate gilding.
Originally, console tables had a half-moon shaped top on two legs and they were attached to walls using S brackets called consoles. That gives us a clue regarding the name that we have become accustomed to.
The brackets allowed the original console tables to look as if they were freestanding pieces. There are still a few such designs even today. However, most modern console tables no longer rely on brackets and are able to fully support themselves.
When they were first introduced, console tables were mainly decorative furniture pieces. They didn’t really have any functionality linked to their designs. In time, they gradually became more and more practical while preserving their decorative characteristics.
Console tables later started to feature four legs instead of only two. This allowed them to rest against a wall or the back of a sofa without needing brackets or additional support. They also evolved to be both useful and decorative.
The console tables of the 17th and 18th century were often ordered in sets in two or four together with matching mirrors and stools. Such sets are also available today.
One of the main roles of the initial console tables was to create symmetry in a space and to help create a harmonious decor through matching features and design details.
Console tables are interesting because they’re a sort of hybrid furniture piece. A console table is both a decorative piece and a functional design element. It can include storage or can come with matching accessories. What do you use a console table for in your home?