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Your Guide to the World of Console Tables

Your Guide to the World of Console Tables
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The hardest-working pieces in the furniture catalog, console tables, also known as sofa tables, can do just about anything. Their variety of sizes and range of functions means they’re highly versatile players. Use them for storage or as staging areas for antiques, as buffet tables at your next brunch or as bar carts. They’re totally indispensable for gracious daily living—and the sine qua non of entertaining!

Photo by Bjorn Wallander/OTTO

Photo by Bjorn Wallander/OTTO

Small Wonder

These diminutive, “no muss, no fuss” styles can fit with ease into nooks and crannies—between two windows in the living room, for instance, or along the wall in a narrow hallway. They’re ideal perches for a pretty bowl or tray to hold your keys and mobile phone, or as a cozy base for a small vase of seasonal flowers or branches throughout the year.

Photo by Patrick Cline / Lonny

Photo by Patrick Cline / Lonny

Parsons Table

Modernist but highly versatile, these clean-lined, squared-off geometrics work especially well between two sofas placed back-to-back. They don’t contribute much in the way of visual clutter, making them a nice counterpoint to more-elaborate pieces. And because they don’t hog attention, anything you put on them will have instant star quality.

Photo by Patrick Cline / Lonny

Photo by Patrick Cline / Lonny

Plastic Fantastic

Sleek and see-through, these barely there acrylic pieces have a real talent for showing off sparkly, metallic, and brightly colored objets. (One caveat: Because things “float” on them, hulking vases or that giant Buddha you picked up in Bali might look out of place.) They reflect and absorb light—magical when topped with a pretty lamp or two. And even though they’re quite mod, they work well with practically any style of furnishings.

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

Plinth

Whether graceful and curvy or chunky and minimal, these make an attention-grabbing staging area for titanic floral arrangements or a single oversize vase. Heighten the effect with a pair, each highlighted with a sconce. They’re powerful in an entryway, especially as the first thing you see when you come in the door.

Photo by Alexander James/Interior Archive

Photo by Alexander James/Interior Archive

High and Low

This versatile player—something of a stationary bar cart—can be a demure staging area by day, then the life of the party come evening. The upper shelf is great for a row of pillar candles or lanterns, with a couple of stacks of art and travel books underneath. Before guests arrive, swap in glasses, an ice bucket filled with bubbly, snacks, and cocktail napkins up top. Below, have more wine and glassware at the ready.

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

Bookshelf

While the name suggests an ideal place to house a small library, there’s nothing stopping you from using these multitiered units as storage workhorses in the entryway. In a larger living room, they make wonderful sofa consoles. In the dining room, use one as a sideboard, placing the buffet on top and plates, flatware, and napkins below.

Photo by William Waldron/Interior Archive

Photo by William Waldron/Interior Archive

Foxy Boxy

Highly decorative and in myriad styles, these pieces of room jewelry draw so much attention, you can leave them to go it solo, sans adornments. But what’s the fun in that? Employ their considerable talents as roosts for a weekend brunch or cocktail party, or place a pair of lamps on top in a wallpaper-clad hallway for a moment of extra glamour.

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