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console versus side tables
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What Is the Difference between a Console Table and Side Table?

What Is a Console Table?

A console table is wide, fairly shallow and roughly as tall as a regular table or desk. A console table is often placed against a wall – but when it's placed against the back of a sofa, it's called a sofa table.

console table
Magnolia Home Bobbin sofa table For any location except the back of a sofa, a console table's height and width can be whatever suits your space best. 
Tahoe II console table

The height of a sofa table should be no taller than the sofa back, and the width shouldn't be greater than 6 inches at either end of the sofa.

mountainier sofa table Because console tables often stand alone in an entryway, hallway or home office, you can get creative with unique styles and materials
Livingston console table

A combined wood and metal console table with drawers or shelves can provide extra storage, while one with an unusual base and a glass or mirrored top is ideal for displaying special objects.

What is a Side Table?

Just as its name suggests, a side table is placed beside a piece of furniture a person would sit on, such as a couch or a bed. Its main purpose is to ensure that essential items are within easy reach.

Magnolia Home ellipse end table
jaxon end table

When placing side tables beside chairs and sofas, it's important to get the height right. A side table that's too tall or too short not only looks out of place, but it's also awkward to use.

A side table should be no taller than the furniture arm beside it and no lower than the seat; the best size is around three inches shorter than the arm. 
holden settee

For armless seating, either use a side table that's the height of the seat or measure the height you and your guests need to comfortably reach for something while seated.

foundry flip flop sofa table When choosing the style and material of your side tables, remember that they aren't the focal point of your room. They usually match or complement the overall style, and are useful for introducing a new element such as color or texture.
Magnolia Home iron tresle end table That doesn't mean you can't have unmatched side tables in unusual shapes and materials, but to keep a sense of balance, choose tables of similar size and visual weight. This lets the side table fade into the background while the other, larger pieces become the focus of the room.

What Is the Difference Between a Console Table and a Side Table?

The purpose of side tables and console tables is very different. Side tables are mainly functional, serving as a surface to place items within easy reach of people sitting on couches, chairs or beds. A console table usually stands alone as a focal point and is often at least as decorative as it is functional.

ashburn console table

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