A pier table is a table designed to be placed against a wall, either between two windows[1] or between two columns.[2] It is also known as a console table (French: console, "support bracket"), although furniture historians differentiate the two types, not always consistently.[3][a]

A pier table made in Boston, Massachusetts, between 1815 and 1825.
Pier tables (console form) with pier glasses above, Gyldenholm

Above the table there was very often a tall pier glass on the wall, the two typically made to match.[4]

The pier table takes its English name from the "pier wall", the space between windows.[1][3] The table was developed in continental Europe in the 1500s and 1600s, and became popular in England in the last quarter of the 1600s.[1] The pier table became known in North America in the mid-1700s, and was a popular item into the mid to late 1800s.[1] It was common for the space between the rear legs of the pier table to contain a mirror to help hide the wall.[3] Later pier tables were designed to stand in any niche in a room.[2][5]

The pier table may often be semicircular, the flat edge against the wall.[2] Pier tables from later periods are often large and quite ornate.[2] Well-known designers such as Duncan Phyfe,[1] Robert Adam, George Hepplewhite, and Thomas Sheraton all designed and manufactured notable examples of pier tables.[2]

Over time, the pier table evolved into the sideboard.[1]


  1. ^ Furniture historian Edgar G. Miller argues for a distinction between a console table and a pier table. Pier tables are designed with a flat edge to be against the wall, whereas a console table may have any edge against the wall or be freestanding.[2] Ralph Edwards and John Gloag say console tables should only have legs at the front, and be fixed to the wall, or held in place by gravity.
  1. ^ a b c d e f Kenny et al. 2011, p. 236.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Miller 1937, p. 830.
  3. ^ a b c Hinchman 2013, p. 146.
  4. ^ Gloag, 516
  5. ^ Marshall & Leimenstoll 2010, p. 121.


  • Gloag, John, John Gloag's Dictionary of Furniture, 1990, London, Unwin Hyman, ISBN 0044407742
  • Hinchman, Mark (2013). The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Interior Design. New York: Fairchild Books. ISBN 9781609015343.
  • Kenny, Peter M.; Brown, Michael K.; Bretter, Frances F.; Thurlow, Matthew A. (2011). Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780300155112.
  • Marshall, Patricia Phillips; Leimenstoll, Jo Ramsay (2010). Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color. Chapel Hill, N.C.: North Carolina Museum of History. ISBN 9780807833414.
  • Miller, Edgar George (1937). American Antique Furniture: A Book for Amateurs. New York: Barrows.