Literally “half moon” in French, demi-lune tables are–simply put–semicircular. They make up part of the broader category of console tables, or tables designed to be pushed up against a wall. Demi-lunes tend to be relatively small and versatile, as they’re designed to go in a hallway, or beside beds and sofas. Depending on the period, a demi-lune table has three or four legs and can also come with storage space beneath the tabletop. The concept may seem highly specific, but demi-lune tables come in a wide range of models and have evolved as much as any other piece of furniture throughout the history of design.
The concept became popular during the reign of Louis XVI, so the most notable early models are in the style named after him. Simple and elegant, the demi-lunes of this period were usually made of mahogany. They had straight lines, four legs, and were decorated with modest floral carvings. Often they had a small drawer or two below the tabletop. A neoclassical take on the demi-lune table came next, drawing influences from England, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. Some of these stood on three legs, which were often tapered or fluted like ancient Greek and Roman columns.
The early Louis XVI and neoclassical models gave birth to a range of designs that could also be called antique. These include Georgian demi-lunes, which have boxy features and adhere to rigid mathematical proportions, Adams style demi-lunes, which have softer curves and a more graceful feel, and Victorian demi-lunes, which are fuller and more voluptuous.
The classic demi-lune table comes in one of the fine woods and refined concepts of antique design styles. But that’s not to say that modernist styles haven’t provided their own takes. The Art Deco aesthetic inspired a range of diverse interpretations of the demi-lune. One notable example is a 1930s design in walnut, with a single demi-lune post replacing the legs, giving the table a pedestal-like feel.
More recently, in a revival of the same early 20th century style, designers Ingela Norén and Daniel Grant have created a demi-lune with a pair of splayed legs at the front that makes for a sort of anchoring triangle; classic Deco geometries cover the legs and accent the edge of the table, and the top is painted to give the effect of an exceptionally wavy tree-grain.
Variations on the Demi-lune
One common variation is the drop-leaf demi-lune. As the name indicates, a section of the table can be folded up to complete the circle, or collapsed to push the table against the wall; so, technically it’s a full-sized table that can pass for a demi-lune.
Another variation is the shelved demi-lune, which adds a half-circle shelf or two below the tabletop. There are also demi-lune chests and commodes, which provide the added benefit of semicircular storage.