Modern Classics: The Parsons Table

Modern Classics: The Parsons Table

The Parsons table, with a table top and legs that are equal in thickness, is one of the most ubiquitous pieces of furniture in recent history. Available as a desk, dining table, coffee table, side table and even shelving, it can be found in homes across the world.

While the design's history is fairly murky, due to its simple geometric form, credit for the Parsons table is traditionally given to French designer Jean-Michel Frank. Frank taught a furniture design class at Parsons School of Art and Design. According to the New York Times, Frank challenged his students to create a table "so basic that it would retain its integrity whether sheathed in gold leaf, mica, parchment, split straw or painted burlap, or even left robustly unvarnished." The class ultimately created what they initially termed 'the T-square table', because the relationship of the legs and the top of the table resembled the popular drafting tool. The design was fabricated by one of the school's janitors and was shown at a student show.

Now, years later, a version of the Parsons table is sold by just about every furniture company, such as Walmart, Crate&Barrel, Room and Board, and West Elm. The beauty of it is the Parsons table can be made of just about any material and fit into any decor style, from classic glam to organic modern.

Read More on the Parson's table: Quick History: The Parsons Table

1. Naomi Stein refinished a salvaged Parsons desk with a bright pink coat of paint, as seen in her house tour at Design*Sponge.
2. A fabric wrapped Parsons console set as a nautical themed bar at Coastal Living.
3. A white laminate Parsons dining table surrounded by classic Eames fiberglass chairs, seen in a house tour at Martha Stewart Living.
4. This beige Parsons makes for a great neutral backdrop amongst the bright yellow chairs and decked out interior, via Apartment Therapy.
5. A chocolate Parsons dining table from West Elm.

6. A rustic modern take on the classic, this Parsons dining table is constructed of 100-150 year old deconstructed barn salvaged wood planks from factories in the Midwest. Designed by Urban Wood Goods.
7. A glossy white Parsons design contrasts nicely with the glass chandelier above and traditional interior designed by Catherine Dolen, via Design Guide.
8. A handcrafted reclaimed white oak timber coffee table from Restoration Hardware.
9. A white Parsons design is right at home in this bright, cheery office designed by Armonia Decors.
10. An offbeat room designed by Lauren Liess features a crocidile leather covered Parsons table, as seen on Liess' blog, Pure Style Home.

Quick History: The Parsons Table
From West Elm to Overstock: Parsons Tables & Desks for All Budgets & Styles
A Popular Design Classic: The Versatile Parsons Desk
The Parsons Dining Table, 10 Ways

(Images: as linked above)

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