The coffee table was born in Victorian England, but had its roots in Turkish and Japanese furniture design. One of the most functional pieces of furniture in many homes, the coffee table serves as stage, serving area, desk and foot stool—sometimes all at once! Finding the right coffee table requires finding the right balance of form, function and style.
Grab a tape measure. The surface of the table should be level with the seat cushions of your sofa or love seat. Also, your coffee table should be no more than one half to two thirds of the length of your sofa.
Don’t feel trapped by the classic coffee table rectangle. Tables with rounded corners are perfect if you have toddlers, and circular tables go hand in hand with sectional seating.
Coffee tables, more than other furniture, are made from a wide range of building materials. Wood, metal, glass and even plastic have all been used to create stunning pieces. Let your imagination go wild!
To help blend the new table into its surroundings, pick out distinctive shapes, patterns or furniture details in your living room. A coffee table that reflects these elements will complement the rest of the room.
In the bathroom, ceiling lighting takes a back seat to vanity task lighting. Call attention to your ceiling with dramatic fixtures like a short chandelier or recessed lighting.
While rectangular tables are classic, other shapes have their advantages as well. Round tables go well with sectional seating. Coffee tables with rounded corners or an oval shape help protect young children. Square tables provide maximum surface area.
Remove some of the clutter from your coffee table, by choosing one with built in storage. Shelves are perfect for books, drawers for remotes and cabinets for blankets or board games.
If you frequently entertain, consider a coffee table that is extendable or has drop leaves. This type of table will do double duty when you go from everyday activities to party mode.
Coffee tables are available in many colors and finishes. Natural wood finishes will complement a traditional room, while bold colors or glass will flatter a contemporary décor.
The coffee table is the unsung hero of the family and living rooms. Dinner table, desk, serving area and display stage—your coffee table will be asked to perform many roles. Before you go in search of the perfect coffee table, stop to consider your needs and the space you’re trying to fill.
Coffee tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are a few basic rules for sizing your coffee table: The height of the table should be about the same height as the seat cushions of your sofa; the length of the table should be about one half to two thirds of the length of the sofa; and there should be about two to three feet of space between the coffee table and the seating.
With that said, remember that these are just guidelines. A taller table might feel more comfortable, while a bigger table might be more practical.
Since its first appearance, the rectangular coffee table has been a classic. There are, however, other options. Square tables are currently popular as they maximize surface area and create a nice contrast to other rectangular shapes in the room. Circular tables are perfect for high traffic areas, as they don’t have corners to slow guests down. Oval tables or ones with rounded corners are perfect for those with small children.
Although coffee tables are inherently functional, clever designers have managed to squeeze even more usefulness out of them. A coffee table that extends or has drop leaves can stay petite for day-to-day use and play with the big boys when you’re entertaining. Storage is another area where coffee tables excel—shelves, drawers and cabinets are all available (and useful) options. Whether it’s TV remotes or comfy quilts, your coffee table will be able to store your stuff neatly.
Although the function of coffee tables has changed little since the first Charles Dickens novel thumped down on one, the concept of what makes a coffee table is constantly evolving. One of the hottest trends in coffee tables is the multi-tiered surface. Varied surface heights create visual interest and allow you to assign different functions to different parts of the table. When is a coffee table not a coffee table? When it’s several smaller tables grouped together. Grouping smaller tables can add flexibility and create a focal point for your room. Make sure your have plenty of space, however: this look can get claustrophobic in a smaller area.