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Low or high; glass or wood; large or small – the choices we face when it comes to selecting the perfect coffee table are endless. Whether you intend for your coffee table to stand out or to blend in; to match the surroundings or completely juxtapose your decoration, a coffee table can pull together a room in a kind of harmony not possible with most other furniture. And not only do they hold this elemental design function, but they are useful too! Born from their use as a table on which to rest a coffee, the name ‘coffee table’ is now generally assigned to any kind of table which lives in the living room – traditionally in front of the sofa, though some represent more of a side table besides a sofa or armchair. In short, the coffee table becomes the centre of the room and will often hold everything from your mug of a coffee to a glass of wine, a full meal, or a selection of aptly named “coffee table books”.
What are the key benefits of having a coffee table?
A lot of our members have coffee tables but are unaware of the extent of the benefits they provide. While obviously able to hold all manner of items, coffee tables can become the focal point of a room through a few clever tricks:
- Embrace a selection of textures and heights. If everything on your table sits at one level, the result can be fairly one-dimensional; however when you start adding different levels and styles of object, the coffee table can pop as a design feature. Our favourite suggestions include adding a vase of flowers or a potted plant, some books, and a selection of coasters which juxtapose the material of the coffee table.
- Keep them low and close to the sofa, with just enough room to walk between them but still close enough that the coffee table can act as a footstool – an extra benefit to having a coffee table, and one which is best enjoyed with a hot drink and a good film!
- Use your coffee table as a means to embrace the design choice of the room. By this, we mean look around and decide what style of room you’re in – then use your coffee table to really make an impact. If you’re embracing a minimalistic modern feel, choose a very basic coffee table with hidden levels and shelves. If your room is more traditional, select an old wooden coffee table which creates an impact.
For those looking to make their own coffee table
Many of our members love a challenge – particularly when it comes to DIY and home accessories. If you can’t find your perfect coffee table on the market or in high quality retailers, you have a real opportunity to create your own – using a combination of natural materials and store-brought features for ease. One of the best ways to make your own table is with a large piece of material – likely a wood or metal base – which you can cut to size and design in your required shape. We then recommend that you purchase the legs separately - essentially to ensure safety more than anything else – and fix them properly, consulting with some how-to guides or the instructions included with the legs.
How much should I spend on a good coffee table?
The beauty of coffee tables is that their function is so simple and so basic, that you really don’t need to spend loads in order to get a good quality finish. Of course there are retailers out there who will try and sell you a very cheaply made and low quality product for what they term a “bargain”, but provided you are firm about the quality you want and shop smart, you should be able to pick up a coffee table for a decent price. Top Tip: Second hand coffee tables can actually make for a really rustic finish and may be just what you’re looking for, so be sure to look at used products as well as brand new ones – and that includes looking into tables made with reclaimed wood and other second hand materials!