A living room without a coffee table is a lot like a supermodel without lipstick, undone. Just as lipstick is a detail that can complete a look, so can the perfect coffee table. Coffee tables serve various purposes; from completing a style to storage and display, they are much needed in a space. The question is what style will work for your room. In case you choose a wooden one with thick legs, metallic with a glass top; should it be round, square or rectangular? The options are endless and can sometimes be overwhelming. My ten tips will help you break through the decision maze and point you in the direction of the perfect coffee table.
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Price points for a coffee table can range from ultra-expensive to very cheap, so before you start shopping, know how much you have to spend on it. Your overall budget should be broken down into areas such as fixtures, lighting, and furniture. The furniture line includes the sofa, end tables, chairs, and coffee table, with a larger portion allocated to the larger pieces. The good news is that you can adjust your budget a bit if you see something you love, as long as you don’t compromise on the quality of the sofa or chairs.
As you design the plan for your living room, think about the best shape for the space. Do you have children or pets? Is it a large room or is it small and cramped? A round or oval coffee table is ideal if you have children or pets. The curved edge means that a sharp corner won’t hurt anyone if someone falls or bumps into it. Using a rectangular shape and leaving 30 inches between the TV console and the coffee table will give you the right amount of walking space between the two pieces. A rounded one gives a little more room to get through, as it will curve away from the TV console.
As with the shape, you will need to determine the size you need. The height of a coffee table is important. It should be no closer than 1 to 2 inches from the seat of your sofa. The standard height of a table is 16 to 18 inches and it goes well with a typical sized sofa. A taller sofa requires a taller table, one that is 20 to 21 inches high. The higher table will also be more convenient if you are entertaining a lot, as it will be easier for guests to set down a glass or plate.
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Another important factor is knowing what the main use will be. Will the table be more decorative or will it provide storage? How much storage will be enough? Tables can come with shelves or drawers to store everything from children’s toys to those magazines you’ll read someday. Regardless of whether storage is needed, there’s still a good chance you’ll want to be able to fit a drink or plate without the risk of tipping over. Choose a piece that can hold drinks and snack plates with ease. If decoration is more the purpose, you can focus on one with lines and texture in a material you like.
Speaking of materials, coffee tables can also come in a wide variety. There are industrial ones in metal. Materials such as glass combined with brass or steel offer a more sophisticated look. Whether it’s oak, maple, cherry or walnut, the wood has its own feel. Oak and maple are on the more casual side, while walnut and cherry have a more formal look. Consider using Lucite, it will make your table appear to float in the room and offers a more modern appeal.
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Formal, casual, modern or vintage; These are all styles to consider when shopping for your coffee table. If you prefer a contemporary look, choose a stylish metal table with a glass top. If country casual is your speed, a rustic oak table would be perfect. Choose a round table with turned wooden legs for a romantic feel. There are many styles to choose from, just use the room’s decorating scheme as a guide.
Let me emphasize the importance of scale. Every piece in your room should be scaled appropriately. For example, a heavy, rough and overstuffed comfortable sofa paired with a dainty coffee table found in your grandmother’s attic is not the right scale. Combine a soft sofa with a large table instead. The two pieces, being of equal weight and size, will be more in scale with each other. It is best to combine the delicate coffee table with a smaller and more delicate sofa or loveseat. Scale is simply about the size and visual weight of objects in a room being comparable.
Sometimes thinking outside the box allows you to find the perfect coffee table that might not be a table at all. Old steam chests, cedar dressers and poufs are great alternatives to the typical coffee table. Each option offers its own eclectic appeal. Ottomans, for example, can be made of leather or beautiful fabrics that will add additional visual interest and texture to the room. They can also serve as a place to put your feet up without worrying about the table. They will work well in any high traffic family room that gets a lot of use. Often the trunks were the only way immigrants moved their lives from the old world to the new. If you’re lucky, you may have inherited an old serpentine trunk to use nostalgically in your family room creating an interesting talking point.
Who says you need to use only one table? Try a collection of tables. For an interesting look, place two sets of identical nested tables next to each other and pull each table out to expand the surface area as you wobble the tables. If your space is large and you haven’t found a table you like, place two tables side by side and create a larger table. . Another option is to select several garden stools and use them as a sofa table solution. They come in a variety of colors and patterns that would be perfect in a bright and sunny living room.
Now that you’ve decided on a budget, determined your style, functionality, size, and material, it’s time to shop. That’s the best part of decorating, right? You can shop at high-end department stores, browse flea markets, or wander through antique stores. Just remember to bring with you the measurements of the room, the available space in front of the sofa, the height of the sofa and pictures of other furniture. This will help you choose something that is to scale, matches the style, and is perfect for your room. Finding the perfect coffee table may take some effort and careful consideration, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Now, armed with these tips, searching for the perfect table can be fun and inspiring. Enjoy the search, whether it’s for a Lucite table or one that will have your guests talking, you’ll find the perfect piece for your space. More useful tips can also be found here. Are there any other tips to keep in mind when choosing a coffee table?