Coffee tables are not just long low tables placed in front of a couch to support coffee, cocktail and other beverages. Coffee tables have emerged as an essential part of living room comfort. They are durable, functional and attractive. Coffee tables found their way to the west from Ottoman Empire. Coffee tables were a common feature in the gardens and special rooms where the Turks used to drink their coffee. Coffee tables became popular in the west after the Siege of Vienna in 1683.
Contemporary or traditional, modern or rustic, glass, metal or wooden, square, rectangle, oval or round, single top or split top, coffee tables abound in a variety of shapes and sizes blending function and beauty. The style and the design of the coffee table depend much upon the purpose it seeks to serve. Coffee tables are versatile and adapt easily to a variety of uses.
Coffee table features
- Coffee tables are primarily decorative and serve to improve the decor of a room.
- Coffee tables can resolve the problem of storage space in a home. They help provide spaciousness to the interior. Games, DVDs, photo albums, magazines, books, remote controls and other items essential for living room comfort can be stowed away in the storage shelves or even storage bins that roll out from underneath a coffee table.
- In trunk style coffee tables with hinged openings, extra deep storage space can be found.
- Coffee tables are used for purposes of entertainment. Coffee tables can be moved easily for parties and used for general games and dining purposes. Large surfaced coffee tables are best options for piling food and drinks.
- Coffee tables can be pulled to a side and used as an extra seat in the event of an extra guest.
Choosing coffee table
- The size of the area seeking has to be considered first when deciding on a coffee table. Small space cannot hold a rich overbearing coffee table. This will overwhelm the room.
- Select a coffee table that fits your lifestyle. For those who rearrange the room very often, it is better to go for light weight coffee tables.
- For a home with small children, consider durability. Coffee tables that come with leather finish can be used.
- In case of hairy pets at home, a coffee table is best kept simple and straight forward and easy to clean.
- If there are toddlers and elderly people at home, opt for a coffee table sans sharp edges. Round coffee tables work best here.
- Sharp edged or glass coffee tables are unsuitable if the coffee table is to be placed in a high traffic prone area.
- Mobile coffee tables that come with wheels for easy vacuuming underneath.
- For a home lacking adequate storage facilities, coffee table with multiple storage capacity would be a good choice.
- The style of the adjoining furnishings in the room must be considered when choosing the coffee table. For a traditional room, rectangular or possible oval shaped coffee table would be suitable. The material of the other furniture in the room should be looked into. Wooden coffee table will coordinate with wooden upholstered furnishings.
- There is another way of looking at things as well; by virtue of contrast, a traditional room can sport a contemporary-looking coffee table that will help create a vibrant modern atmosphere.
- Ideally, the coffee table should be of same height as the other seats in the room.
Coffee tables are available in different shapes, sizes, colors and material types. Coffee tables are made from a variety of materials including glass, wood and metal. Modern coffee tables come in an array of materials from molded plastic to steel. Oval, round, square, rectangular, triangular, coffee tables come in a range of sizes.
Glass coffee table
A glass coffee table focuses accent to the entrance hall, reception, lobby, pool side and living room. Glass lends an airy feeling. It also allows light to pass through a space and therefore a beautiful carpet below the coffee table will not be obscured. Surface glass is easy to clean. Glass coffee tables are ideal for people who entertain a lot. Nowadays glass-topped coffee tables combined with wooden or metal bases are popular. However glass coffee tables made of regular glass (called annealed glass) break easily. Sometimes even safety glass or tempered glass is not sturdy.
Wooden coffee table
Traditional wooden coffee tables enhance the living room decor. Wood is warm and it blends well with other pieces of furniture. It is versatile and sturdy. Wooden coffee tables are solid and durable as wood lasts a life time. Wooden coffee tables are made of teak, mahogany, cedar, English oak, American white oak, American cherry, hard maple and American white ash. They come in deep rich colors and finishes.
Wooden coffee tables are also suitable for outdoors. They are smooth to touch and splinter- free. An outdoor space can be converted into a livable outdoor room with a wooden coffee table that fulfills multipurpose tasks. Smaller teak coffee tables are perfect for displaying plants or garden sanctuary.
Metal coffee table
Contemporary metal coffee tables are made of wrought iron, copper, and bronze with brass accents. Wrought iron coffee tables are durable and sturdy. Usually metal frames complement glass table tops. There are some exquisite special coffee tables with brushed silver legs and glass tops.
Metal coffee tables come in foldable fittings for easy portability. The metal table legs are adjustable for height and offer strong support. Metal coffee tables are reasonably priced. Metal coffee tables come with rust-resistant graphite powder coating finishes. Handcrafted iron coffee tables with soft flowing designs in different shapes are popular.
Antique coffee table
Those interested in graceful lines, elegant furnishings with intricate detail can opt for antique coffee table. Almost all antique coffee tables are made of oak, mahogany, walnut or maple wood or veneers. Vintage coffee tables are converted ones. Old steamer trunks or stack of suitcases, with delicate designs can be converted into an Ottoman coffee table.
Contemporary coffee table
For people who want sleek, bold colors and designs in unusual shapes and sizes, the modern coffee table is the answer. Contemporary coffee tables are made from a wide range of materials, from molded plastic, steel, marble stone and ceramic to woven raffia, shagreen, and even semi precious stone inlays and flexiglass.
The style of the modern coffee table ranges from the traditional Korean rice chats to an elegant reproduction of Japanese Hitachi designs. The modern coffee table virtually takes any shape. Find a contemporary coffee table in cube, cylindrical and even kidney shaped, oblong and elliptical.
Ottoman style coffee table
This is a very popular and versatile model of coffee table. A large ottoman styled coffee table placed at the centre of the seating area can serve many a useful purpose. It can be used as a foot rest. It can also be pulled to a side and used as a spare seat in case of an extra guest. Ottoman coffee tables come with a hinged top. They reveal large storage area underneath. Some Ottoman coffee tables come in leather finish for durability and style.
Tetra coffee table
These are compact coffee tables that have a number of shelves. These shelves can be extended out to create more space. Each shelf can be neatly put back into the central table so that extra space will never be taken.
Custom-made coffee table
Custom made coffee tables are very popular as they come in original designs, signed and dated on the underside. They can be made extra- thick and durable. The style for custom- made coffee tables can be chosen from catalogs or from Internet sites that offer numerous options. Coffee table can be custom- made to suit the room measurements. Harmony with other furnishings in the room can also be maintained.
Geometric shaped coffee tables
Triangular, oval, round, square, rectangular - coffee tables come in several geometric shapes and sizes. While a square or rectangular coffee table made of wood would ideally suit a traditional room environment, a round coffee table is more modern and can help to balance the elements of a living room. A rectangular coffee table is ideal to stalk books. A square coffee table can be used to play games like chess. Round coffee tables add interesting dimensions to space.
Coffee table aquarium
A coffee table aquarium is an efficient piece of furniture which is part coffee table and part fish tank. In most homes, it becomes a unique decorative piece combining the everyday utility of a coffee table with the excitement of an ever- changing fish tank.Each aquarium is illuminated below by red, blue and glass gravel. Fresh water fish and even turtles can be ideally reared in this aquarium with plenty of foliage, decorative plants and lights. These aquarium coffee tables also have a slot for feeding fish.
Showy and functional, these aquarium coffee tables with glass tops are perfect for conversation piece decoration. On one hand, it is a complete functional coffee table and on the other, the fishes living inside are not disturbed from the every day use. Normally smoked glass adorns the table top of such coffee tables. Aquarium coffee tables come in etched designs or sometimes plain for an elegant look.
Split-level coffee tables, cocktail trend coffee tables, coffee tables fitted with large clock built into the face of the table with covering glass to protect the clock, stained glass inset coffee tables, lift top coffee tables, coffee tables that can double up as TV table - the list of coffee table patterns is endless. While deciding what kind of coffee table to buy, one has to consider the budget. The cost of a single coffee table is anywhere from $ 99 to $ 4000.
Coffee table styling tips
Coffee table can either stand alone on its own merits or the surface of the table can be used to create interesting displays of decorative items and vignettes.
- A vase of flowers, a bowl of crystals, candles, books, magazines, set of multicolored gleaming paper weights - coffee tables are ideal for attractive displays.
- A vase of pink roses, blue glass bowl or green foliage on top of the coffee table can immensely brighten a neutral monochromatic interior.
- One has to be cautious not to overcrowd the table top. Otherwise, there would be no place to keep the coffee cup. Again if the table top is small, there is no need to overwhelm the space with accessories.
- Coffee tables should be spaced 18 inches from the seat (sofa or chair), easy enough for the guest to put down a drink with ease and at the same time far enough to prevent banging a leg when the guest gets up.