Coffee Tables – How to Select


A coffee table is absolutely must to finish off a home. It is sort of a centerpiece to your sitting room. People tend to gather round coffee tables, making the room feel homey. It is also small enough to be useful but not in the way. These tables can also double up as impromptu game table or writing tables for the evening. It is a quaint little piece of furniture that adds to your décor and your selection should reflect the mood of the general décor.

Naturally, the first criteria for choosing coffee tables should be the overall décor of the room. Décors can be broadly classified as Classical, Chic, Retro, Modern etc. A classic décor will probably be Victorian era heavy and ornate furniture, lots of wood and lots of pink cloth. An ornate, curved leg dark wood coffee table will be perfect in that setting. Totally opposite to classic, we have modern, which is lighter furniture, white wood or steel and glass pieces.

If your décor is more particular like Retro, the 80s disco style, or chic to suit your upwardly mobile guests and lifestyle, your pick of coffee tables may become slimmer and more expensive. However, while décor can be your style guide, you need to measure the area you intent to place the coffee table in before starting any shopping.

Don’t rely on your eyes to measure tables. Being low, they often look smaller then they are, especially glass topped coffee tables look smaller due to their see-through tops. You can’t haul home a piece of furniture to find it’s just a bit too high or wide to fit your living space.

Don’t forget to measure how high your coffee tables should be as well. Generally, the height should be same or a little bit higher than the sofa seats it will complement. Seat down on your sofa and measure the height from the floor to the top of your bended knee. These tables should be either that high or an inch more or less, if you can’t manage that. Too high and it will become an eye sore, too low and your guests will tumble out of the seat to use it.

Some people prefer to take a snap of the room where the coffee table is to be placed, to compare with the selected items in the shop. With mobile cameras in abandon these days, it is quite an easy thing to do. Moreover, it happens often that you feel you just have to have this coffee table but not sure if it is the right shade of the color to match your sofa etc. Beats rushing home with a picture of the table instead.

Durability is another issue you should keep in mind. They tend to get used roughly; hot coffee mugs leave rings and scratches, wine glasses and beer mugs chipping into glass tops of paint, kids bumping into and knocking them off easily due to their lighter weights. Especially, if there are kids in the house or you tend to have many guests coming over and end up using the table frequently. So, select your coffee tables based on their durability requirement as well.

While you can always look through catalogues and branded furniture shops, it is definitely much more interesting to keep your options open and hunt in other places as well. For instance, auctions, antique shops and sales, yard sales etc can come up with unique items with character and history to add to your décor. They might even be within your budget.

If you are looking for specialty items, you can try looking online in websites like Craigslist or any other local sites that list such things. You can also put in a “wanted” ad for your particular coffee table in these websites and let people come to you instead.

Storage and portability is also another issue you might like to keep in mind while selecting coffee tables. Most couples and professional today live in compact apartments and relocate when necessary. Tables that can be taken apart are great to pack away. However, if you do not fancy DIY, you can go for a folding or partially detachable table. This way you can store or move the coffee table without taking it apart.

Even though it is a little piece of furniture, coffee tables influence the look and feel of your room tremendously, especially since they tend to be the centerpiece. So take time to look and select your precious table, so that you are happy to look at it every day rather think of it as an eyesore.

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