Pier 1 Coffee Table
How to Choose A Coffee Table
The purpose of a coffee table seems rather straight forward, at its most basic level it is a table in the centre of your living room on which you can put your coffee, magazines, and remotes, it may also moonlight as a dining table, a desk, a children’s everything table and a footrest, or at times double up as extra seating or a place to sort your washing. This relatively straightforward piece of furniture however has the potential to define your character, or at least the objects on it do, so what does your coffee table say about you?
More than Just a table for Coffee
The coffee table generally sits in the expanse between the sofa/s and the television, and whilst it does offer a handy place to pop your glass of wine, its central location means that most eyes fall on it when they look at the room, and it becomes the most important focal point. So, are you the arty type with heavy art books and sketch books stacked sky high, or perhaps a slightly uptight neat freak, with a spotless surface and a coaster at the ready? Regardless of what your personality really is, or who you want to project, spending some time considering the ‘presentation’ of your coffee table, just as you would a display on a buffet or dresser could make a huge difference to your room. If you want to create a coffee table display, select pieces with a similar theme and group them together, then balance the display with an off centre vase of flowers, or bowl. If you prefer to keep your coffee table surface clear, look for a coffee table design that makes more of a statement, to add interest to the centre of the room, if you have a minimalist theme, create depth by contrasting shapes, a simple round vase on a square table for example.
Quick Styling Tips:
- Books are key items, a couple of stacks of coffee table books you love, arranged at one end, or opposite sides.
- Trays are key to creating a style when there isn’t much happening, either contrast the shape of the table (i.e. round on square, or square on round), or go for the same shape, positioned perpendicular or off centre, place a vase with fresh flowers or a candle holder, and throw your remotes in.
- Pretty boxes also make an easy display; placed on top of a few magazines or stack a couple in differing sizes colours, they will add an instant display and also form a place where you can hide the remotes.
- Create a more personal style with one or two small objects or knickknacks placed on a stack of books or on a box.
- Fresh Flowers- a sculptural vase or bowl will often form the focus of coffee tables, for extra punch; fill it with fresh flowers when guests come round.
What to Look For
If perhaps your coffee table is letting you down, or you are simply in the market for a new one, what are some of the key factors you should be looking for?
Firstly, the scale of the table is probably the most important factor, the table will anchor the room, and if it’s too big or too small, then the proportions of the room could be thrown off. The space where the coffee table is going will largely dictate the size, if it is to run between a sofa or chaise and the television on the opposite wall (or between 2 sofas facing) then a rectangular coffee table will complement the space, if there is a square space between a set of sofa’s such as a 2+3 or a corner lounge, then you could go for square, round or oversized rectangle. If you consider it should be just within reach of the main seats, it is likely to consume a decent amount of floorspace, a general rule is, it should be up to two thirds of the sofa in length, and sit at roughly the same height as the seats (with variations achieving different looks, i.e. very low will create a modern, minimalist feel).
The way you use your coffee table is a key factor, if yours tends to double as a dining table for yourself or children, look for an easy to clean surface such as glass or poly, if you are intending on housing your DVD collection in your coffee table you will need to look for something with storage. If you have young children who may be crawling, or climbing on furniture, you may like to consider something with round edges, which does not necessarily limit you to round designs; many rectangle tables will have a softer curved edge.
There are many styles available from very modern, to traditional styles, look for something that complements the room and other furnishings, and a classic glass top will generally be quite safe for those who are unsure. In terms of material, timber works well if you have small timber elements in the rooms, it helps to tie the room together. If you have a large amount of timber already though it can become overwhelmingly ‘matchy-matchy’ easily if you select a matching coffee table, break it up with glass with timber legs, or a complimentary timber accessory on top of a poly or glass table. The modern polyurethane options are often suited to buying all one colour; they then form the background for the accessories such as the rug, flowers or prints in the room. If you want to create a beautiful arty display on top look for a simpler style that won’t compete, if you are not so confident with creating bold displays, select more of a statement piece that can become the talking point, a bolder design will ensure your guests don’t think you’re boring!