How important is a coffee table to the overall design and functionality of a room? The short answer is very. Right now, the marketplace is full of an infinite number of creative choices for all room styles and decorative tastes taking it from its humble and functional roots in 1920’s Europe, where it was initially conceptualized, to where it is today. An important piece of furniture which can be artful, provocative even spectacular.
Never mind the fact that its very nature is to be convenient and practical, the right coffee table can anchor any seating arrangement and has risen to the status of a focal point in the room. It’s a highly social piece of furniture, more than even sofas, chairs or loungers and brings people together in those special ways, mingling and chatting over coffee, tea or cocktails.
In addition to its role as enticing social butterfly and silent star of the soiree, coffee tables provide endless opportunities for self-expression through avant-garde accessorization and adornment adding an individualistic flavor to the business of displaying collectibles, objects of art and private heirlooms.
The constantly evolving world of designer furniture has now arrived at a point where anything goes. Modern cohabitates comfortably with traditional and the exoticness of Bohemian gladly marries well with old Hollywood glamour. So, the choice for your new coffee table is up to you. Selecting just the right piece and accessorizing it for fun and panache should be a joyful experience. Here are ten of the most popular styles and how to dress them to reflect your own special style and taste.
Rustic chic combined with ultra-modern

Using a coffee table that looks like a restored tree trunk from a rain forest coupled with ultra- modern seating in basic white gives the impression of a seasoned world traveler who has one foot in the world of the exotic and the other in the future. This juxtaposition of style makes an extraordinarily lush statement. To enhance the overall look, add modern art and smallish old-world rugs and other textiles, like faux fur or woven throws to the mix. The coffee table can be accessorized with a combination of hard cover books and ancient looking pottery.

Simple is best with large-scale furnishings

If your choices for upholstered furnishings are large and chunky, opt for a coffee table that is balanced in scale but minimalist in detail. A combination of wood on the base with a natural stone or concrete top is always a good choice. Accessorizing should also be kept to a minimum. A single artifact, an ancient looking metal plate in the center of the table, for example, might whisper simplicity but shout big style.

Opposites are attractive

If you can’t make up your mind between two new found favorites be adventurous and mix them as a pair. Combining two completely different styles together as an anchor to your seating arrangement is a slightly daring but unique and creative way to dress your space. Be sure to juggle the heights with one being slightly taller than the other. A successful pairing would be an upholstered pouf with a simple modern wooden table in an exotic wood. Adorn the hard surface table with some simple hardcover books, a vase with fresh flowers or a small decorative box.

Use tabletop sculpture to make your statement

If you crave an artistic home, try using table top sculptures to create a one of a kind statement. Choose a table that is simple and devoid of details, patterns or mixed materials. A bold style in a rectangular shape is your best choice. Then hunt down interesting sculptures and busts. Pair these with hardcover and colorful art books stacking them in one corner. If you are so inclined, you can even top the books with a small avant-garde carving or collectible.

Find your theme

If you are decorating in a theme such as a nautical or seaside, then choose a coffee table that marries well with that concept and keeps things flowing such as rattan, wicker or driftwood inspired pieces. This is a terrific look for small spaces, cottages and beach front properties. Accessorizing should follow the idea and have a sandstorm or weathered vibe. Include books and paraphernalia which reflect the “somewhereness” of your space.

Make a big statement

Don’t be afraid to make a big statement in the textures and finishes of your table. Choosing a table that is a work of art itself pairs extremely well with bolder colors in soft furnishings and statement wall art including decorative mirrors. Be sure to reflect the brazen character of your space in the accessory pieces on the table. This is the right place for eccentric objects and elements that reflect your seriously witty sense of humor.

The perfect spot for color

Try a coffee table that is ablaze with color. This is the perfect way to liven up a neutral-toned grey or taupe room and bring it up to date. Choose a simple chunky block style. Square or even round is best. Select a color like lemon yellow, fuchsia pink, cobalt blue, orange or emerald green. Strategically add splashes of that same color in small art objects around the room and in paintings and sculpture, preferably abstract or modern statement pieces. Keep the art bold.

Two identical small tables can be better than one

Why not select two identical tables instead of one and place them side by side? Try adding a matched set of small ottomans at either end in a print such as plaid, check, modern floral or animal print. Tables like these are not only beautiful to look at but also function well especially when entertaining a group and in smaller spaces. Glass tables work well here because of their light and airy feeling. If you can find them, choose a pair with a lower shelf for additional accessorizing and stylish open display and storage. The lower shelves are an ideal spot for beautiful hardcover art and garden books.

She’s got legs and knows how to use them

Nothing shows your creative side more splashily than a coffee table with statement legs. Any style works here, square, round, rectangular even oblong. The top should be simple, wood, marble, concrete or glass and the legs should do the work. Furnishings like this may appear trendy, but if well-chosen are timeless and can work beautifully in the decades to come. Some examples of interesting leg treatments are industrial or reclaimed metals, hand-carved sculpture, animal images, and old Hollywood statuettes.

Fins a tastefully reclaimed piece

Let’s face it vintage is swank. Don’t be afraid to pair your brand new mid-century new sofa with a coffee table that you find at a flea market or estate sale. These gems are generally nicely priced and if they have been well taken care of they can add a kind of brilliant éclat to your living space. Beware of tired mass-produced pieces, (no ghastly wagon wheels, old barrels, or tacky French Provincial models). Instead limit your search to the 1940’s, thru 70’s eras. Be certain that the pieces are in close to mint condition and special. Pairing a badly beaten up coffee table with new soft goods, especially that turquoise velvet sofa you just invested in will just spoil your overall look. Remember what you’re going for here is more modish Andy Warhol and less woeful landfill.


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