Choosing the right coffee table is a key decorating decision. These tables need to be useful and attractive, as they’ll hold our remote controls, crafts, assorted reading material, and of course, coffee.
Coffee tables create a central focal point in any room. But why are these ubiquitous furnishings called coffee tables? While small tables have been used for entertaining for hundreds of years, they gained popularity in the early 1720s when women hosted coffee and tea parties. The lore is that F. Stuart Foote, president of The Imperial Furniture Company, needed a living room table for his wife’s upcoming party. So he cut down the legs of a dining table – and voila! – the coffee table was invented.
Exceedingly useful and multipurpose, the coffee table is a furnishing staple. Whether updating the living room or den, we have curated a collection of some of our favorite coffee tables.
With the look and feel of grey-washed wood, this durable MDF coffee table is accented with powder-coated steel. This is an ideal table for the TV room or den. The lower shelf can hold up to 75 pounds of books, magazines, or cute baskets to hide all the homework and clutter. The top shelf can support 125 pounds, but don’t tell the kids. It could even support Seinfeld character Kramer’s famous coffee table book – a book shaped like a mini coffee table about coffee tables. With seven other washes available, this table is 40 inches long, 22 inches wide, and stands 18 inches tall. This shabby chic table comes in other sizes and coordinating accent tables or bookshelves.
There’s something about walking into the room and seeing clean lines without the usual clutter. Hide the game controllers, remote controls, e-readers, and pens and paper with this espresso-toned coffee table that has a secret weapon for tidiness – a large, hidden storage area under the lift-top tabletop. While the tabletop is 16.5 inches high, the top has metal springs and a lift mechanism to elevate the top to a comfortable 22 inches high. The lower shelf is perfect for storing blankets, pillows, or decorative items. The table is 38.9 inches long and 19.5 inches wide. There’s plenty of room to adorn it with coffee table or cocktail table books – these are usually large, hardcover books that are often replete with photographs and art, designed to serve as conversation inspiration.
A real centerpiece
If you’re looking for a coffee table with serious storage, then this lift table with a compartment and two drawers fills the bill. It’s even got a lower shelf for additional storage. At nearly 42 inches wide and almost 20 inches deep, the top is adjustable from 18.5 inches to nearly 24 inches. Covered with melamine veneer, this coffee table will keep your living room in pristine shape and is even waterproof, too. Have you wondered why the living room is called a living room? Well, it really is because the room was used for living. After World War I, when families no longer hosted funerals in their parlors but held them at funeral parlors instead, they used the parlor at home for entertaining and living it up.
Coffee tables give you a place to set that beverage down and enjoy visiting or just streaming a movie. There are some guidelines for choosing a coffee table. Ideally the table is about the height of your seating surface and about 65-75 percent of the length of your sofa. Well suited for the den, office, or wherever your family gathers, this simple table is the perfect accompaniment to your couch or wing-back chairs. At 16.5 inches tall, 31.5 inches wide and 20 inches deep, this selection works well in smaller living spaces and offers that touch of elegance. The metal frame gives the table strength, and the recycled wood with dark smoked oak finish provides its simple and understated style.
Cyndi Mathews is a contributing writer to Islands and recently published her first book and enjoys traveling to Florida in her sailboat. Islands is an award-winning brand founded in 1980 that speaks to international travelers who have an affinity for the Caribbean and beyond. The website showcases destinations, resorts, cruises, and recommendations by the Islands’ staff.