Coffee table concerns

Last Updated : 19 June 2014, 16:02 IST
Last Updated : 19 June 2014, 16:02 IST

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The couch, carpet, cushions, curtains – these are the first things that come to mind when you’re planning to decorate your living room or redo its decor. Has it occurred to you that there’s a furniture item you haven’t given a thought to?

The coffee table. Yes, indeed! Small though its realm maybe, insignificant it can never be. Sometimes, this low table accompanying a sofa or a couch is even the focal point of your living room.

So, how do you choose the right coffee table? How do you decorate it? Read on for answers to these and other questions regarding the coffee table selection and placement.

Things to keep in mind

There are many factors to consider when you’re picking up a coffee table. First, will you place it in the living room, the family room or in the TV-viewing area of an open-floor plan living room? If it’s in the living room, the design needs to be more formal.

For the rest, you can opt for more casual styles.

Size is, of course, determined by the available space. Anybody can tell that a sprawling table in a cramped space will leave you with only hurt knees rather than the smiling faces that you seek.

But then, some creativity is required to fathom the most suitable shape – rectangular, square, oval, triangular or free-shaped. Your room’s overall design theme and other existing decor items chalk out the most appropriate design.

But, beware; in your enthusiastic quest for uniqueness, don’t blindly choose the rarest of designs without first checking out its compatibility with the room’s decor elements, mood, theme and overall appearance.

Design is also dictated by the main purpose the table is intended to serve. Make up your mind whether it’s pure functionality, mere aesthetics or a balanced combination of the two that you’re seeking, and choose accordingly.

A table with shelves, drawers or cabinets underneath can accommodate books and magazines; in general, they facilitate storage. One with wheels renders serving guests an easy task. If aesthetics is of prime concern, just choosing a fine design won’t suffice.

You need to free it of clutter so that the beholder can appreciate its design unhindered. The most important limiting factor, however, is your budget.
What about the material that it can be made of? This again depends on your room’s design theme —antique, Victorian, classic, contemporary, minimalist, rustic, ethnic, Feng Shui and so on.

Types of materials

Wooden tables, an evergreen choice, look classy, lending an exquisite charm to the entire room. Ditto with glass ones. These are cute and stylish.

But, while wood is durable and functional, glass is obviously not a sensible choice for a house teeming with kids and pets.

Remember that wood is heavy and hence moving it about can be cumbersome, especially if it’s a king-sized beauty. It also disapproves of moisture.

Still, if creating a warm ambience is your aim, wood is good. For a table that should tolerate the frolicking of kids and pets, plastic, aluminium or cork is

Material choice also depends on the room’s design theme and the material and texture of other decor and furniture pieces in the room. Cane befriends a rustic theme.

Once you’ve brought your prized possession home, the next question arises – how do you decorate it? If it’s for the family room, perhaps you’ll forget about it with the remote, smartphone, laptop, books and magazines strewn all over it.

But, things ought to be more formal and neat in the living room, for here, the coffee table is primarily eye-candy.

So, consider ways of sprucing up its surface. If you don’t mind the maintenance effort and the constant caution you’ll have to exercise to prevent it from toppling over, a vase with fresh flowers looks just great!

Anyway, some other options are artificial flowers, a candle in a slim and tall glass container, art pieces, contemporary decor items and coffee table books.

The vase and flowers and glass items are a definite no-no where you have kids or pets running around. If you’re planning multiple decor items like crystal ware, glass bowls, brass or terracotta artefacts, little potted plants and small sculptures, make sure they are all not of the same height.

Published 19 June 2014, 16:01 IST

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