Coffee Table Buying Guide

Coffee Tables-   A smart and simple way to bring flexibility and distinction to your living room furniture collection is with a new coffee table. There are a few important things to consider before purchasing a coffee table.   The main areas of concentration: size, function, and form.


Size: 

Before purchasing a coffee table, consider proportion.  You donít want a piece that dwarfs its surroundings or vice versa.  If youíre thinking of a classic oblong table, go with one thatís half the couchís length of shorter (usually 44 to 48 inches) and about 22 to 30 inches wide.  The oversize square is trendy these days, but whether you choose that or a rectangle, make sure there are about two to three feet between the piece and the surrounding furniture, so people can move around easily.  In tight quarters, a round table (with a maximum diameter of 36 inches) may be your best bet, since a circle is less difficult to navigate (no sharp corners) and works nicely with both love seats and L-shaped sectionals.  Whatever shape you select, look for a table about the same height as your sofaís seat (typically 18-20 inches) to create a strong horizontal line that will help unify the room.

 

Function:

As the architectural adage goes, form follows function Ė or at least is should.  So when deciding which table to buy, as yourself how youíll use it.  Will it hold your magazine collection?  Be your central serving spot at parties?  Provide a perch for your favorite decorative items?  People who love to entertain should consider circular or elliptical pieces, which guests will naturally gather around.  If you need more storage, check out lift tops (great for storing blankets, movies, etc.), Mission tables (with a low shelf for magazines and books), or tables with drawers, like apothecaries (for photo albums).  Glass is the easiest surface to keep clean, if itís one interrupted sheet, and some models are sleek showcases for collectibles, protecting them from dust underneath a glass top.  Two warnings:  If you have young kids, steer clear of glass tables Ė the edges can be dangerous unless set in a frame

 

Form:

If youíre in the market for a bargain, you may be tempted to buy an under-$30 particleboard number covered in a veneer. But with regular to heavy use (think everything from kids doing school projects to guests sitting down on it), that kind of table will probably scratch and stain; plus, any veneer may peel. Better budget choices: treated wicker, reed, or bamboo, are sturdy enough to hold even the heaviest pile of books. (Bonus: Investing in sustainable materials like these is a good green move.) If youíre looking for a family-friendly piece thatís also a keeper, consider solid wood, which most experts recommend for its durability and versatility. There are endless styles to choose from in a wide range of prices.  Also long lasting, albeit not as warm looking: glass or molded acrylic, which create the illusion of space.  In truth, a coffee table can be made of anything ó cork, copper, aluminum, driftwood, or even an antique door. What matters most is that it suits your taste