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by Mary Beth Magee
Coffee tables aren't limited to holding coffee cups and oversize books. A popular piece of furniture, the coffee table may be in the living room, den or recreation room, or on the patio: anywhere people using a sofa and chairs may gather and require space to place a beverage or plate. They may hold game boards for spirited competitions or the pieces for a jigsaw puzzle. A coffee table can be a focal point or a demure accessory. This coffee table fact sheet should help you learn more about this versatile piece of furniture.
Purpose: Coffee tables can serve both practical and decorative functions. Coffee tables provide the heart of social spaces and bring furniture elements together into a cohesive unit. Place your cup or glass on a coffee table and your hands are free for other activities while your beverage stays secure. Enhance your living space with a floral arrangement, decorative item or coffee-table book on the surface.
Size: The industry standard for coffee tables is between 15 and 17 inches high, approximately the height of the sofa seat. The guideline for choosing a coffee table length is to choose a table approximately one-half to two-thirds the length of the sofa. Consider the width as well. A pleasing combination with existing furniture is the goal. Go with what's comfortable for you.
Style: Coffee tables are available in virtually any furniture style. From the simplicity of Mission style to the most ornate carvings and turnings, this versatile furniture choice can coordinate with your existing furniture.
Materials: Modern coffee tables are made of solid wood, particle board, laminate, wicker, glass, acrylic, metal, leather, ceramic tile, resin or nearly any other material available, alone or in combination with other materials. This offers an opportunity to introduce a material into your decor without allowing it to overwhelm the room.
Shape: Nearly any shape you can imagine has been used for coffee tables. Coffee tables may be single level or multilevel with closed storage areas. They may offer features such as drawers, lift-up lids or recessed display areas. The most important aspect of the shape of a coffee table is to ensure that it works with your furniture and lifestyle.
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