Coffee Tables – An Exercise in Size

A coffee table can be a great way to add function to a room. It provides a place to set drinks, snacks, and other accessories, or to stretch out books, play board games, or look at a map. It is a wide open surface, just waiting for you to use it in any way that you please, and its very presence opens up a wide stream of possibilities in the room where it is placed.

However there are a number of considerations you have to take into account when choosing a coffee table for a room. The first and foremost, is the function of the space you are choosing to use the piece in. What room is it? Most often a coffee table is used in a living room, or a den setting, where people tend to gather around in groups. Occasionally they can be used in a lounge, or library, as a place to set books when you’re not using them. Even rarer, you may find one in a bedroom setting where people can use them as a little extra storage for their day to day necessities.

The important thing is to know and understand the nature of the space. Then choose a table accordingly. If it’s a social room, the table should be big enough to accommodate any guests or household members that will be using it. If it’s a private setting, then you can opt for something a little more intimate. The nature, size, and position of the table is what’s important.

The next thing you have to consider is the size of the piece. Look at the room. Once you have chairs, shelves, and other fixtures in place, take stock of the floor space that is left. The table should not be a blockage in the room, but should instead be a conduit for more function. If you get a piece which is too big, it will kill the flow, making the environment seem stuffy and cluttered.

However if you get a table that is too small for the space, the room will be oversized, and isolated. Nobody will be able to reach it, and the piece will be wasted on the space. Instead you should strive to find a table that is sized evenly for the room it’s being placed in. There should be at least 2-3 feet on every side of the piece, but it shouldn’t float listlessly out in the middle of nowhere.

One thing to remember is that coffee tables are sized low. They are meant to be used by people sitting on couches, love seats, and recliners and they are not specifically eating tables. Instead they are designed to hold items temporarily, which are then used by the various people in the room. As such you should be sure to arrange your seating around these pieces in such a way that they will be accessible by all.

Coffee tables can be a great accessory that can instantly multiply the function of a space. However you have to be careful about size and functional considerations. You want to ensure that the piece you choose actually enhances the environment, and doesn’t detract from it in any way.

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