Coffee tables. They’re the unassuming centerpieces of our living rooms. And they’re certainly central to seating areas. But lest it play second fiddle to the rest of your home, your coffee table could likely use a spring spruce up. Answer these six questions posed by interior designer Suzanne Varner to add character to your coffee table and, in turn, to the entire room.
1. Do you like symmetry or asymmetry?
Some people like painstakingly perfect order, while others prefer a more casual, haphazard arrangement in which items look like they were loosely placed. Neither one is better than the other. Which style suits your vignette?
2. Do you have varying heights?
Whether you are assembling furnishings for an entire room or working with a tabletop layout, incorporating objects of various heights is key to the success of your design. This element brings movement and visual interest to your arrangement.
3. What shape and size should your coffee table be?
The shape of your coffee table should coordinate with the shapes throughout the room. If you have an abundance of patterns, furnishings or accessories that emphasize round shapes, then you should consider a coffee table that is more angular and vice versa for the spatial composition of your room. Likewise, look at the furniture surrounding the coffee table to determine what height your table should be. For example, an oversized couch next to a delicate, small coffee table would be a disproportionate combination.
4. What is the material of your coffee table?
It is fun to be creative when choosing your coffee table. Consider repurposing an antique chest as a coffee table, or use a large ottoman that will quickly transform from seating to footrest to table. A traditional room will probably coordinate best with a table made of wood, iron or glass; a fabric or leather table/ottoman adds warmth to a room, and a modern room might call for a slick table material, such as glass, marble or even Lucite.
5. Do you decorate with keepsakes or shiny, new objects?
For the arrangement at hand, would you like to emphasize objects that have meaning to you, such as collectibles or keepsakes, or do you want to work with a grouping of accessories just purchased from the store? Will you use things that mean something to you, or items that are shiny and new?
6. What is the function of this coffee table?
Will this table primarily be used for formal gatherings, or will children be pulling out the crayons and crafts and using it? It is always wise to let form follow function in any design choice for the home. Define the purpose of the room before selecting your coffee table and the decorative objects to be placed on top.
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