A coffee table can arguably be considered the focal point in the living room, so it should be carefully chosen. Mr Shaffie Bachu, the director of Furniture Elegance Ltd, says the coffee table is the last piece of the living room puzzle, which is chosen after the seats have been selected.
“Considering that coffee tables are among the pieces of furniture that are commonly replaced, the first thing you should consider before buying one is the other furniture you already have. Many people do not take this into account,” he says, adding that this can lead to one having mismatched furniture.
“Considering that the furniture you already have helps you decide on the most appropriate coffee table. We usually advise clients to come with pictures of the furniture they have in the living room, including the curtains. With that, an interior designer can advise accordingly.”
The next factor to consider is space. The coffee table should not take up too much space and should allow for adequate legroom and for movement around it, he says, adding that a half-metre spacing between the table and surrounding furniture is recommended.
“This distance is close enough for you to reach for your drink from the table or put a mug down without straining,” he says.
Then there is the cost. “Some people over-budget while others under-budget but the cash you have in hand is what determines the kind of table you buy,” he says, adding that it is also good to window-shop to know what is available.
“The material used to make the tables determines the cost. For example, tables made from wood tend to cost more because, whether hand- or machine-made, a lot of energy is invested in making them,” he says. Once you have a good idea of what’s on the market, you can choose the kind of table you want depending on the space you have.
Another important factor to consider is the style. “People have different tastes in terms of material. Whether modern or vintage, the materials, which come in a variety including metal, glass, wood, a mixture of metallic and glass or medium-density fibreboard (an engineered wood) determine the outcome.”
Mr Bachu suggests that if you want a table made of glass, then go for tempered glass which is toughened, and therefore, less susceptible to breakage than ordinary glass.
“One should always bear in mind that, much as an individual might like a particular table, they should not lose sight of the fact that the coffee table should always complement the existing furniture,” he says.
The shape and height of the coffee table are also important, since they go hand in hand with the shape of the seats. For example, oval or rectangular coffee tables work well with long sofas while round coffee tables work well large sofas.
Mr Bachu says the recommended height is 80 centimetres, which is considered neither too high nor too low.
In addition to the normal coffee tables, there are adjustable ones that can be shrunk to leave more room for movement, besides enhancing the décor.
If you have young children, then you have to consider their safety.
“For people with children, an oval or round coffee table is a smart choice because such tables don’t havesharp corners that might hurt them,” Mr Bachu says.
You might also wish to consider functionality. Whether you are getting the coffee table for aesthetic reasons, additional storage or to complement other furniture, decide what will serve you best. For instance, if you want a coffee table with additional storage space, then go for one with drawers.”
There is an emerging trend where people are buying coffee tables whose colour matches that of their television stand. Mr Bachu says it is a great idea and makes for a perfect blend of colours in the living room.
“Buying the right coffee table is something anyone can do, whether by seeking advice from experts, researching on the Internet or simply window shopping. It is one piece of furniture you interact with most so get it right,” he asserts.