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Dress Up Your Living Room With A Decorative Coffee Table

Most of the furniture you buy for a living room, you buy for the long-term. Big ticket items like your sofa set and seating, and workhorses like your TV stand or bookshelves serve two functions: to get the job done, and to look neutral enough that they won’t make your living space feel dated a few years down the road. The real decorating comes when you fill in the gaps, and if you ask me, there’s no better way to showcase your personal style than with a coffee table. They’re the next biggest piece of furniture in the room, placed front and center, and come in way more different styles than you might think.

Antique Inspired Tables To Set Your Room’s Style

Charlotte Cocktail Table Set JM-Q1313-CT ET from AFD Home
Charlotte Cocktail Table Set JM-Q1313-CT ET from AFD Home

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When you think “coffee table” the image that comes to mind is probably something fairly traditional: a low, square wood table that maybe has a little storage and maybe has some nice woodwork. But while many of these tables have something of a generic look and feel, they can also be a great opportunity to subtly define your space’s style. Different styles of woodwork and different wood finishes imply different design movements, and even with a sofa that is distinctly not antique inspired, choosing a coffee table that is is a great way to lock in a more distinctive style, whether the “antique” you use is a Louis XV reproduction or turn of the century industrial factory cart.

Modern Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring

Rosa Coffee Table CPG CT from Bellini Modern Living
Rosa Coffee Table CPG CT from Bellini Modern Living

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Similarly, most “modern” coffee tables are yawn-inducingly boring: simple, square, minimalist, and done in a single solid, lacquered color. But while these certainly get the job done, they also leave a lot to be desired in terms of style – which is a real shame, because modern tables that play with design can be really striking. Combining other modern materials – like chrome and glass – and simple, non-square geometric shapes lets you keep that minimalist feel, but with a table that looks a whole lot more interesting.

Complex Geometric Tables For A Minimalist Modern Living Room

Hanako Cocktail Table 02-HAN CT BLK from Oggetti
Hanako Cocktail Table 02-HAN CT BLK from Oggetti

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…and if you want a modern look, but aren’t so concerned with maintaining a minimalist aesthetic, you can tables that are even more visually striking. Complex, repeating geometric patterns and interlocking shapes are hallmarks of a more intricate modern design, and are perfect for adding a little bit of flair to a modern living space. Tables with a little bit of curve are also a great way to break up the blocky feel of a very streamlined, rectangular sofa set, but the mathmatically inspired patterns won’t break an austere contemporary look.

Showcase Your Personality With A Novelty Coffee Table

Palm Tree Coffee Table 33918 from SPI Home
Palm Tree Coffee Table 33918 from SPI Home

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Then, there are the novelty coffee tables: usually glass-topped with a base designed to explicitly show off your sense of style. These can be almost anything: gargoyles, forest animals, sea creatures, exotic plants – your imagination is pretty much the limit. Not all of these tables are to everyone’s taste, but that’s sort of the point – different designs will strike a chord with different people, but all are great for setting a theme for your  space, and putting your interests (whatever they might be) at the front and center of your living room.

Bulk Up Your Storage (Without Cramping Your Style)

Mellow Motion Coffee Table CT1082S from Whiteline Imports
Mellow Motion Coffee Table CT1082S from Whiteline Imports

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For the more practically-minded, you might want a coffee table that serves as more than just a surface space. But even if you’re looking for a piece that can do double duty as a serious storage unit, that doesn’t have to mean plain jane drawers or cubbies. Plenty of coffee tables (both traditional and modern) incorporate added storage into their design in a way that makes them both useful and attractive. For more modern designs, that often means coffee tables that unfold or expand to reveal added storage or surface space, while for coffee tables with a more traditional look, it might mean hidden doors and hollow interiors that can be filled up, closed up, and forgotten about.

Combination Coffee Table/Ottomans For A More Laid Back Living Room

Nova Metallic Beige Ottoman TOV-O97 from TOV Furniture
Nova Metallic Beige Ottoman TOV-O97 from TOV Furniture

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Last but not least, one big trend I’ve been seeing more and more lately is coffee tables that do double duty, combining a fairly standard square coffee table design with a padded, upholstered tabletop. If you’ve ever had to nag someone to get their feet off your coffee table, you’ll immediately see the appeal of combination ottoman/coffee tables. The cushy pads are literally made for you to kick back and put your feet on them (no worry about scuff marks!), and while the cushions are usually firm and flat enough for the table to serve as a table, they also do beautiful double duty as footrests or even spare seating, and are a great way to add a little pop of color (and some extra softness) to your living space.

Whatever your sense of style, there’s almost definitely a coffee table out there that will fit it. So don’t feel like you have to stick with a generic style – a cool coffee table is a perfect opportunity to spruce up your space!

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