The question of what makes the perfect coffee table is a difficult one to answer because of course a lot depends on individual taste. The great divide is between traditional and modern, and a chrome and glass table might look out of place in an otherwise traditional setting, although surprisingly some interior designers do manage to mix classic and contemporary furniture quite successfully. For most of us though it is safer to stick to one basic style and the coffee table will reflect that style.
Since the coffee table is often in the centre of a room, adjoined by perhaps a sofa and chairs or maybe two sofas it is going to be noticed and in fact could be considered perhaps the centrepiece of the room, so you might choose your coffee table first and then design the rest of the decor around it. If you take that road you will want a fabulous coffee table that looks good in its own right, preferably one that is not just a coffee table but also a work of art like an isamu noguchi coffee table which is a beautifully flowing piece of contemporary design. Most of us though prefer to choose the wall colours first in a sitting room, and then decide on the type of furniture to put with that, concentrating on the larger pieces of furniture like sofas first. The coffee table then needs to fit in with your scheme thus far.
In a traditional setting the coffee table is perhaps more functional than anything else and a well made table constructed in solid wood is hard to beat. The cost of wood is forever rising but it is a good investment provided you choose a hardwood such as oak or iroco which will give many years of service without buckling, warping or breaking, as might a cheaper coffee table of woodchip and veneer. (more...)