If you don’t want the coffee table to be the focus of the room choose one with a glass top and a finish that blends with others in the room as in this example. This will keep the eye interested in all the items in the room not just one layer of the design. Metal bases with glass tops are another good choice to keep rooms feeling open. They’re also great when you have a special rug and don’t want to block views of it. Keep your glass cleaner handy though as there is no way around fingerprints. Keep in mind that with most glass tops — if they are not inset — you’ll see a green tint on the sides. You can order a speciality glass that doesn’t have this tint but it’s more expensive.
First think about what you need your coffee table to do for you or what your room is missing then pick a table that provides the solution. Before buying a table mark the footprint with painter’s tape so you can see the scale of the piece in the room and how that affects the surrounding furniture. If you have a very large room and a large coffee table you can break up the scale of the table by flanking it with pairs of ottomans or benches as in this example. When there’s a party they can be moved out of the way for better circulation but for everyday use these extra seats help connect the sofa at one end and the pair of chairs at the other end. Be sure to use a pair of ottomans — not just a single one. When you have two sofas or any larger seating arrangement a big coffee table might seem like the obvious solution. But also consider a pair of matching coffee tables. They will keep the focus off one large piece of furniture and let your eye move around the room more easily. One classic coffee table size is 48 by 24 inches so you can plan on that when thinking about your furniture arrangement. A large coffee table is often double that: 48 inches square.
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