Keep an upholstered ottoman 18 inches from a sofa or chair so you can easily put up your feet and make sure the height is consistent with the surrounding seats. If you get a tufted ottoman consider the depth of the tufts — especially if you expect to eat on it. Crumbs will find their way into the tufting and are not always easy to get out. Round coffee tables aid circulation especially where there are many available seats as in this example. If not every seat can reach the table make sure there’s another surface at hand. Using a vintage object for a coffee table adds a bit of history — a story — to a room and is one of my favorite things to do. Make sure the piece is stable and all the connections are secure. If you need to refinish the piece ask the vendor precisely what it’s made from as this will help in the refinishing process. Another consideration is how it will sit on your floor or rug and if it will damage those surfaces. Splintered table legs or rusty metal bases can scratch or stain the flooring. Secondhand stores sometimes leave those areas unrefinished so be sure to check.
On the other hand perhaps you want your space to look cozier (and you need some storage). Stash baskets trunks and old suitcases under simple legged coffee tables to ground spaces that are otherwise too open. Solid tabletops usually have a very square corner. If you have little kids or the circulation is tight allow extra space at the ends so it’s easier to get around the corners without hitting your shins. Go for color with an upholstered coffee table as it will draw people to the surrounding sofas and chairs. Top it with a tray to hold books and other items. Choose your fabric wisely since people may want to put up their feet (and shoes). Outdoor fabrics can be smart; steer clear of linen and fabrics with high amounts of rayon or viscose. Take a swatch home and test it out with dirt red wine or whatever you think your coffee table will encounter to make sure your fabric choice can handle it all.
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