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.
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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