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.
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.
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