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.
A lip edge or tray top on a coffee table is always a smart choice if you have a tendency to spill your coffee or have kids that will be using the coffee table for snacks and drinks. They’re also good if you entertain often and don’t want to worry about red wine getting spilled on your carpet. Coffee tables should be the same height as the surrounding seating with 18 inches being a good average (although it will depend on your furniture). If you select a coffee table with a lip make sure the lip isn’t higher than the adjacent seating or you’ll end up hitting your drink against the lip when you try to set it down. The idea is to put your drink down not up.
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