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.
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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