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Coffee Tables That Take Centre Stage

A cup of coffee and conversation galore around a coffee table, the staple of the living room, is what most family and friends swear by. But is your coffee table up to the task?

Said to have originated in the days of the Ottoman Empire, a coffee table today sets the mood of a living room – classical, contemporary or quirky. A traditional coffee table, short and rectangular, was used to shoulder conventional responsibilities such as offering a place to set down cups and plates, show off coffee table books, and spotlight an objet d’art. The modern lifestyle has led to an evolution in responsibilities – a coffee table can now be used to set down a laptop and work, put your feet up and relax, play games or simply as a decor enhancer.



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Rectangular or round? A rectangular or square table offers more storage space than a round one. A standard coffee table stands 16 inches high, but the most comfortable ones have tops almost level with the cushions of sofas and chairs around them. Aim for a length that’s about half or two­thirds the length of your sofa, so that you can comfortably lean and place your glass without having to get up from your chair. Ensure that there’s enough leg room (anything between 14 to 18 inches) between the seating arrangement and the table.


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Make them multitask. Coffee tables with storage facility have become the norm in space-strapped apartments. Drawers, compartments to store magazines and books, shelving possibilities or an arrangement that allows a range of heights are de rigeur these days. A chest can provide hidden storage while a table with extendable shelves proves indispensable by providing additional tabletops.


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Conversation starters. If you want a conversation starter, pick from the many eye-catching tables on the market. These tables add a hint of whimsy to your living room even as they provide a convenient tabletop amid your seating arrangement. Did you ever think of using your aquarium as a centre piece? How about a spiral table, a table inlaid with a chess board, or one created from old magazines? A super-quick DIY tip: Fit an old picture frame with a mirror for an innovative piece.


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The last word. Declutter regularly, putting away increasing knickknacks and magazines, to ensure that you have the space to set down your cuppa!

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