I've had a home for a really long time, and believe it or not, I've never owned a coffee table. It's not that I didn't want one or need one. I just never found just the right coffee table that I wanted. Maybe I've procrastinated too long, now. I am still looking.
Because a sofa is probably the largest piece of furniture in your main living area, it could look lonely all by itself, a big glob of fabric-covered seating. And when you're sitting at a sofa, you'll undoubtedly want a place to put things like magazines or drinks so that you can reach them easily.
But there are options for a piece of furniture in front of a sofa that can provide storage, a flat surface for decorative pieces, or just a nice break in the look of upholstered furniture.
Here are some of our suggestions for a piece of furniture to place in front of the sofa. Will one work for your home?
A Coffee Table
Of course, this is everyone's first choice. Coffee tables are available in all sorts of sizes, heights, and metal, glass, painted, or natural wood finishes. A traditional coffee table can have a glass top, can be solid wood, or can be made out of metal or finished with a high gloss to shine as the center of attention in the room.
A coffee table should be chosen in a proper proportion for the size of the room and the sofa in front of which it stands. A large square room would look strange with a small, delicate oval glass-topped coffee table, just as a small room would be cramped with a large, heavy, dark-painted square coffee table.
Before buying a coffee table, place a large piece of newsprint or brown on the floor in front of the sofa to help determine an appropriate size and shape. You can cut down the paper or add to it until you get the right proportion for the rest of the furniture and the room.
When shopping for a coffee table, take the measurements of the sofa with you, in addition to a floor plan of the room and the measurements you've determined will be best. You may have difficulty finding just the right size, but this will help.
A Coffee Table Ottoman
By combining the top of a table with cushions of an ottoman, you'll get the comfort for resting your feet and the convenience of space to place items. Usually with this type of design, the ottoman cushions pull out from below the table top, meaning you can use both the top and the cushions at the same time.
A Large Ottoman
As homeowners are gearing furniture selections to comfort, the ottoman has taken center stage in front of many sofas. Really, an ottoman is just a large padded or upholstered stool or bench. It's a perfect piece to use in front of a sofa, as its soft top offers comfort for legs, the upholstery fabric contributes color and texture to the room, and the large flat to is ideal for placing a tray or books.
A Pair of Small Tables
Two small square tables, placed side by side, give a slightly more formal look than the more modern large coffee table. A matched pair looks best, but a mismatched set of small tables, of exactly the same height, can be used together with matching tops. If you have a pair of small antique tables, this may be the perfect place to use them.
A Picnic Bench
A Piece of Glass on a Base
A large built frame, a pair of cement columns, interesting sculptures, or large pots can serve as a stable base for a piece of 1/2 inch thick beveled-edge plate glass, cut to the perfect size. This is a good option for a very small space, as you can place the bases as close together or as far apart as you wish and have the glass cut to fit your space. Keep in mind that the larger the glass, the heavier it will be. So the bases need to be sturdy enough to support the weight.
An Old Dining Table
This is the perfect place to put a dining table. Of course, you'll need to cut the legs down to the proper height (between 15" and 22") for your seating space, but the large surface will be convenient for many purposes, including playing games, doing homework, and entertaining.
A Piece of Wrought Iron Fencing
Find an ornamental piece of wrought iron fence or a gate and have a wooden frame for it. Place a piece of 1/2 inch thick beveled-edge plate glass on top of the iron for a smooth surface.
You can see that you can use almost anything for a coffee table. Keep in mind that the piece should be sturdy, properly proportioned, and durable, and it will give you great wear and convenience in any room.