Neatly piled with magazines, books and a freshly made brew, a coffee table is a practical piece of furniture, but it can help enhance the design of your room, too
Centred on a rug a coffee can add a focus to a seating area or balance the space in front of a long sofa. One of the biggest trends currently is for woods that show off their grain and possibly even knots, together with reclaimed timbers, all of which are perfectly suited to a country home. Finish choices include dark stains and lacquers, mid-toned timbers, paler aged effects, grey tones and painted finishes, so it’s easy to select a piece to complement existing elements of the decorating scheme.
Elegant and curvaceous, French-influenced furniture and designs with fine lines are sound options for smaller living spaces while, for larger rooms, furniture with a more substantial presence will work equally well.
Look for mortise-and-tenon joints, traditionally used for table legs to ensure they’re strong, and stable when moved.
To care for wood, use a soft duster or wax polish. Sprays containing silicone can build up on the surface of the furniture. Bear in mind that sunlight will mellow the colour of wooden pieces, so move any objects displayed on the surface of your coffee table from time to time.
Shabby Chic Dalton coffee table, £599, House of Fraser.
Woods that have been long prized by furniture makers are a good investment, but their finish needn’t be traditional. ‘This mahogany coffee table is painted soft white with crackling detail for a vintage feel,’ says Roger Clark, Furniture Buyer, House of Fraser. ‘Add natural hues and raw linens for timeless elegance.’
St Remy oak coffee table, col Grey, £575, Brissi.
A coffee table without a shelf or drawers allows more of the floor space to be
on show. This version has a washed oak finish, which keeps the wood tones of the scheme consistent. It can be paired with a matching armchair with turned legs.
Metal-based coffee table, £1,600, I&JL Brown.
Neutral schemes benefit from some subtle decorative layering. ‘This room has as its centrepiece a reclaimed-look coffee table with an old chevron-style wooden top,’ says Simon Hilton, Director, I&JL Brown. ‘Mixed materials add texture, and contrast with the clean lines of the upholstery.’
Conran Kitson coffee table, £299, Marks & Spencer.
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The richer metals are enduringly popular in country homes and, with its brass detail, this coffee table is a sophisticated way to introduce a warm glint. ‘The satin, painted finish allows the wood grain to remain visible,’ says Paul Tanner, Furniture Buyer, Marks & Spencer. ‘The vintage brass finish is a great contrasting colour to the black, giving a striking aesthetic.’
For more inspiring country decorating ideas, head to the Country Homes & Interiors website.