Cocktail and Coffee Tables: What's the Diff?

January 27, 2016

Let's try a little trivia today: Can anyone tell me the difference between a cocktail table and a coffee table?

 

Give up?

 

Just to let you know, there is a little difference between two things you might have thought were interchangeable. Some die hard furniture purists out there would tell you that A) cocktail tables are rectangle or square in shape while B) coffee tables are almost always round or oval. 

 

The good news with this (non)argument is that both tables perform essentially the same tasks; each table holds a bevererage, a remote, a board game, the family cat, etc. There is no definite history as to when coffee tables came in vogue, but is generally acknowledged that they were used in the Victorian era to serve a similar function as a tea table in the garden. Cocktail and coffee tables became increasingly popular in the 20's and 30's, especially following the repeal of Prohibition. 

 

These days, coffee and cocktail tables often work as the centerpiece of a room and the focus of your decoration. Coffee tables are generally 16"-18" in height while cocktail tables are a bit taller, around 20"-22". When decorating, it's good to know what purpose this table will serve in the room, as there are many different sizes, shapes, and heights. Make sure to take into consideration the other pieces of furniture in the room. If you have an attractive rug underneath the table that you would like to highlight, make sure to choose a table with a glass top or a Lucite table for a more modern look. Make sure to allow 12"-15" from the end of your sofa or chair to the side of the table and about 6" from the end of your sofa to the end of the coffee table. 

 

Here at Source Interior Designs, we have a fantastic selection of both coffee and cocktail tables available. As these are such a key element to one's design, we make sure to have different pieces in stock for our clients. Here are a few of my favorites: 

 

This is a lovely acrylic and brass long coffee table, with glass top. Perfect for rooms with longer sofas. The mixed materials offers a polished, modern look. 

 

This is a solid acrylic round coffee table with a glass top. This piece is so amazing in its heft, yet it seems so light as you can see through it at every point. Lovely for any time of room.

 

Here is a very simpl gold and mirror cocktail table. This table has some height on it, yet seems so weightless with its simple construction and mirrored top. 

 Finally, we have this beautiful, vintage inlaid tile coffee table. This tilework is done by hand and is simply stunning in person. It has solid legs, so the piece appears as though it is almost solid. 

 

These tables represent the wide variety of different options available for the discerning consumer. Most of these would work with many different styles, so it would just take some careful planning and consideration to change it up without completely changing your entire design plan. Besides, a little change is always a good thing!

 

Until next time,

Evie 

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