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Finding a black and white coffee table for your living room seems to be a fairly easy enough task once you first think about it. You walk into a store you like, get your favorite piece, and go back home with it (or have it delivered), but upon further reflection, there are many more preferences in selecting the right coffee table than meets the eye.

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First, it needs to be the right size-both height-wise and in terms of length and width. It needs to be the right scale and ratio to the space and needs to work alongside all your existing furniture. The material needs to fit with your life style and work well in the room. It also needs to match the needs of your family, whether this means that it has to be kid-friendly or have enough storage for TV remotes and also other miscellaneous things.

Only once you have answered all these questions can you really start finding the perfect coffee table for you and your space. So how do you choose a coffee table from start to finish? We outlined five rules to check out prior to committing to a coffee table you’ll love.

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Measure the furniture’s height
There’s nothing more awkward than a coffee table that’s too high or too low. To make sure you feel comfortable in your living space, choose for a coffee table that’s the same height as the cushions on your sofa or one to two inches lower. Anymore and you risk the living room feeling and looking just a little off.

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Identify the color scheme
Evaluate whether or not your room has a certain color scheme that a coffee table will need to fall into. For those who have all natural colors, for instance, a bubblegum-pink table may be looks weird for the space.

Even though playing with color is certainly allowed, ensure you do not make a room with no cohesive color scheme, as this can make the room feel chaotic disjointed.

Measure the height

Measure the height of your sofa’s seat – a good coffee table must be at most the same level or even lower. If the table is too high, it may seem clumsy. Frequently , picking between a square, rectangle, rounded, or oval coffee table boils down to the length and clearance required around it. Traditionally, your coffee table ought to be 12 to 18 inches from your sofa-any more or lower than that it will feel uncomfortably close or far. Between your coffee table and your TV stand or fireplace, you should calculate at least 24 inches to 30 inches to leave enough room for circulating around the room.

To discover the best coffee table width, measure the length between your lounger and TV stand and subtract 42 inches.

Strike the Right Balance

An additional very useful rule to follow each time choosing a coffee table is its “weightiness. ” In other words, it may complement the other furniture in the room to make the space feel balanced and proportional. What does this all mean? When your sofa has high skinny legs, look a table that’s solid all the way to the ground or has shorter chunkier legs. In contrast, if your sofa does not have visible legs, get a coffee table that has higher skinnier legs. An interior designer have told me that when a room feels too “leggy, ” it doesn’t feel as grounded-and it’s something that’s never left me.

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Consider Your Own Needs

Some people eat by their coffee table or just use it to store their remote controls and other small items. That’s why a coffee table must have enough surface space for your needs. Are you one to play board games in the living room regularly? Make sure it’s a comfortable piece to gather around. Do you have a tendency to put your feet up on the coffee table when watching TV? Maybe an ottoman is a better alternative for you. As for coffee tables that are kid-friendly, choose for a piece that has no sharp edges and isn’t made of glass.

I’ve read enough horror stories of kids breaking glass tops to know it’s not a good idea.

Choose The Materials Carefully

* Assess your cleaning habits. A few materials are more high-maintenance than others. If you clean your home on a daily basis, a glass coffee table might work out very well for you. If you are more of a once-monthly kind of cleaner, a stronger material such as wood may be a better bet. If you abhor cleaning, an upholstered coffee table may be the one to you.

* Have an honest check at your lifestyle. In case you have children or a lot of pets (particularly cats), you’re gonna want to get a durable table made with solid wood or metal, possibly in a curved shape to avoid dangerous edges. Many other materials may become broken or marred easily. Conversely, if you live alone or live with just a partner, you can shell out for further complex or delicate tables.

Although you can purchase a table that does not typically match your lifestyle, you may need to clean, restore, or replace it often.