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Coffee Tables ... Who Knew?

Written by Jane Trabert Schmitt
Imagery by Posh Interiors of WNY

Forget everything you thought you knew about coffee tables.

Today’s homes demand much more than the long, low tables so predictably plunked down in front of the living room sofa. They’re often still an anchor in the overall design of a room, but now they’re bigger, higher and multi-functional to meet a family’s unique needs.
    “They’re still a necessity. It’s just that their role has changed a bit,” explains interior designer Karen Bialkowski, owner of Posh Interiors of WNY (formerly known as Kittinger Gallery and Design Studio) in Williamsville, New York.  “Coffee tables are no longer just for that purpose. We’ve seen them become more eclectic in the sense of their functionality. They’ve really morphed into more.”
    Traditional materials such as wood and glass have given way to cushiony ottomans in every shape and size, covered in sumptuous leather or rich fabrics that add a pop of color and whimsy to your decor.
    The coffee table has become more of a gathering table,”  Bialkowski said.  “We are seeing it much larger than previously and we’re seeing it multi-functional.”  The functional aspect is across the board, offering everything from extra seating to eating space to storage.
    How about a table that can be raised or lowered to accommodate your changing needs at different times of the day? Or try grouping several pieces for an oh-so-right look that can be easily modified for parties and holidays.
    “People are bunching together ottomans instead of traditional coffee tables so they can convert to seating. They could offer an extra seat at a gathering,” she said. “In some places we’re seeing two coffee tables used. Today’s Great Rooms can be enormous so we’re seeing a bunching of tables.”

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