Coffee Tables – Yesterday (Like Way Back) and Today

Since I loved furniture history in design school, I’ve decided that every now and again, I ought to blog about not only favorite furniture pieces today, but also give you a little sip of their historical roots. Today’s venture: The Coffee Table.

Take a look at one of the first wooden tables actually named the “coffee table.” This is Godwin’s coffee table and dates to Europe, roughly 1868. It found its way onto the scene following the emergence of the “tea table” – needed to accommodate all of that tea-totaling in England from the middle 1700’s onward. Notice however that Godwin’s coffee table is actually 27” high – not the expected 19” height of today. My theory on its tall height? Your corset boning would likely impale you if you bent over far enough to reach down to your tea cup on a low 19” coffee table. Who needs that aggravation for a sip of java?

Godwin Coffee Table

Here are some great coffee table shapes that I’d love to use in the right project for the right client!

Check out these fabulous triangular coffee tables nestled together. I’d display them with a slight breadth between them.

Hickory White Triangular Coffee Tables

What can I say? I’m a sucker for an upholstered ottoman and this one has great lines.

Upholstered Ottoman by Hickory Chair

To nest or not to nest? I say do it – especially if it’s this good looking.

Pressed for space? This great piece will add the right note of architectural strength without chewing up “footprint” on the floor.

Nesting Coffee Table by Hickory White

Do you remember the coffee table in your parents living room growing up??? I sure do!