Friday, August 13, 2010

Tea Time or Coffee Time?

House Beautiful


Are you as much a fan of coffee tables as I am? If I walk into a room that has couches and chairs, I expect to see a coffee table. If I don’t see one, it seems like the room is lacking something. Coffee tables are great for showing off some of your collectibles or reading materials and function as a place to park food and beverages while conversing or watching TV.  They are even places to rhythm your accent color.  Some coffee tables have open or closed storage areas making them more versatile furnishings. Coffee tables come in all shapes and sizes and styles. Some are glass, wood, acrylic or upholstered. Did you ever wonder how the coffee table evolved?


Southern Living



Decor Pad



House Beautiful

The coffee table actually evolved from the tea tables used in Europe in the seventeenth century. During the seventeenth century, the tea table was usually a round top table with a top that could fold down for storage against a wall. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the tea table’s shape changed to a rectangular table on casters that was brought out when it was time for tea.


Southern Living

My Coffee Table (Guess where the remote is?)


There is no solid affirmation as to when the tea table passed out of favor and the coffee table took its place. In America, the production of coffee tables progressed rapidly and the low rectangular table was marketed to the average homeowner. The president of the Imperial Furniture Company, J.Stuart Foote, claimed to have invented the modern day coffee table in 1920. He said that he cut down the legs of a table and when he saw the results, he realized that it could be used in front of a sofa. Coffee was gaining popularity at this time and was preferred over tea; hence the name was eventually changed. The repeal of Prohibition in the 1930’s evoked another name –the cocktail table.


Southern Living



House Beautiful

The coffee table functioned as the centerpiece for casual entertainment. Seating was arranged around the table; the table was placed before the sofa and a chair set to the side to form a “U” configuration. This allowed access to the coffee table from all sides. However, the coffee table was soon to be used for more than a place to park a beverage. Magazines were becoming increasingly popular and the coffee table became a place to display the colorful covers. Soon the coffee table was decorated with ceramics, vases of flowers, and books. Look at the variety of the coffee tables I’ve displayed in this post. Not one of them has a coffee or tea pot on it.  Maybe it's time to rename it again. What do you think? Are you a fan of coffee tables? If so, how do you use yours? Send me a photo of yours.

Architectural Digest


Architectural Digest
Architectural Digest


Architectural Digest






~"I bought a decaffeinated coffee table. You can't even see a difference." ~ Author Unkown

Resource:  ehow  - article by Shelly McRae

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