Coffee table, as defined by wiktionary.org, is “a long, low table, often placed before seating in a living room, on which drinks may be served, magazines placed, etc.” Cocktail table is just another name for coffee table, but unofficially, I like to think it’s a coffee table before noon and a cocktail table after noon. What, too early?
A little back-story: According to ehow.com, prior to the 19th century the long, low table was called a cocktail table or simply “table.” Near the end of the 19th century, however, people started calling it a coffee table because cocktail table no longer made sense. In 1938, E.W. Godwin, renown architect and furniture designer, referred to one of his creations as a coffee table, and the term stuck.
Manufacturers interchange the name frequently, but the reality is there is no discernible difference in the two types of tables. They can be made of wood, bamboo, metal, glass, acrylic and even plastic.
Here are some fabulous tables I suggest:
This Baker Cocktail Table is a classic. The Japanese-lacquered (amazing finish!) low table features a rectangular hand-planed top supported by eight flared legs simply connected by a stretcher. This stunning table is quite hefty in size (over 5 feet long), but its sleek lines make it feel light and well suited to almost any room.
This classically shaped Sonoma Cocktail Table from the Amy Howard furniture collection has a zinc top and reclaimed oak base. I can picture this gorgeous piece on a three-season porch or even in a family room. I love the use of contrasting materials in creating this wonderfully understated table. Imagine a primitive bowl with moss and gourds adorning the tabletop…just so easy on the eyes.
Another staple in my design is thisSalisbury Cocktail Table. In addition to the casual plank top and turned legs, this table features a pair of drawers in which to hide your coasters and remote controls.
Ah, and don’t forget Barbara Barry! This silver-leaf table (looks goldish in this photo) is perfect for a more formal room. The unembellished glass top allows the flawless design of the legs to take center stage.
And now I’m craving a cup of coffee…or a cocktail!