You could hardly spot a living room without a coffee table, set in a sitting area for comfortable relief of beverages and small items. However, the idea of having a furniture piece that brings people together makes us wonder. Who invented the coffee table?

During the 1920s, J. Stuart Foote, the founder of Imperial Furniture Company, invented coffee tables. He aimed to help his wife prepare for a party that required a centerpiece by lowering the legs of a dining table. They were able to serve guests with drinks conveniently. Subsequently, there are more things you need to know about this furniture piece. Hence, we have gathered exciting twists about coffee tables.

A Brief History 

The introduction of coffee to Europe was a factor itself in the commence of demanding coffee tables. After the rise of coffee shops in the central part of the country, people have developed the idea of stopping by the shops to sit down and take some sip.

People were believed to be discussing campaignings, government, philosophy, and any other topics that incited them. And it was the same people who expressed a need for space to put their drinks down alongside their newspapers and magazines. With this, coffee shop owners had produced tables as a response to the demand. The concept of this furniture proceeded from the necessity to put hot beverages down for every drink.

However, the term “coffee table” was not around until the Victorian period. There have been tables that served a similar purpose, such as tea tables, which had been a part of household pieces of furniture. It was only when the exact description and designs induced the name coffee table. It was occasionally a sofa and side tables.

The original structure of a coffee table is a regular wood with the legs cut off, appearing to reach the ground. Although the Asian culture had these types of tables centuries ago, the positioning had varying differences. A coffee table is near the sofa for various purposes: bringing people together, hold objects and other small items, or rest area of the feet sometimes.

Furniture Popularization 

The increasing utilization and convenience brought by the coffee tables have led to popular demand. From coffee shops, people started adapting to the culture and placed it within their homes. Different kinds of this particular furniture began appearing in the houses of wealthy people across Europe.

The earliest designs of coffee tables consisted of exaggerated features with gold, considering the bourgeoises’ demand. And it was not long after people of all social class started placing coffee types of furniture within their residences. The discourse and rest in between sips have become a common practice.

Until the concept increased its usefulness, becoming a fundamental piece of furniture that homeowners would consider. And it indeed has caught the sight of most people who have earned them to garnish at their reservation.

Coffee Tables Over the Centuries

Coffee tables had a wide range of categorizations, depending on materials and blueprint designs. Creators suit each set to a house’s interior design to provide a sense of comfort and completeness, particularly to living areas, where most guests are welcome. Although, this piece of furniture had specific characteristics over the centuries.

17th-18th Century

There were various coffee houses established in this century since the growing consumption of coffee and other hot beverages. And it has earned a reputation—a commonplace for debates and active topics. Tables in individual coffee houses were marked as a coffee-based type of furniture.

This time, coffee tables from coffee houses have significantly different characteristics compared to the furniture in present times. Although people made this area purposely for gathering and discussing essential topics, coffee tables in this era were tall, extravagant, with high-grade details of designs, often featured from the elite families of Europe. 

19th Century

The popularity of coffee tables is endless. In 1983, Joseph Aronson, the author of The Encyclopedia of Furniture, described coffee tables as “a low wide table used before a sofa or couch.” Where in coffee tables revolutionized home fashion in this century.

Meanwhile, during the 1950s, people began using the furniture for more practical uses. Creators developed a more substantial, more robust coffee tables to withstand massive objects. The invention of Television during this era influenced the alteration of materials used for producing coffee tables. 

People explored and experimented with modern designs in the next decades ahead. Glass and other fancy materials contributed to the modernization of coffee tables—the same time as the old designs and craftmanship’s recompense.

20th Century

It was a long history of redesigning features, influenced by the trend of over the years. One factor recognized in the early 20th century was practicality—where some tables were built with storage drawers and wood trunks.

The minimalistic styles also have risen in popularity. Modern interiors require classy and multipurpose coffee tables. Other coffee tables are built with ottomans for families with children. Some have varying uses: for resting, storage solutions, and guest waiting areas.

Modern Day Coffee Table

Coffee tables became less decorative and more functional. Every home you would enter has its combination of sofa and coffee tables. There are varying shapes, materials, sizes of coffee tables you could discover. From contemporary to vintage chic and everything in between, there is a particular style that fits your preference and budget.

People nowadays carved coffee tables for a distinct function. Aside from being a mere wood for gathering and resting, some individuals treated this as a workstation. Such handy features have come to a trend, considering the lifestyle and space that some would not want to waste.

Although there are several coffee shops you would see in the streets, this piece of furniture has got to be one of the essential parts of the living room. It creates a welcoming space for everyone. After all, there are no such rules when redesigning home decorations—as long as it serves its purpose while providing comfort.

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