Okay: I'm not a fan of coffee tables. I know, I know, it's a weird piece of furniture not to like--it's functional, it often centers the room, etc. etc.. But in my experience, most coffee tables have either been too bulky, too cluttered, or, most annoyingly, too low, to be anything close to functional for me. I'll admit, it's partly my fault--I like to use a coffee table as a pseudo-desk (I haven't had a proper desk since my college days) and I know they're not designed for that purpose. But I don't think that's too much to ask from a piece of furniture that is, quite often, the center of the most-used room in the house. Which is why I find myself in the Great Coffee Table Dilemma.
See, there was no coffee table in the apartment when I moved down to Miami. (There was also no room for one, but needless to say, I rearranged and fixed that problem quite quickly). At first I was okay with that because, obviously, I don't like coffee tables. But then I started missing my pseudo-desk and craving something to set my coffee on while I was sitting on the couch in the morning, and soon enough I knew I'd have to get something to fill the role of the dreaded coffee table.
In the apartment in Brooklyn I subletted for a year, two wooden stools took the place of a coffee table.
That was great because I could move them around easily (and in a tiny New York apartment, that's important) and they could double as stools for company (or for reaching my upper kitchen cabinets). In my last apartment in New York, we had one of those super low (although mirrored and quite cute) coffee tables that I absolutely despise and ended up only using as, essentially, a footrest. (Honestly, what good is a coffee table that's two inches off the ground?!)
So I was not looking forward to finding a new coffee table. Then two things happened. I posted about my inspiration for my apartment redecorating ideas, and in doing so found this image:
Which made me go, Aha! That's it! The multiple and mismatched end tables working together as a coffee table! Genius! (Yes, all those exclamation points were necessary, why do you ask?) Wildly functional in a small space, where you could separate them or move them aside, and a super cute way to bring in different design styles and colors. And best yet, they could be end table height(read: pseudo desk height) instead of oddly low coffee table height. The second thing was my man pointing out a side table at West Elm that I'd never even considered, but that was perfect. After that, all I had to do was pick out my second table (I decided two would be the most our small space could accommodate for now), which was easy. I'd been in love with the West Elm silver martini table for a while and when it went on sale last week, you can bet I rushed over and snatched it up.
The result: my pseudo-coffee tables/desks that, and I would have never thought this of a coffee table, make me so friggin happy. (That cable hanging from the TV, however, does not make me happy. Just had to throw that out there.) The Great Coffee Table Dilemma resolved. I'll just go pat myself on the back and sign off now.
2nd photo: Bernd's living room via Apartment Therapy | All other photos by Natalie