I remember once reading a design post by a blogger who was discussing coffee tables and appropriate heights. With that post, there was no variation tolerated. That blogger was providing formulas and dimensions about decorating for the average homeowner.
I used to think coffee tables needed to be only one height too, until I moved overseas.
When I lived in both Australia and Norway, the coffee tables were, many times, noticeably higher. I first noticed when we went to someone’s house for coffee, right after we moved and then when we went to buy furniture. In Norway, all the coffee tables were a few inches higher, in every single home I visited. Not quite tea table height, but usually around 20” or a bit higher. Most of our coffee tables in the U.S. are around 16" - 18".
To be honest, I liked it, even though it took some getting used to. When you would go to put something like a cup of coffee on the table top, it actually worked sooooo much better. It was handier, and really, you noticed the items displayed on the coffee table much more, it even rather encouraged you to pick up a book or object that was resting there. You know, design influences behavior.
There was absolutely no detriment to it at all. It didn’t feel too intrusive in the space, it didn’t feel too large or overwhelming, nor did it visually get in the way when you were visiting with someone across the room. It was also very convenient for eating in front of the tv. (Not that I do that….. :-)
I even served a couple of meals there, when we had big crowds and I used it as overflow from my dining table. Here it is, set for a lunch I hosted with friends. :-)
And by the way, white sofas, SW Accessible Beige and solid linen curtains are timeless in interiors. :-)
When we came back to the States, we actually brought a brand new, Ikea wood coffee table back with us to have in our family room, because I was just in love with that height and knew I wouldn’t find it in the US without going custom. At that time, I wasn’t working outside the home, didn’t have the sources to do that and just never wanted to have a low, 16-18” high coffee table again.
I now have 4 square ottomans pushed together for a coffee table in my living room and they are indeed, higher than normal. At almost 20” high, they’re actually quite useful and prop my feet up nicely when I push them around and use them for that purpose. They hold a tray where I stash books, magazines, and the remotes.
When I design my own furniture line someday, which we be full of all the variations of custom furniture I do now for clients, all my coffee tables will be a few inches taller than normal. It’ll be my signature. ;-)
Today, I’m presenting some taller-than-normal coffee tables for your perusal, about 20" tall at least,…...because I think my readers are obsessed with design and well, you guys aren’t afraid to break the rules. :-)
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