A round-up of the elegant and the unusual in coffee tables, by OISHEE M. TALWAR

The right coffee table is crucial to the character of your living space. And though a regular design may be a safe bet, stepping a little outside the box can up the ambience of your home and give you something that’s not only functional but also a great conversation piece.  

You can get durable, affordable and trendy pieces from stores such as Lifestyle that stock the best picks not only from India but other countries too. Says Mahesh Shah, president, Home Centre: “We have seen that in terms of finish, colour and design, the appetite for new and different pieces in coffee tables has certainly gone up in the last few years.” Elegant designs in solid wood and glass continue to be a bestseller. But people are open to experimenting with off-beat colours such as red and white.

Depending on size, design and material, a coffee table from Home Centre can cost anything from Rs. 3,950 to Rs. 39,950. While they don’t have customised tables, there is enough variety to choose from. Younger buyers prefer coffee tables that are light and can be easily transported, while larger families with kids prefer sturdy and durable designs.

For out-of-the-box ideas, try making your coffee table not only a resting place for knick-knacks but an artwork all by itself. You can do it yourself or take inspiration from independent designers such as Bangalore-based artist Aarohi Singh. Full of colour and vibrancy, Aarohi works with her clients keeping in mind the budget, décor, position of the table and its usage.  As for material, she finds wood a favourite with customers and her tables start from Rs. 20,000. Customised tables, of course, cost more but with a little care can last a lifetime. A kitschy flavour is found in her designs, most famously on the snakes and ladders and trunk coffee tables.  

And if you’d like to express your own creative side, Aarohi suggests you start with a primed surface. Then take your pick from stencils, free-hand, graphics, monochrome, collage, distress, decoupage or more. Seal it off with varnish and your conversation starter is ready.

Despite wrought iron, cane and other material making a show every now and then, wood still remains the most popular material. Chennai-based Timber showcases the charm of wood, with teak, the most enduring choice because of its durability. It requires less maintenance and is termite-proof. As for affordability, it depends on your choice of wood and the complexity of the design, although the ones from Indonesia are a tad cheaper.

Many people like straight lines in their furniture but the antique look is a timeless choice. With a little bit of carving, it looks nothing short of grand. Customise your coffee table to suit your needs and also get suggestions on wood quality at similar outlets. At Timber, a medium-sized opium carved teak coffee table costs Rs. 13,000.

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