The holidays are a great time to find out what is working in your home, and what’s not working so well. When you had Uncle Fred and Aunt Linda and their kids in your home for Thanksgiving, did you notice anything? After dinner, and everyone is sipping a cup of chocolate or noshing on another piece of pie, were there enough table surfaces for everyone?
Most of us have the furniture too far away from the coffee table, as the photo above. The human form only needs 18” between the sofa and the coffee table. If you’re not one to carry a tape measure around all the time, here’s an even easier way to figure out if you have the placement right. I call it the drink test. Sit in each seat in your living room and determine if you can place your drink on the coffee table. Move the sofa or table nearer – again, about 18” between the sofa and the table will do it. You'll love being able to set down your hot chocolate without getting up.
Now that your coffee table is in the right place, let’s make sure all your guests can place their drink easily within reach no matter where they sit. To figure this out - sit in every place of your sofa, your chairs, and wherever people sit in your room. Make sure everyone’s seat has a place for their drink. You may have to move the side tables a little closer, but this is easy, right?
If you find you’re lacking appropriate tables, let’s be creative and think outside the box for table options. I love to use something out of the ordinary. Once I used an antique steamer trunk with a piece of beveled glass on top as my coffee table. Use those clear plastic buttons you put on the back of your paintings and it keeps the glass up off the trunk. Another time I used a child’s red flyer wagon, again with a piece of glass on top. It was a real conversation starter. You can sometimes pick up the glass at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It's economical, and you are supporting a good cause. Or you can take a fabric ottoman and place a mirror on top for your coffee table. That’s what’s in my Living Room right now.
What about side tables? You could also use one of those Chinese garden stools as a side table with a pop of color. I like the garden stools at Wayfair or Overstock.com. There are some beautiful ones for less than $100. Another idea for a side table would be a smaller tree stump that has the bark removed. It makes a nice statement and brings in the organic element. I spotted some at the Modern General store in Santa Fe, NM. Check them out.
Be creative and look at items in a new way. I was in a home recently where the homeowner took an artist’s palette, the curved pallet that you mix the paints on. She added legs to the bottom of the palette, and it became a beautiful side table. When you're considering out-of-the box options, if it’s within 3-4” of the sofa or chair's arm height, it’ll work.
I know you’re creative and I’d love to see what you come up with – email me your pictures firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you really would prefer a table, and you are on a budget, www.Target.com has some attractive side tables for less than $80. I love getting the high end look for less, don’t you?
TABLE TIPS: make sure every person has some place to put their drink. That’s how you know if you have a) adequate tables, and b) placed appropriately so you can put your hot chocolate within reach. Pass the marshmallows, please.