In any home, coffee tables are favourite pieces of furniture. Versatile, stylish, and extremely useful, coffee tables enable social gatherings and lazy evenings at home. Ever since coffee tables first came into being, coffee tables have been about enjoyment and making life better.


In any home, you’ll find coffee tables. They come in all shapes, sizes and styles but these tables are instantly identifiable. They’re low slung and always within easy reach of a chair. Unlike, say a bed, a coffee table isn’t an essential item in any home, but there are few household items more useful and contested than a good coffee table. When a couple splits, they never fight over who gets the refrigerator, but a good coffee table is altogether another matter. Your favourite coffee table might have a brass framework you adore, but it is more than that. It’s the drinks, the food, fun and memories that your coffee table has hosted that make them favourite pieces of furniture.  The freezer might chill the vodka for your martini but it’s the coffee table on which the martini sits, so cold and silky. It is the coffee table that becomes part of your memories. You don’t have to drink coffee to appreciate a good coffee table. These tables are handy for all manner of purposes. They are a place to park your books, a tray of food, or something more decorative, such as a champagne bucket.


Today, coffee tables are an much loved piece of furniture in any home. Even a young adult, moving out of home for the first time and scratching around for furnishings, will consider a coffee table a must-have piece. A Uni student, the newly minted master or mistress of their first share house, can spread out the debris of their existence on a coffee table. They may leave their mess there for a week, but that’s beside the point. They’ll grow up, hopefully into discerning adults, and their tastes in coffee tables will become more sophisticated and subtle. Suddenly, a beautiful wooden coffee table, such as Empress Homewares’ antique Indian tribal table will appeal. They’ll appreciate the intricate carvings and display work. They’ll stop putting hot drinks straight onto the wood and treat the table with the respect and care it deserves. They may even decide to cease putting their feet on the table and invest in an ottoman.


The evolution of the coffee table can be traced to the creation of a more leisured society. People have long drunk hot drinks, often tea or variations of tea. Traditionally, this was drunk standing up, squatting, or sitting on the ground. Ordinary people didn’t have chairs. Chairs were the expensive fripperies of aristocrats and gentry. Then, around five hundred years ago, change came to Europe. The age of exploration had begun and interesting new foodstuffs (including coffee) were brought back from far-flung lands. At the same time, the industrial revolution was slowly gathering steam. What has this got to do with tea or coffee? A by-product of the industrial revolution was the rise of the middle class, more income, and shorter working hours. As a result, ordinary people now had the time to sit down and the money to buy chairs and exotic foodstuffs. By the 18th century, sitting down to have a cup of tea, whether at home or in teahouses, was in fashion. But of course, who wants to sit down and hold a cup all afternoon? Private homes had tables, but these were generally large and heavy, designed for family meals or other communal activities. The first coffee tables were tea tables. They were small, light, portable, and built lower than traditional tables. They were designed to be put next to your chair and provide an easy spot to place your cup of tea. Over time, coffee became more popular. This was not necessarily the case in Britain, but certainly in mainland Europe and the United States. The tea table became known as the coffee table.


Coffee tables kept evolving. Modern coffee tables sit low and tend to be wider than traditional coffee tables. The older, higher, portable table has evolved into the side table. Put a side table and a coffee table side by side and in almost all cases, a coffee table is lower and larger. This change aligns with changes in our homes and lives. Sofas, lounges, and easy chairs have become common. They too generally sit lower than traditional seating. Our lives have become more relaxed. We think nothing of relaxing on a lounge, whether alone or in company, and leaning forward to pick up or place down a drink on a low-slung coffee table. Of course, we still drink coffee. Coffee and its variations have become increasingly ritualised and routine. But we are equally likely to use a modern coffee table to hold our vodka martini, pizza or laptop. It may not be elegant, but coffee tables have always been and remain useful.


There are a few points you need to keep in mind when shopping for a coffee table. There are some obvious reference points such as price and quality. You also need to keep in mind the look you are trying to project or adhere to. This can be dictated by the style of house you have and your current furnishings and homewares as much as your personal preferences. There are also practical considerations. Coffee tables have grown bigger and heavier, but they still get moved around. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like leaving things where they are, consider a lighter coffee table, maybe something like the antique lion money box table. If you want a low table to place in front of your sofa and never shift anything, a heavier, larger table may be appropriate. After all, the bigger the table, the more you can put on it and the less often you will have to get up. Like so many things today, choices can make decision making difficult. There are a lot of places in Adelaide you can buy coffee tables from. But Empress Homewares is Adelaide’s premier store for coffee tables. There are a few reasons why. There is a wide selection at various price points. But these coffee tables are also handcrafted works of art. Empress Homewares coffee tables are sourced from craftsman around Australia and Asia. They are exquisitely decorated, often with bone inlay. These are unique coffee tables available nowhere else in Adelaide. These coffee tables are covetable, beautiful pieces of furniture that you’ll want to take with you wherever you go.

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