A well-chosen coffee table makes a great statement and helps pull a room together. Perfect when entertaining or simply lounging, a stunning Chinese coffee table makes an dramatic focal point as well as being a practical choice in a family home. Whether your home’s interior is modern or traditional, a high-quality oriental piece can give a room real character. Large, statement pieces of Asian-inspired furniture exude drama and style and create a space that people want to spend time in.
Choosing your Chinese coffee table
One of the first things you need to consider is size. If the proportions are wrong, you’ll either drown the rest of the room’s furnishings or your Chinese coffee table will be dwarfed. Also consider height – some coffee tables are only slightly raised from the floor whereas others are taller.
Consider whether you want your coffee table to have a dual purpose. Will it purely be for resting a cup of tea or a glass of wine, or would you like it to double as a storage solution? In a family setting, consider buying one that’s sturdily crafted from solid wood, whether antique or reclaimed, as this will give it durability as well as versatility in any setting. The distressed coffee table in blue and black shown above ticks all the boxes for practicality and style.
However, a classic oriental lacquered finish is also absolutely striking, and easy to maintain with a little care (see the low scroll or ‘Lute’ table mentioned further down). Many of Shimu’s antique coffee tables and trunks offer the best of both worlds, with the original brightly coloured lacquer attractively faded and worn.
Antique or contemporary coffee table?
If you want to add some authenticity to your interior decoration, a Chinese antique coffee table is a stylish choice. Shimu has many antique coffee tables in stock from various eras, sometimes repurposed from their original use. For example, the antique Kang table pictured would originally have been used as an everyday surface on the heated ‘kang’ platform that formed the main living space during the colder months.
The low scroll table pictured is a modern piece, but is based on the ‘lute tables’ used by the Chinese when seated on the floor to play musical instruments.
Another popular choice with Shimu customers is using an antique trunk as a coffee table. This gives the added bonus of storage to ensure your living room is clear of clutter! See all Shimu’s oriental trunks here.
Shimu has also recently launched a new range of industrial furniture made from natural, rustic mango wood combined with distressed iron. Perfect for modern living, the range has a strong design, with clean lines and a tactile finish. The quirky coffee tables from this range are particularly attractive, for example the Indo iron cart shown here is made from sustainable mango wood and stands on four antique iron cart wheels. The darkness of the industrial iron contrasts well against the pale, natural tones of the wood. Using reclaimed wood or repurposing antiques is a great way to give a contemporary feel yet maintain an authentic mood.
Styling your oriental coffee table
Once you’ve settled on an oriental coffee table, the real fun begins! To style your coffee table, choose books (think Penguin Classics rather than Dan Brown), magazines (more Elle Deco than Hello), ornaments, candles and start arranging!
If you have children or waggy dogs, you might want to avoid fragile Chinese ceramics, but Shimu has plenty of hard-working ornaments for busy family homes, like this (practically) unbreakable replica iron horse.
One of our favourite looks is a carefully curated pile of design tomes, with multi-wicked candles and a well-chosen oriental ornament, like one of our Buddhas in stone or wood, a more unusual solid stone carving of Rama and Sinta (pictured) or our ever-popular Chinese bronze Tang horse. It’s worth spending a bit more than usual on something you really adore, as you’ll see it every time you sit down and hopefully love it forever.
Fresh flowers also make a dramatic statement, or for longevity, potted plants like heather or lavender in stylish containers. Our range of pots, vases and planters in bronze, brass, silver or even this luxe one made from a palm trunk, are perfect for this.
Finally, think about what’s under your coffee table! A warm oriental rug means even in a packed room of family and friends where seating is at a premium, everyone can sit close to your new acquisition! See the full range of oriental rugs from Shimu here.