Designer Coffee Tables

Designer coffee tables take on many appearances and inspire a number of copycat designs. Defined as a long, low-laying table placed in front of a sofa, the concept of coffee tables evolved from European tea tables used during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Originally constructed of solid wood, coffee table designs have incorporated the use of glass and other ornamental materials.


Tea consumption reached its height in Europe during the 17th century. People needed someplace to rest their hot beverages, making tea tables a necessity. A precursor to modern coffee tables, early tea tables were equipped with taller legs and hinge tops. While the exact time of conversion between tea and coffee tables is unclear, coffee tables apparently became popular during the Victorian era. In modern society, coffee tables continue to be an important aspect of home furnishing.


The first coffee tables were constructed from solid wood. A piece designed by E.W. Godwin during the mid-1800s is thought to mimic pieces used in ancient tea gardens. Godwin’s table was mass produced a number of times and inspired designers during the Arts and Crafts period of the late 1800s-early 1900s. The Arts and Crafts movement rebelled against machine manufacturing and incorporated feeling and movement back into in arts and designs.

Coffee table designs evolved in the 1930s. A Chicago department store created the first designer piece, featuring a glass top and chrome legs. The style remains a favorite among modern consumers. In the 1960s, craftsman experimented with a variety of building materials, constructing pieces from plastic, metal and glass. The concept of designer coffee tables was in full bloom.

While the first designer pieces attempted to push the boundaries of design, featuring textured legs and uncommon materials, a number of subsequent pieces retained their aesthetic appeal while functioning as a multi-tasking unit. Popular coffee table designs feature internal storage or convert to a dining room table, making the pieces a perfect choice for people living in cramped quarters, like apartment buildings. Many modern pieces are taking a cue from the 60s and incorporating sustainable or recycled materials, like bamboo, back into their designs.

A number of modern designer pieces are the result of collaborations between well-known celebrities and manufacturing plants equipped for mass production, focusing on the bottom line instead of the art form. A limited group of companies recall the early days of furniture design, when pieces were popular because of the extensive craftsmanship that went into each unit. Viesso is one such company.

Viesso pieces are perfect for environmentally friendly homes. Started in 2005, the company strived to give consumers more control over their furniture shopping experience while featuring the use of organic materials. Simple, yet elegant coffee tables compliment any décor and give a unique feel to living spaces. Customers customize their tables by choosing different bamboo colors or table bases and adding storage options. Shop from home to review pieces in privacy, or visit the showroom to arrange for an in-home trial. Be sure to visit Viesso to shop for your designer coffee table today!

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