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Shopping for Outdoor Coffee Tables

  • June 01, 2020

On terraces and decks, one piece of furniture is often key to anchoring a seating arrangement: the coffee table.

And if you haven’t got one, where are you going to put your drinks?

“It’s a must,” said Lee Cavanaugh, a partner at Cullman Kravis Associates, a New York-based interior design firm. “I’ve seen people, to my horror, who don’t have a table near a seating arrangement — a decorator’s worst nightmare — and they have to put everything on the floor.”

When you’re selecting a coffee table, she advised, choose the materials carefully. Be aware that wood will weather over time if it’s left unsealed and that urban grit has a tendency to work its way into porous surfaces. Some metal finishes, on the other hand, may be problematic in the salty air near the ocean.

Another piece of advice: Don’t make the mistake of trying to match your table to your chairs. Patio sets, Ms. Cavanaugh observed, invariably look outdated. “It’s more interesting and aesthetically appealing if the materials are different,” she said.

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