If you have a child anywhere between the ages of 0 and 18, it’s likely that your furniture is taking some abuse. One of the pieces that receives some of the most banging, scratching and wet-glass-depositing is the coffee table. I speak from personal experience, but I doubt yours is any different. Here are five coffee tables I’d highly recommend for households with energetic kids and absent-minded, beer-wielding sports fans. They’ll take the damage happily, and still be in tact and attractive at the end of the day (or the craft project, or dinner party, or after serving as a truck ramp).
1.) Crate and Barrel’s Seguro Coffee Table ($699 ): Reclaimed wood is almost always friendly to defects, and it wears well over time by developing character.
2.) Industrial Galvanized Coffee Table from Hudson Goods ($795): Already rusty and dinged up, its charm is the patina. Drink rings? Tiny ding? Cat scratch? — Can’t even see it, because it blends in with all of the others. Just don’t forget your corner protectors for the little ones!
3.) Lack Coffee Table from IKEA ($39.50): Well, the biggest charm of this piece is the price. It will hold up alright for a while, but it will chip and flake eventually. Why are you recommending this, you say? Because it’s $40! Buy two of them and replace it when the first is no longer acceptable. Or even better, assemble both and store the second one “for company.” When your guests come over and you don’t want to appear as if you’re living in a zoo, just bring out the undamaged table and pretend like your family is as civilized as everyone else’s. Another big plus to this table is that it doesn’t really get water rings. And finally, the price and modern but not overtly out-there Parsons table aesthetic make it appealing to a wide range of people.
4.) Upholstered Nailhead Ottoman from Ballard Designs (about $400, depending on fabric selection): It’s cushy, it’s comfy, it’s good for sitting on, and with a few strategically placed trays you don’t need to set anything directly on it. With an easy-care or indoor/outdoor fabric you don’t need to be concerned about stains, plus, you can get it recovered over the years as your tastes change.
5.) Test a Couple Out! From left to right are West Elm’s Bubbles Ceramic ($129), Natural Tree Stump ($199), and Martini ($129) Side Tables: If you have your heart set on a certain type of table — ceramic, rustic wood, polished chrome, whatever it is… — try finding a small table made of the same material from the same vendor. You can purchase one and put it where your coffee table normally goes, then just sit back and see how it wears. If it’s a success then you can go on and buy the big one, or maybe consider a grouping of smaller tables. If it fails then you just scored yourself a cute but slightly damaged end table for another room in the house!
There are lots of other options, but in general I’d stay away from lacquers, resins, untreated woods and glass. Just remember to be creative and avoid frustration by shopping smartly!