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Diary of a Designer: Coffee Table Woes

spencer styled

When it comes to my home, I can sometimes be as bad as my clients when it comes to making a decision. But when my clients come to me, they’ve probably already spent way too much time picking a piece of furniture.

That’s where a professional designer comes to the rescue. I swoop in, listen to their goals and VOILA! I come back with three perfect coffee tables for them to pick from.

It sounds easy, but even though it’s my job, making choices isn’t always that simple. Sometimes, even the experts get hung up on making a final decision.

Clients have observed over the years that I must have so much trouble deciding what I want because I see so much. Surprisingly, when it comes to other people’s spaces, that’s not true.

My personal style is so eclectic and bohemian that I’m able to mix and match pieces to meet my own whims. I don’t have lots of “things,” so each design element I add to my personal space must be both functional AND beautiful. At the end of the day, those are my only true requirements.

I’ve learned to trust my gut because I know that when it comes to my own spaces, I can always replace something if I grow tired of it or it doesn’t fit the way I’d hoped.

And as a professional, I am lucky because I’m able to satisfy my thirst for new pieces by picking the perfect things for my client. It’s a win-win. I get to explore the design world with my clients, and I get to hold onto ideas I find that appeal to me as well.

The Coffee Table Conundrum

Recently, I hit a wall with deciding on the right coffee table to go in my own home.

In theory, I know the table I want, but finding it has been a different story. Each table I come across is either slightly bigger than I want or not as functional as I would like it to be.

But much like a designer can come to the rescue of a client who is stuck in a rut or struggling with a choice, the internet is my savior! With a lot of research, I was able to find exactly what I was looking for.

lava table

I contemplated the LAVA Coffee Table from Phillips Collection for a hot minute. Then decided to let it go. It just wasn’t fulfilling the vibe.


spencer styled

I also looked at Vanguard’s newer table, the Spencer but I didn’t want to have to deal with the additional book storage. Too much clutter for my kid-free home.


The Kelsie cocktail table by Arteriors feeds into my need for simplicity. Wrought iron and white marble makes for a simple addition to my already eclectic array of colorful pieces. But alas, it was not meant to be.

pick up sticks

Since I was looking for a statement piece, the Pick-Up Sticks table by Ambella Home looked to be a good fit.

Again, the white marble was right in my wheel house. The retro gold with an altar-like display piqued my artistic side, but ultimately the table was just too big and I could not imagine ever moving it without throwing out my back.

runner up number 3

The Brooklyn cocktail table by Century Furniture was my third runner-up. I imagined the wood in some wild color—something bold. The Lucite legs made my heart sing AND it was the perfect size. It really is (and was) the perfect table for the space.

del ray

The Vanguard Del Ray table was picture perfect. It was my second runner-up! It also features Lucite (which I LOVE) and a host of customizable paint finishes—which I would rock out. But it was simply too big for the space.

In the end, I followed my instincts and went for the table that sung to me the first time I saw it—the table that has challenged my designer’s brain for over a year.


I chose the award-winning Norma Table by Vanguard Furniture. This table is everything I love at the moment. White marble, retro gold, and an unusual design that challenges function.

I have thrown practicality out the window. Who needs it when you live alone?  Now I am off to find the perfect tray for my pretty perfect table!

Posted by Bridget McMullin on November 30, 2017



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