There are some things a home can’t be complete without, like a refrigerator, a bed, or a television. A home is not a home without things that can provide comfort and convenience, and can allow the household members to relax and to unwind. Included in this varied list, among other things, should be a dependable and versatile living room table. Many people do not realize how indispensable this piece of solid wood furniture is. It can certainly do more than serve coffee, or hold lampshades.

A table for coffee, traditionally, was necessary in the middle of the living room. Home entertaining was a serious affair in the old days, because of the ceremony of afternoon tea. When a guest makes a house call, he or she must sit in the cushions, and must be served tea or coffee, with some biscuits or crepes. These will be arranged in a tray, with a delicate china service, and then served and placed upon the coffee table. Then, the afternoon will be whiled away with conversation, stories, and news.

The practice of proper entertaining is almost a lost art. Today most people are too busy to make house calls, let alone entertain their visitors in a fastidious fashion. However, the coffee table has remained a staple object inside the household, and it is interesting to list down how many ways homeowners have devised for utilizing their own tables.

The same can be done with an end table, which usually goes into the corner between two cushions. A lamp or clock is usually placed on top of it. Most homes tend to do away with it nowadays in order to save space or money, but this piece of furniture will actually have extended value once it is seen as a versatile piece.

Here are some of the best examples of other uses for these unassuming pieces of solid wood furniture:

1. A coffee table makes a good foot rest – more often than not, working people want to put their feet up after a tiring day of sitting down or running around for their job related tasks. An end table is usually the same level as the sofa or seat, and thus becomes an instant ottoman. Raising the feet or legs in this manner is a great way to allow blood to circulate normally back through the feet and legs. And if this is done while watching TV or sipping a refreshing drink, it makes for a total relaxing moment at the end of a long day. Working people can also do this while reading, doing some sewing, or talking on the phone, in order to prevent cramps.

2. As a magazine or photo rack – most variations of the end table would usually come outfitted with drawers, or “a second floor” in the form of a shelf between the legs and under the table surface. This space is ideal for stacking magazines, newspapers, or photo albums. These things then become instantly accessible when any member of the family needs a quick reference to a recipe or a movie review, or simply wants to browse through pictures and relieve memories. Then they can also be just as easily kept away – simply drop them back under the table.

3. An instant display shelf – if space is a constraint in the house, a medium-height wood table can be pushed towards one side of the wall, and become an instant surface for knickknacks, flowers, or displays like photo frames or awards and trophies. Be inspired and change the display from time to time. Displaying photos or special mementoes are always guaranteed to bring life and personality to a home.

4. An impromptu workstation – Again, more often than not, space considerations have converted the erstwhile table for coffee into a table for just about anything. If one of the family members wants to work undisturbed, the living room table makes for a reasonably isolated workspace for homework, planning, or typing on a laptop computer. This is practical especially in apartments or studio flats. The living room can serve the double function of an office or den.

5. Play games in the living room – board games or cards are always excellent means to solicit some bonding time in the household. Bring out the game box, gather the family around the table, and have a good hour playing UNO or monopoly. Parents, no matter how busy they are, should try to allocate some time during the weekend to be with their children. Kids who spend time talking or playing with their parents are known to grow up more emotionally secure. Besides that, board games are also known to increase children’s mental capabilities, so they get not only precious bonding time with the family, but some serious brain exercise too.

6. The best place for snacks – especially if a teenager has friends coming over for a movie, or for a study group. The coffee or end table is a great place to serve snacks while they do their homework. Bring out a big bag of chips and open a jar of their favorite dip, and prepare some cold drinks too. Kids can gather around the table, cross-legged, in a relaxed fashion, and exchange serious gossip while attempting to study for their calculus examinations. The parent can then be free from worrying about young visitors running around the house, while giving them reasonable privacy at the same time.

7. No ladder? No problem – Yes, a sturdy table can be used for instant elevation when a light bulb needs to be replaced, curtains have to be changed, or dust webs require to be swept away from ceiling corners. But never attempt this, of course, on glass or wicker tables. Only solid wood furniture types fit perfectly for this particular use. This can be another consideration why a wooden table is a better investment than a glass one – aside from the other common fact that glass is fragile and very dangerous, especially in a household full of children. There are numerous instances wherein a homeowner would need that extra height, especially for emergencies.

8. A clear space for doing arts and crafts – If the table is not going to be used for displaying items, it can be left clear for sessions like doing artwork, finishing crafts like scrapbooks, puzzles, or assembling toys like wooden sets, cars, or robots. The small surface of a coffee table is large enough for both materials and some elbow room, but it is comparatively easier to clean and clear away than the floor or the dining table top. For precaution, place some protective sheet or paper to prevent permanent streaks on the wood. The height is also ideal for sitting down sans chair in a comfortable position for hours.

9. An anything goes surface – on most homes, a low table often ends up simply as a place to put things down when people come in from work, school, or anything else. Bags, backpacks, shopping bags, and even shoes, sometimes. These things can temporarily find their docking place on the living room area, until someone remembers to return or keep them away to their proper storage shelves. This valuable function of an low, flat table is usually overlooked, but is actually one of the most important uses.

10. For making guests feel welcome – because even if it might seem farfetched, entertaining important guests, especially elder people, could still happen at home – even to busy adults. It might be a little awkward to serve drinks or wine to an important person in the kitchen counter or the stairwell. Just in case, already having a serving table is a good way of ensuring and showing that a homeowner can still play the part of a good host or hostess very well.

These examples comprise just a small part of the endless and innumerable ways homeowners can benefit from their small solid wood furniture. The limit to uses and options is the imagination. Unexpected circumstances will always bring forth surprising ways to benefit from these things, too.

But in order for the tables to serve their multiple functions well, they have to be made of materials that last. Solid wood furniture must be made of sturdy, dependable wood, and must be constructed to withstand heavy weights or constant moving. Ideally, it should also undergo treating so it will be scratch- and stain-proof.

The size and the design of the table is completely up to its owner’s tastes and immediate needs. There are many available variants of living room tables that homeowners can select from. Or else, wood makers would always be more than happy to create a customized table for their customer’s specifications. Contacts and information are available in directories, newspapers, or the internet.

Furniture in the living room – or the home for that matter – just does not look quite complete with an accent piece that doubles as useful furniture. And if it is used in many ways, and taken care of properly, then it could very well turn out to be one of a homeowner’s best investments.

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