8 October 2020
Specific pieces of furniture in the home are synonymous with certain materials. The upholstered sofa, the metal lampshade, the timber dining table – the marble coffee table is another such piece.
The marble coffee table is often used as a centre piece for the living room and its seating arrangements. Clearly the coffee table can be made of other materials but there is a good fit between its function and materiality.
In that the marble coffee table is decorative, has a substantial weight (and therefore not easily knocked over), can be simply wiped clean and is perfectly suited to providing a focal point within the living room.
The following article considers the different types of marble coffee table as well as looking at new and emerging trends for the porcelain marble effect coffee table, which this year is making an impact in the lists of interior design trends.
Like coffee itself, there is a theory that the coffee table was an import from the Ottoman Empire during the late Victorian period in the UK.
As a piece of furniture it became popular in the home and was mass produced at a time when Britain was a global power and its culture became obsessed with imports from the Middle East and the Far East.
The growing popularity of the coffee table also reflects the increasing free time and leisure activities of the Victorians who loved to entertain at home. As the 20th Century home evolved with separate rooms for different activities the coffee table came into its own within the living room.
The low wide expanse provided the perfect surface for leaving things while not interfering with views of the radio or TV, nowadays its practically ubiquitous in all homes.
What are the uses of the coffee table?
The uses of the coffee table are not confined to being a handy surface to place coffee or tea.
As a piece of furniture the coffee table provides a focal point for conversation, it is also commonly used as a place to display books (there’s even a genre of coffee table publications), trinkets or as a pedestal for objets d’art. The coffee table can be used for informal dining in front of the TV or the laptop and provides a finishing touch to a seating arrangement. It’s also a beautiful piece of furniture in its own right.
From cutting edge contemporary to antique, industrial to rustic the coffee table like the chair has been the muse of designers over the years. With such a central role in the living room it’s no surprise that so much attention has been paid to it by industrial designers like Isamu Noguchi and Charlotte Perriand. Specifically regarding marble there is any number of styles of marble coffee table, like there is any number of marble sculptures. The following are among the most popular types.
The mass and weight of stone make it a suitable material for a coffee table having the added advantage of making spillage less likely. When it comes to the acoustic qualities of stone the sound of cups and saucers makes for a reassuring clink. Stone provides a sculpture like piece of furniture that equally serves with or without anything supported on it.
Instead of being a monolithic block another approach to the marble coffee table is adding a marble top over a metal or even timber support structure. The contrast between the heavy and the light can be heightened with chrome or polished metal. While wood and marble are natural bed fellows, the grain of the former complimenting the veining of the latter.
The coffee table is never placed on its own in a room, it’s always surrounded by seating, usually a sofa and/or armchairs. Therefore the round marble coffee table is a very practical shape to choose because it has no determined orientation and can be placed in whatever configuration the room or the furniture dictates.
The most popular white marble is from Carrara which actually has a pronounced grey veining through it. The beauty of white is that it is has a timeless elegance and a capacity to compliment any colour scheme within the living room.
Marble is an organic material, and as such is liable to stains which when it comes to coffee that can be a problem. The marble effect coffee table is a practical alternative, made from porcelain that is printed with the individual pattern of marble veining. The finish is almost indestructible and can withstand high temperatures, stains and anything else that can be thrown at it.
Luxury and elegance come together with the black coffee table, if combined with a metal structure the dramatic effect is heightened. Like white marble the colour black goes with any décor and is timeless.
For some time now grey has been considered as the new black with regard to all things interior design related. And the colour is showing no signs of loosing its appeal. The grey marble coffee table goes well with monochrome or colourful interiors.
Although is might seem contradictory the best marble for a marble coffee table is marble effect. Robust and almost indestructible cleaning is also much easier.
Never use abrasive chemicals on marble, ideally soapy water and a sponge are the only cleaning materials required. It is important however to make sure that any spills are cleaned immediately, especially red wine and similar.
Maintaining marble is simple, but it is a necessary step for its care. As a general rule, the best product for cleaning a marble coffee table is water. To avoid the accumulation of limescale, mineral deposits and other residues or chemical substances that can affect the surface, rinse the stone with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth. You can also use detergents with a neutral pH, although specialized cleaning products provide the best balance between cleaning and stone care.