Designing & Building your Own Furniture
Nothing is more satisfying than creating a special piece of furniture for your home! And probably no major furniture piece allows more creativity than a coffee table. But you think you are about as imaginative (and colorful!) as white walls and a popcorn ceiling. Take heart! There are ways to release that little creative spark you are sure just isn’t there!
Here’s how to begin to allow that dormant creative instinct to grow:
- Immerse yourself in books and magazines to find a coffee table you love. Don’t limit yourself to a certain decor or style. Just find something that brings you joy!
- Break the shape of the coffee table down into elements: o Are the legs bowed, turned, straight or rounded? Clawfoot or plain? Or maybe it has not legs, only a center base. o Is the top rustic or sleek, clear or opaque, smooth or rough? o Is the base round or square or indefinable?
- Look around you. Is there something that has the same general shape as each of the elements you have defined? Don’t limit yourself to something you expect coffee tables to be made of. Just check shapes which mimic those you have discovered.
- After you find a shape that is approximately the same as the one you want, check the materials from which it is constructed. o Are the materials strong enough to hold up to frequent use? o Is there a way to attach a base or top? Or will the top simply rest on the base anchored by its own weight. o If it is to rest on the base, will the top remain stable? If you have children, it is better to use a base which can be securely attached to the top. o If the top is not to be attached, make certain the top rests on at least three even points on the base. o Also make certain that the top you chose is not too big to balance on the base.
- After you find the shape and stability you want, check for color and texture. Ask yourself: o Do you want color? o If so, do you want the table to be a focal point or an accent? o Do you want texture? If you have small children, chose materials and textures which are safe and free from textures which have sharp edges. o Do you want to keep the original look of the object or shape?
- If you have decided to change the color, paint or sand the pieces which you have chosen. A good sanding and a coat of black or white paint or a quick stain can work wonders! If you want a more decorative look and you have no artistic talent, there are wonderful touches which you can easily apply available at your hobby/sewing store. Or use cut-out shapes from wallpaper! You can even print an appropriate pattern from the internet onto photo paper and decoupage (get supplies from your local hobby store!)
- Assemble the shapes or elements into an original table! Combine the top and base to make your one-of-a-kind coffee table! And you thought you weren’t creative!
Utilitarian or purely decorative, the possibilities for expressing yourself with your own coffee table are endless. Elegant, rustic, romantic, sleek, colorful or subtle, coffee tables can make a visual impact in any room. Want 100+ other ideas for an imaginative coffee table? Check out my new book!
Pamela Cole Harris is an editor, writer and eco-decorator with over 35 years experience. Her new book, “100+ Wildly Imaginative Ideas for Creating Your Own Coffee Table – a Handbook for the Creatively Deficient Decorator ” is available through her website or at http://www.lulu.com/.