Within our homes we have pieces of furniture which are purely functional and do not serve any real aesthetic purpose, they are just in our homes to serve a purpose. We don't really think too much about these pieces of furniture and neither do our guests. Sometimes these items of furniture can be quite nice pieces but they might just lack something to set them off, and this thing to set them off doesn't have to be anything too spectacular. Maybe an ornament would do the trick, but cheap ornaments look exactly that, cheap. A bowl of fruit or a water feature is a possibility but they are a bit old hat now.
Planks are Good _ A plank sitting on two trestles is functional, and your visitors will ask why you chose it. Tell them you saw the potential of this as a new range of furniture, and get a discussion going. You could also use an ottoman as a coffee table and footstool combined, or even varnish and paint orange boxes _ they are easily replaced if you decide to change your color schemes! If you decide to buy a coffee table rather than make one yourself, try to make it blend in with the rest of the room. You are unlikely to find any truly controversial tables on sale and there really is no such thing as the best coffee table. Buy what you like, whatever catches your eye, and if you cannot find something controversial, find something to put on it that will provoke discussion!