As Are the Materials _ The materials used depend on how conventional you wish to be. Wood is fairy conventional, and won't provoke anyone into a discussion unless painted and designed in certain ways. Glass is always good, particularly if you have an aquarium underneath. Metal is also good, but it is best to be stainless steel for strength and corrosion_resistance. Your coffee table should outclass all the other furniture in your living room and make it all jealous. It is not just good looks _ a very ugly coffee table can provoke as much discussion as a beautiful one or even a very unusual one. Rock, cork and driftwood are good for unusual tops, while hardwood with a good catalyst lacquer possesses the durability against knocks and pens needed for a family piece of furniture.
Coffee Tables and End Tables: Placement _ The end table should be placed right up beside the arm of the chair. Not directly in contact, because any subsequent movement of then chair could easily shake the table and spill the contents of any container. Coffee tables should be placed 18" from the sofa, enough room to enable you to walk between the two items of furniture, but not so far as to place your cup out of each. Some have been known to use these tables as accent pieces, and place them away from the proximity of sofas and chairs. Quite frankly, there is little point in doing this because these tables have been designed for a specific purpose. If you want accent tables, there are many of them available to choose from online that look more of an accent piece than regular coffee and end tables.