Styling a Coffee Table like a Pro

Step one: Always start with books. Stacking books is like setting the foundation, upon which the other items will be featured. They are also a great conversation piece.

Step two: Add a tray! A tray is a great way to group items. You can throw your remote controls or coasters in it and have them look neat and tidy. If you don't have a tray, a bowl is a great alternative. If you're feeling REAL crazy, try a bowl and a tray together. 

Step three: Bring nature indoors. Add a natural element, whether its flowers, a plant or even a rock (if you're opting for a rock it better be a reallllllly pretty one). Adding a natural element adds texture, height and colour to the table. 

Step four: Add personality. Layer in your favourite odds and ends. Our #1 go-to piece is always a candle. But think outside the box, what about that souvenir you bought on your last trip? When grouping items, play around with them until it feels right!

Which Surface is the Right Surface?

Working at a furniture store has given us the know how to help you choose the right surface for your home. Whether you're in the market for a new dining room table, desk or coffee table, we've got you covered. Let us start by saying; we do not believe that there is one perfect surface. If you let us know of one, we will stand corrected. There are plenty of surface options out there which may seem very overwhelming. We will touch base on solid wood, veneer, glass, lacquer and melamine. Picking a surface is dependant on your lifestyle and choice of activities.

Solid Wood: Natural wood can add a beautiful touch of the outdoors inside! We love wood accents. Wood end tables, accessories, and beautiful hand made pieces add character and will become an immediate focal point. Wood is a very durable surface. Even if you are rough to your piece, scratches, dents and discolouration can add character. Wood is a great surface for everyday use, if you have kids, do crafts, or use it as a work space. However, if the type of wood is from a sub tropical area, cracking, fading or indentation can occur. Subtropical woods require consistent room temperatures. Even if the wood is local, any drastic changes in temperate could cause cracking. Be sure to read up on the type of wood your product is before purchasing.                     
Veneer: Don’t skip this section! Let us start by saying not all veneers are bad. Veneers can protect the natural surface of your product when done well. A natural wood veneer can be applied to different products to protect the natural surface or to enhance the style or colour. If the veneer is only there to cover an MDF or particle board surface, then you can run! However if the item is within your price point and is the style that you want, then why not? Veneers can be a more cost effective way to get the real wood look.

Glass: Glass is beautiful and can add elegance, however it is commonly known for surface scratches, occasional cracking and of course, the dreaded fingerprints. Tempered glass is standard for glass tables because when it breaks it shatters into small harmless pieces. This can happen when the glass is exposed to extreme temperature differences. For example if you place a hot plate of food on your table and its next to a cold window (in our -40 weather) this could affect the glass enough for it to shatter. Just like wood, temperature control is key. While glass has its cons, it is a great option for small or dark spaces. Glass makes spaces feel larger and more airy. And of course, glass tables don’t stain like most other surfaces do! Just make sure you always have windex handy. 

High Gloss Lacquer:  Lacquer is generally an MDF base with multiple layers of paint that is buffed and polished to give the high gloss look. Be warned, the buffing process often leaves streaks on the surface. These streaks are most visible in daylight. If you are looking for a perfect finish, then lacquer is definitely not for you. Along with surface imperfections, lacquer can easily scratch and chip from everyday use. However, minor scratches can be buffed out with furniture polish. If you are looking to get that modern look by picking a lacquered piece, we recommend a white lacquer over any other colour. Darker lacquer shows flaws faster. Darker lacquer also shows more dust and while it's not tough to wipe down it will be an extra chore. Last but not least, if you have children or will have this piece in a busy area then you should steer clear, unless you're willing to invest money on repainting it.

Melamine: Melamine is a plastic resin layer that is applied to an MDF or particle board surface. Melamine products have been known to scratch very easily and unlike lacquer scratches cannot be buffed out with furniture polish. Melamine is a cost effective product; it is cheap to manufacture and you can usually find this surface at places like IKEA. Light coloured melamine products or faux wood grains are easier to take care of than darker coloured matte melamine surfaces. They have a tendency to show finger prints, oil marks and dust. We wouldn't recommend melamine in high traffic areas or in areas with high humidity. Humidity and moisture can cause bubbling between the layers. Be sure to use placemats or coasters if have a melamine coffee or dining room table.

In the world of furniture there are many different surfaces and companies are continuously improving the durability of their products. As a consumer, it's your job to do your research before purchasing. When buying items, make sure to ask about specific cleaning requirements, or things you can do to maintain the quality of your product! If you have any questions about surfaces please let us know, we would love to hear from you! -J&J Dwellings