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The Victorians were enthusiastic followers of etiquette and ritual, making formal house visits and specifically the tea party, a key part of their lives. That’s why the term “Victorian coffee table” may be considered something of a misnomer. More likely, low tables dating from the period were used in conjunction with more comfortable seating in the parlour, and were receptacles for tea, sandwiches and sweet delicacies, rather than the coffee we favour today. If you are trawling the market for beautiful Victorian coffee tables, take a look at the selection available on Vinterior. It’s always changing and there’s always something new to see.
Why choose Victorian coffee tables?Queen Victorian reigned for an impressive 64 years and, as with the majority of items from the period, there’s a massive amount of variation in the coffee tables available. Additionally, many of the Victorian items people now use as coffee tables didn’t start life that way. Grand steamer trunks that moved belongings across oceans, wooden chests once used to transport goods, and tables that have been sawn down from dining size to coffee size, have all been repurposed for use in living rooms. Other Victorian coffee tables may be comprised of, for example, beautiful solid wooden doors, drawers from a Victorian dresser and carefully sourced period brass fittings.
However, there are some small, knee-height tables that serve the same purpose they did in the 1800s. Deep mahogany or walnut, sometimes with pie-crust edging, ornate scrolling designs and curved, luxurious legs, these are classic Victorian pieces. Another look that’s instantly recognisable as Victorian but also very accessible for modern-day homemakers, is decoupages, papier-mâché pieces. Usually black and decorated with florals, cherubs and other highly romantic motifs, or with botanical images, these lacquered coffee tables are slightly edgier than the traditional high-gloss furniture associated with the period.
The Victorian era saw an explosion of decorative arts like these, with professionals and amateurs alike creating fantastic pieces that have lasted brilliantly. Marquetry inlay was another popular, and labour intensive furniture finish sometimes found on Victorian tables. Hundreds of finely hand-cut abstract and figurative images were painstakingly set out on the tables and other items, before being sealed using complex processes.
Towards the last few decades of Victoria’s reign the domestic interior began to shift significantly as a movement of artists and craftspeople began to reject the furniture styles favoured by their forefathers. In place of the dark, heavy woods and opulent look, they created fresher, lighter and more rustic pieces, including coffee tables. These Arts & Crafts pieces are still to be found if you’ve got a good eye. Look for Tudor-style motifs, trestle legs, unstained finishes, and precise interlocking carpentry techniques.
Why shop for a Victorian coffee table with Vinterior?When you choose vintage furniture, an artisan item, or an authentic antique, you’re investing in something above and beyond standard interior products. As well as having been created with enough care to last, these pieces have often also been renovated and updated with real dedication and skill. They bring that double dose of quality with them to your home.
Vinterior is a great site to visit whether you’re on the look-out for furniture and accessories to buy or you just want some inspiration to breathe new life into your house. Come back regularly to browse staff picks and key collections, keeping an eye on the ever-changing marketplace itself.