The Bold Neutral – Choosing a Black Coffee Table

Our instincts often tell us to choose neutrals when we make big furniture decisions. But you can select a neutral that does not say boring. Consider creating a room outfitted in black-and-white. Your choice is bold, crisp, and fresh. When you balance these two bold color choices in a room, you'll still stay neutral, and you'll create a sophisticated look for your home.

Choosing this color scheme for a living room means you'll have a wealth of choices available to you. Aside from the upholstered furniture in your living room-the sofa, chairs, ottomans, or sectional-the piece of furniture that grounds the entire design is the coffee table. This important choice reinforces a look for a room. Choose your upholstery, then consider a black coffee table.

One choice in a traditional room is a painted pedestal table. A turned wood pedestal and a round top can stand strong when placed in front of white sofa or black-and-white print upholstery. For a casual country look, you can choose a black coffee table with a natural wood top. When you combine a natural wood treatment with a piece of black furniture, it softens the boldness of your choice.

Similarly, a black coffee table with geometric lines can tie together the design in a contemporary urban condo. Imagine a long, low white leather sofa that sits behind a black marble-topped table, a backdrop of city lights sparkling outside the window. Add some natural materials in pillows and window coverings to avoid a too-cold feeling, and you'll have an unforgetable room.

If you decide to change your black-and-white décor, your black coffee table should not be left behind. This timeless piece of furniture remains a strong choice against rich colors such as red and gold in a traditional home, or against graphite gray or a clear citrus green in a contemporary design.

After you choose a black coffee table, in whatever style that suits your décor, do not leave it unadorned. A simple black table needs to be topped off with something unforgettable. A low glass vase filled with yellow flowers? A bright silver box where you can toss the remotes? A colorful tray transported back from an overseas adventure? The surface of your black coffee table is a blank canvas (a black blank canvas, that is) for whatever treasure you want to showcase in your home.

With the rising popularity of outdoor living rooms, it's easy to carry your black and white décor outside. Whether you choose elegant upholstered outdoor seating in ivory, or classic white Adirondack chairs, do not forget to add a coffee table made of an outdoor material such as cast iron or a black all-weather wicker. You'll have everything you need to enjoy the comforts of your patio, and you'll be building a chic place to relax and entertain.

Contrary to what you might think, black does not hide dust and dirt. (Remember, there are two kinds of dirt-dark dirt that is drawn to white surfaces, and white dirt that lands on dark surfaces …) Plan to regularly dust a coffee table that has a black painted or stained surface to keep it looking good. If you have a glass- or stone-topped black coffee table, use the right spray cleaner recommended for that surface. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for choosing cleaning materials.

Whatever style you choose, when you have a black coffee table, there's no question about where the center of the room, the center of conversation, and the center of this design lies. Choosing a black coffee table gives you an unmistakable focal point for the most important gathering place in the house.