Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Trade in your coffee table and get bunchin'

Let’s face it: coffee tables can be pricey, and they look odd parked anyplace besides in front of the sofa. If your perfect coffee table for one home is rectangular, it's almost guaranteed your next home will cry out for round.

So what’s a thrift-conscious boho mama to do?

Eschew the traditional coffee table for versatile “bunching” tables, poufs, ottomans and stools. Why?
  • These are good things (to quote Martha) that come in an endless variety of style, color and price.
  • Move them where you need them when you need them.
  • If you tire of them in place of the coffee table, simply repurpose them by a chair, next to a bed, or under a console table.
  • Some are even built to weather a move to the outdoors.

See for yourself...

An only child isn't necessary a lonely child

Urban Outfitters
If you like the uncluttered lifestyle, then just one buncher--a knockout style like this one--may be the way to go. Unencumbered by tchotchkes it’s easy to move to either end or center, depending on where the guests are. You can also scoot it out to accommodate legs or in to stay handy when hubby wants to stretching while having his coffee. I like how this one mimics the sofa in reverse with a wood top and teal legs set against the teal-upholstered sofa with wood legs. The asymmetric arrangement adds to the modern esthetic.



Identical twins work in tandem


Wayfair
Two seems to be the most common choice for bunching tables, probably because it most closely equates to a traditional coffee table space-wise. The mirrored pair shown here reflect the variety of color and texture that surrounds them—textiles, wood, leather, brick, metals—in this mid-century modern/industrial space.


Towson USA
A more formal space can also rely on bunchers. Both of these rooms use two identical tables, but each one sends out a completely different vibe. And that’s not the only way to play this game.



A two-seater convertible takes you for a ride


Better Homes and Gardens
These two guys are those inexpensive storage ottomans with upholstered lids that flip to reveal a tray. I like how one is seat up and one is tray up here, as well as how the green repeats throughout the room—including in leaves on the pillows—to create a nature vibe. Calming, gorgeous AND functional!



Peter Piper picked a pair of perfect poufs!


West Elm
I like just saying pouf! Another fun thing about these soft-sided ottomans is the variety of fabrics available. The regular pattern of the bold black-and-ivory chevron poufs in this room work with the varied-width black-and-white striped rug to make sure this neutral living room is never boring. A tray on top keeps glasses from tipping over and looks on-trend.

Richard Davis
These colorful poufs, done in a weave of sari threads culled from fabric-weaving looms, pull together all the colors in the room and look darned comfy to boot. I especially like the nearby tufted floor pillows in the same colors as the sofa pillows. I can picture a tween studying here with a book or laptop open on the poufs. See more photos of this home designed by Karen Davis of Marker Girl Home at House of Turquoise.



Fraternal twins don't look alike but hang together

Found on vtwonen
Using matched bunchers guarantees a coherent look, but mixing and matching is very much allowed. This metal cage-style table looks great paired with a small wood stool. That both stool and sofa are white and the red of the table is repeated throughout the room tie it all together. The stool can double as an extra surface for a drink or book or as a perfectly sized seat for a younger family member.




Kissing cousins spread buncher love too

Better Homes and Gardens
This combination of ottoman and table works because they’re similar in size and shape. The orange table ties into the pillows, and the red throw ties into the rug. It also keeps the white ottoman from disappearing into the white sofa. The arrangement wouldn’t be nearly as pleasing if we switched out either element for the round wood garden stool (foreground left) or the rectangular basket (background left), though those two might work with each other because of their similarity in color.

Does that help, or are you now thoroughly confused? There really are no rules. Just look at a lot of photos to develop your eye, then experiment. 



Three can also be good company (and I don’t mean the TV show)

Houzz
This arrangement has an interesting 3-2-1 proportion-thang going on: one sofa on one side (as far as we can tell), two chairs facing it, three identical bunchers in the middle to make the divide interesting. I would say it works better with matching tables in this case because the chairs match as well.

Austin Interior Designers & Decorators/Scheer & Co.
But even with three, the tables don’t all have to be the same. If you can take your eyes off the incredible view, witness that two of these identically shaped tables are metallic and one is white. All are the “Martini Table” sold by West Elm, which comes in a variety of one- and two-tone finishes at $149 a pop. So much for the idea you could opt for bunchers to save moola.


Knockoff Decor
But wait: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This similar-looking table was made by DIY blogger Kristi Murphy from an IKEA bowl and planter, connected and spray-painted, for much le$$. Here’s the tutorial. My suggestions: Bolt the two pieces together rather than glue (or bolt AND glue), and try to find a tray or plate for the top for a neater appearance.


And speaking of planters...

Better Homes and Gardens
Garden stools aren't just for the garden anymore. These two identical rust-colored stools look great punching up this space. Their Asian design connects them to the foo dogs of the same color. One rust sofa pillow and a rust band down the inside length of the draperies bring the vibrant accent full circle in this otherwise neutral room.


Better Homes and Gardens
These three babies are three times the fun. Though each is slightly different in shape and size, all are white and latticed. Think how many uses you could find for these--inside or out, grouped or separate.


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