Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coffee Tables and Impulse Buys

For a color bug like me, living in a white box apartment is painful. I’m drawn to bright colors, so the white walls and yucky navy blue dorm carpet really aren’t doing it for me.
Because of that, I’ve tried my best to inject color into every living space in our apartment.
Recently, Dave and I made yet another trip to Ikea (yes, I know. It’s not a good idea to go all matchy-matchy, especially with something as recognizable as Ikea. However, it’s inexpensive and great for furnishing a first apartment in a hurry. Plus, now we don’t feel guilty replacing items as we go.). We were mostly just browsing on our way home from an event, but we stopped in the scratch and dent section and saw a glass table top that we loved, and decided would make a good coffee table. So, we loaded the huge table into my tiny VW Bug and drove home.

Once we got it home, we just set it on top of our existing coffee table (two Lack tables) and called it good for now. I started researching it to see what legs were recommended for it by Ikea, and realized that it was not supposed to be a coffee table, it was supposed to be a desk.
Now, this actually makes a lot of sense because it’s huge. But somehow that idea hadn’t occurred to Dave and I, and we decided to go ahead with the original coffee table idea.
We knew we would have to paint the table part because 1) it was black and 2) there was a large chip/scratch on one side. My immediate thought was to paint it pink (!) but thought maybe my husband wouldn’t approve of the girly color. So, I simply started looking for a bright color that would work in our room.

Since we have a very small space, and were aiming for colorful not monochromatic, we had to consider what other color statements we made in our house. Orange was out because we already had 5 orange chairs. Green is impossible to match and difficult to force, so the green curtains in the living room vetoed that idea. Red doesn’t really fit with the jewel-tones we already have. Yellow is out because of the beige couches. I love turquoise-y blue, but the ottomans under the coffee table are already that color.
So, that left us with (drumroll please) pink and purple.
Yay girly me!
Thankfully, I married the most wonderful man in the universe. He thinks a home should represent the people living there, but especially the taste of the woman. Hooray! Also, he knows how much I love pink and is totally ok with incorporating pink elements into our home. Yippie!
So, we decided on pink. Bright, wonderful pink. Of course, we ran out to Lowes and picked up tons of pink paint samples. The clerks there probably think I’m preggers. 

Now, painting this monstrous coffee table is only half of the project. It isn't very sturdy because it is just resting on top of other tables, and because coffee tables often end up in foot space, I'm terrified it's going to get kicked off one of these days. 
So, we need to make a sturdy base for it.
My original thought was to do something like this:
We would measure the width of the sides of the table (3/4") and buy wood the same width and secure it using L brackets. Unfortunately, Dave didn't think this would be sturdy enough. He thought we should do something like this:
He wanted to move the legs in a bit to make it sturdier, and honestly, I wasn't able to visualize it. (I just found these pictures on Pinterest, and in seeing a real table with inset legs makes me realize it's not as awful as I originally thought... but still not what I'm looking for.)
So, I did what anybody would do in this situation. I doodled. In church.

Oops! But it did help both of us visualize what we were looking for.
From the sketches I thought maybe the box idea would work the best, and Dave agreed. We mentioned the idea to Wes, who suggested adding a drawer for storage, as we'll be losing our ottomans. Fantastic idea.
Until we started looking into the price. We payed about $50 for the table top (I think? I'll have to ask Dave if he remembers the actual price) and it would probably be at least another $60 to build a base and a drawer and paint it. 
And, to top it all off, I started having second thoughts! 
This table was meant to be a desk. It's big like a desk, the space between the wood and the glass is the perfect amount of space for a desk, and it's big like a desk.
Yeah, this thing is kinda huge. We will have to move when I graduate in a few months, and what if our new apartment has a smaller living room? It takes up a lot of space. Plus, I was realizing that this giant coffee table, while it's nice now (we always eat in the living room because the kitchen table has turned into a counter), it's not really what I want in a coffee table. The glass top is fun, but I'd rather have something more MCMish, with rounded edges and spindly legs. This table will never be that.
However, we still have it and we still like it in this context. So what are we supposed to do????
It's too expensive, it's not what I ultimately want, it's huge, and we're moving soon. One thought I came up with was to simply reuse four of the existing legs on the existing coffee tables. That would be free (with only the cost of paint) and therefore painless to replace if it realizes it's life goal of becoming a desk someday. 
What do you think? Would you ever dare to paint a piece of furniture bright pink? Have you ever picked up some great deal only to get it home and realize it was something completely different than you thought it was? Which base would you pick?