Regular readers to this blog will know that the husband has wobbly legs and uses crutches or a wheelchair to get around the house. This causes us some issues when choosing lovely things for the home and the coffe table is no exception.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about the bed, sofa, dining table and even the rug, all things you wouldn’t think needs additional thought if you’re disabled, but as you can see we always have to think differently about how we buy and use furniture.
For the past eight or nine years we’ve used a John Lewis Trunk as a coffee table. We’ve had small living rooms in the three houses we’ve lived together in and we wanted the trunk for storage as well as for putting your dinner or your feet on. It holds a massive amount of DVDs and CDs and whilst it’s a little higher than a normal coffee table, it’s sturdy, heavy and we use it as additional seating when we have a roomful of people.
As you can tell we are rather attached to our trunk. The catch is starting to get wobbly, as are the handles but we don’t want to get rid of it. Recently, with the husband’s increasingly bad balance the table is used for him to get up off the floor (if he falls) and to use for additional support to lean on when getting off the sofa.
It is, however, a little large and when he uses the wheelchair it’s a little tight to navigate around. So alongside the living room refurb I’ve started to look around for alternatives that are sturdy and resilient.
We need something that won’t wobble, topple or give way if his full weight goes on it, so lovely long spindy legged coffee tables are sadly out. As are glass topped tables. Ideally I’d like a round table to prevent sharp corner injuries when he falls (it’s like toddler-proofing your house 🙂 ).
I’ve found a few alternatives that we’ve considered, but as with most coffee tables they are about 10cm shorter than our trunk which causes him issue when trying to get off the sofa, they’re too low down to use as leverage. However, we love these ones because they are strong, a good size and will take his weight:
This West Elm table is very sturdy and it’s a great size and a really useful height. And looks fabulous. It’s also currently on sale (at time of writing) at £399. The box frame makes it hard to topple and also gives it a level of sturdiness in each corner. The marble top would also be pretty tricky for even him to break, although I’m slightly worried about the joins between the different marble finishes.
Photo Credit: West Elm (www.westelm.co.uk)
This from M&S is a lovely small alternative, again the metal box frame gives strength and the marble top is also very strong and at £229 it’s a great price too. It’s our current favourite.
Photo Credit: Marks and Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)
This Ikea option is useful because of the storage underneath and the height is great at 47cm. I’m not sure it’s necessarily strong enough to hold his weight if he needs to lean or sit on it fully. However at £90 it’s a good price and it would be possible to paint this to match your scheme if you wanted to.
Photo Credit: Ikea (www.ikea.co.uk)
This Dwell option is a favourite of ours, it’s certainly strong enough, he tried it out in the Tottenham Court Road branch and it’s also got useful storage and a lid that raises to allow you to eat at a good height, or use it for laptop purposes. It also looks pretty stylish and modern. However at 36cm it’s a little low. At full price it’s in the £399 region although Dwell do offer it on sale from time to time so it’s worth keeping an eye out.
Photo Credit: Dwell (www.dwell.co.uk)
It’s been a very difficult process for us, looking for coffee tables, not only because we’re attached to the trunk, but also because it’s used for other purposes than putting a drink on. As usual, buying furniture for us needs to be about the function of the item, the way it looks and whether or not it fits in with our needs when we take into account his disability.
We recently bought this table from John Lewis which we will use as a helping hand for him to get off the sofa so we may be able to contemplate a lower coffee table. The hunt continues…
Photo Credit: John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
What other things do you look for when buying furniture? Have you seen any great coffee tables on your travels, I’d love to see them!