There are many types of coffee tables, and their names sometimes refer to their design or to their style profile, which can make it confusing to know what type to choose.
Coffee tables have to be functional as well as stylish and should blend in enough with your decor and interior design while standing out enough to be a feature.
It’s a delicate balance, to say the least, and unless you are a professional interior designer, it’s likely that some terms and labels on furniture items have you genuinely baffled as to what they mean.
‘Sled coffee tables’ are one of those terms that sends your imagination off in a particular direction that actually hasn’t much to do with the design.
In this world of the internet and catalog shopping, it’s good to know the names for what you are looking for, so you can search for the right thing. In decades past, if you wanted a coffee table, you would just go to a showroom and pick the one you liked the most.
While many people still do that, we have increasingly busy lifestyles, which affects our shopping habits.
As we said, there are many types and styles of coffee tables out there, so if you’re looking online, it’ll help to know the name of what you’re actually searching for, so you can narrow down your search results.
This will save you time and stress if you’re looking for a coffee table.
We’re hoping to translate the term ‘sled coffee table’ into layman’s terms, so you can know what you want and what you don’t from your coffee table design. With that in mind, we’re answering some FAQs about sled coffee tables.
What Is A Sled Coffee Table?
A sled coffee table is a type of coffee table design that resembles a sled or sledge in one key way. It usually has two legs which act as four. When you think of a sled, you’ll imagine that it has two ski-type blades underneath it, so it can move across the ice.
Sled coffee tables rest on two blade-like legs which support the flat surface on which you put your cup of coffee, TV remote controls, and whatever else you put on your coffee table.
The term ‘sled coffee table’ might lead your imagination to picture a repurposed arctic dog-sled or something like that. As cool as that would be in the middle of your lounge, it’s not exactly what is meant by the label.
It simply refers to the way the table rests on blade-like legs, like two skis or ice-skate blades support a person. (picture source)
Why Is It Called A Sled Coffee Table?
The term refers to the resemblance the legs have to a traditional sled. While a Parson coffee table has four legs that are square in shape, one in each corner of the rectangle, a sled coffee table, only has two wide legs that usually support two parallel sides of the coffee table.
The legs are more or less the width or length of the coffee table, so they act as if they are four-legged by supporting every corner.
Why Are Coffee Tables So Low?
Coffee tables are low so that the view across the social spaces in your house are not disrupted by whatever you place on them.
If you had a table the height of a dining room table in the middle of your lounge, then you might be fortunate enough to have an undisrupted view of your TV if it is wall-mounted but if someone else sat on the couch across the table from you, you wouldn’t be able to see them as well which would make socializing challenging.
To make them functional, coffee tables are low so that whatever you place on them will not be an obstacle to your being able to see the TV and other people.
Generally, the items people might keep on their coffee table are things like hot drinks. That’s why it’s called a coffee table, so you can rest your hot cup on it, between sips.
Some people use coffee tables as a convenient place to keep the TV remote controls, so they can always be found easily, and they are also used to keep convenience items within reach of the comfortable seating in the living room.
These can include tissues, magazines, or books which members of the household will be using frequently.
What Is The Difference Between A Coffee Table And A Cocktail Table?
The answer is that there isn’t much of a difference between the two. You might think that a coffee table is lower than a cocktail table, but you’d be wrong.
They are both low tables that function as a resting place for your beverage and whatever other clutter you choose to decorate your table with. The only difference between a coffee table and a cocktail table is the shape of the surface.
It’s a technical point that most people elect to ignore because it makes no difference to what the table is used for, but a coffee table is actually a low round or oval-shaped table and a cocktail table is square or rectangular.
That’s it, that’s the extent of the difference between them. You may well have a cocktail table and not have known it, until now. Or maybe your so-called coffee table isn’t one at all.
As a general rule, we think that language adapts and that it’s perfectly acceptable to call all low tables on which you put your drinks in the living room a coffee table.
Unless having a cocktail table instead of a coffee table makes it acceptable to drink the aforementioned cocktails before noon, in which case, can we have one?
Are There Coffee Tables That Look Like Sleds?
If you were particularly disappointed that a sled coffee table doesn’t usually look much like a winter sled, then don’t worry. There are coffee tables out there that actually do look like dog-sleds or similar. Here are a couple of our favorites. (source left, source right)
While we’re not sure if these will blend in on most people’s living room rugs, it’s nice to know that something similar to what you imagine when you first hear the term ‘sled coffee table’ actually does exist.