Should I return coffee table or buy a new rug?
Changing decor to suit an expensive proposition is more costly, writes Samantha Pynn .
Q I bought a solid wood coffee table in black walnut for my living room. My sofa is a light grey and the rug off-white. My space is small and everything fits, but it seems crowded. Also, the rug now looks too yellow. I can still return the coffee table. The price was great and I did like it the store. But I’m wonderin ing if I should buy a rug with a darker grey or grey-brown?
A It sounds like you may have brown boot syndrome, or BBS. It’s not a real syndrome; it’s just my name for times when I make the wrong purchase, and then try to force it to work by spending more money.
A few years ago, I bought brown boots that were on sale. They were the right height and size, but the brown shade of my new boots just didn’t look right with anything in my mostly black wardrobe. Instead of returning the boots, I bought a new navy sweater and navy coat. I ended up wearing my coat-sweater-boot combo once.
Unfortunately, the boots are still in the trunk of my car because I keep forgetting to donate them and perhaps, secretly, I want to buy something else to try to make them work.
To answer your question, a darker grey rug will help, but if you like your off-white rug and your light grey sofa, then return the table and buy something that works with what you already have.
An upholstered ottoman in a cream-and-grey pattern will fit well. A trick I learned in my styling days is that if you want a piece — such as your ottoman — to stand out or look larger, then find one in a contrasting colour. If you want your ottoman to disappear like a brown bird hiding in the bushes, buy an ottoman in the same colour as your rug or sofa.
If you’re not into an upholstered ottoman, the best solution I’ve found for tight quarters (when you don’t have small children) is glass. A glass table won’t overpower the room or take up any visual space; plus, you won’t have to worry about matching pattern and colour.
The key is to find a table with a glass top. Avoid heavy dark wood frames with inset glass. Glass tables with iron bases and swooping legs and feet that can trip you are also a bad idea in small spaces.
There are plenty of mid-century-modern glass coffee tables with small-scale proportions and dynamite craftsmanship on the secondhand market.
If you prefer something brand new, here are a few tables that will work well with your grey sofa and cream rug.