Save or Splurge : Brass and Glass Coffee Tables

I’d like to think that by the time you read this we will have had a call about the delivery of the new sofa. We won’t. It’s supposed to be here in the week ending 11 July. He thinks it will come at 6pm that day. I think it will be late. We’ll see who wins.

brass and glass coffee table by victoria stainow
brass and glass coffee £4,800 table by victoria stainow

Anyway, the sofa, which is (hopefully) a mix of very elegant and very comfortable charcoal velvet with a button back (but not a chesterfield) and a highish leg (so there will need to be hoovering) has started me thinking about coffee tables.

brass and marble coffee table from westelm
brass and marble £499 from westelm 

Ours is a huge rustic slab of reclaimed wood. Apparently a couple of hundred years old, it looks to me like an old refectory table with the legs cut down. Or even something that someone knocked up out of some old, and very wide, floorboards. I love it. It’s perfect for resting your feet on, the children used to sit on it when they were little, and it’s big enough to hold magazines and coffee table type stuff as well as the makings of a sofa supper.

But I worry that when the new sofa comes in, that it will look somehow ungainly. A little too large for the space. And so I started looking at other coffee tables. Something a little more refined. After all the children don’t need to sit on it now. Now, it can be a thing of beauty as well as a thing of practicality.

brass and glass coffee table from crate and barrel
oval brass and glass coffee table £544 from crate and barrel

And I find myself drawn to a mix of brass and glass. There are masses of vintage ones around at various prices. And there are modern ones too. And I look at them and think that maybe, just maybe, that is the sort of partner my new sofa will require. Otherwise it might look like a girl in a ballgown wearing wellies. Which is all well and good for Glastonbury but that is one weekend a year. The rest of the time we need a little balance.

left: hicks $7,165 and right ethnic side table from
left: hicks $7,165 from myplumdesign and right ethnic side table £175 from

So there they are, the only question is do I save or splurge? What would you do?

And if all these are too much here is the link to a very clever ikea hack which may yet be my solution. It’s the Vittsjo (£45) and here’s the picture, from Hunted Interior, where you can read the tutorial too. The base shelf is wood painted to look like marble, which I’m not sure about, but the rest of it looks great.

ikea hack from

Mind you, many years ago on a trip to America, we visited the Mormon church in Salt Lake City and all the pillars there are wooden and painted to look like marble so why not? brass coffee table

Brass and glass goes pretty well in any interior from the masculine dark colours to a soft pink scheme. It’s stunning with blue – think teal and – brings a hint of 70s retro to a modern scheme while chiming perfectly with a more minimalist look. Start stalking ebay and vintage sites; you don’t have to buy an antique or, failing that, Rustoleum is your friend.

And I’ve included this image because the new sofa is going to look very like this one – minus the brass studs and fancy feet. Still, I may customise that ….


Tags : brassbrass glass coffee tableIkea
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Wow! These are just too awesome. A very good collection of brass and glass and these sofas and tables makes their mark. It makes me remind my grandfather’s room. Sofas are too good. Thanks for giving more ideas on Vintage Furniture.

  2. I had a brass & glass vintage number that everyone loved (including me) except my partner hated it. He felt it was a bit too 70’s, a bit too delicate (ie., he couldn’t put his big man feet on it). I ended up getting the West Elm one above instead which we both love – it looks and feels sturdy but somehow doesn’t lose it’s feminine wiles (it’s the Christina Hendrix of coffee tables perhaps).

    Also, my sofa is a velvet tufted Chesterfield and the balance between them works rather well too 🙂 So of course I’m gonna tell you to go for it 😉 xxx

    1. Interesting – vintage 70s is all the rage at the moment too – but I can see his point of view. Hopefully the sofa will be here soon so we can see how it looks and what it needs to make it happy! x

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