Are Coffee Tables Becoming Extinct?

by hookedonhouses on April 3, 2012

There’s an interesting article on Stylelist Home that lists 7 things that are slowly disappearing from our homes–starting with coffee tables. That caught my attention because I recently got rid of mine. Everyone always wants to put their feet up in our house, so we decided an ottoman would be more comfortable. Apparently we aren’t alone in making the switch.

Other things that made the list include full-sized beds and tablecloths. But I’m scratching my head over a couple of them, like nightstands (don’t we all need something to put our Kleenex boxes and books on?). And have to say I’m surprised that TV armoires weren’t mentioned.

I once wrote a post that asked, “Are TV Armoires the Dinosaurs of 2008?” So many people had started switching to flat-screen TVs by that point that I could foresee a day when the big TV cabinets would no longer be needed. Since writing about them, I now have two old armoires in my basement that no longer have televisions in them!

Do you still love your coffee tables and TV armoires? What household items do you think are becoming extinct?

(Visit Stylelist Home to read their article. Keaton Coffee Table by Pottery Barn; source of armoire photo unknown. )

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Elaine April 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

I love our coffee tables, and will always have them. Recently we got rid of one we’d had for over thirty years! We also put our feet (shrieks!) on them. Must have them for papers, coffee cups, and other items that won’t balance well on an ottoman or tray on an ottoman.

hookedonhouses April 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

I guess we put our drinks on the side tables now. Or the floor. That’s where I found one yesterday. Ha.

Justina April 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

on the floor? tres chic of you, lol

Casey April 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Yep, we do the same thing now. We’d always had a large coffee table in our living room, but it really just held our feet. When our daughter was born, I worried about her bonking her head on it, so we just put it in the attic. Drinks and things go on the side tables…can’t say I really miss the coffee table!

TheDecorGirl April 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

Good point! Coffee tables in the form of a hard wood surface in the daily living area are no longer a must have item. We replace a lot of coffee tables with upholstered ottomans. Life is tough – we need to put our feed up. I designed one with an ottoman top and a low shelf on the bottom so storage is still an option.

You were right on those armories. Flat screens are in full view – now if we can just stop hanging them over a fireplace.


laney April 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

…amen about televisions over the fire place!

Aryn April 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Same here – I hate them over the fireplace!

CeCe April 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I would have agreed with both of you until I bought a house where the fireplace was the only place to hang a tv and it really doesn’t bother me at all!

CeCe April 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Oh, the reason that’s the only place is because I knocked down all the other walls to make a great room.

CEFinCincy April 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hubby and his friends keep saying a flat screen would look great over the fireplace. I put the kibosh on that thought and put a huge painting over it. :)

Dixie Redmond April 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

We have no coffee tables. Mostly to allow for playing for our kids. But now I’m considering getting one for the feet up option. ;-) Need something I can wipe clean easily (again with the kids).

Justina April 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Dixie feet on a coffee table? remind me never to put my scone down on your table, lol

emily April 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

Interesting article- now you have me questioning the existence of my coffee table. Or maybe I should just add some pillows and call it an ottoman. In a book (I can’t remember which one) I found the idea of replacing a bedside stand with a simple wall mounted shelf to make vacuuming easier… no furniture to move! I thought it was a great idea and I think of it every time I vacuum my bedroom. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work for me since there is a window on my side of the bed.

Heather April 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

We got rid of our coffee table years ago when our babies were born – they liked playing in the middle of the living room – and we never brought it back. We do use end tables, though. We moved at the end of 2011 and I got rid of all my tablecloths except for two.

I don’t think I’ll ever give up my nightstand!

Casey April 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I agree with everything you said here :)

Susan April 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

Interesting…I was just thinking this week if I should change out my coffee table. It’s really oversized for the space, but I still like it and really don’t mind people putting their feet on it! I have my bedroom tv in an armoire, but I need it for space as much as anything else. It’s great storage for my fabrics. (Btw way I still haven’t gotten a flatscreen…does that say I’m the dinosaur???)
Last week while prowling through my favorite antique mall I noticed an abundance of punch bowls with cups. Does anyone still use those for entertaining?

Rick April 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

Punch bowl with cups, yes. My wife has one from her mother and it is used 1-2 time a year and enjoyed. We also use mom’s 40 cup coffee urn that was a wedding present 50 years ago.

We also have 3 tvs, all in cabinets, none flat screen. Tablecloths, coffee tables and nightstands too. Where do alarm clocks go without a nightstand?

Lorraine April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

In answer to your last question – for many people, alarm clocks are obsolete because they use their cell phones for that purpose. Kind of makes me sad, and I never thought I would feel nostalgic about alarm clocks!

Linda April 4, 2012 at 6:46 am

So where do they put the cell phone? On the floor?

Lorraine April 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Under their pillows, of course. Or clutched in their hands as they fall asleep texting.

David April 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Do they use a cell phone holster @ night?

Kate April 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

I lived without a coffee table for the last 7 years or so and recently bought a large coffee table that elevates for laptops or games. My husband and I use it daily and don’t know how we lived without one for so long!

Pamela April 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

I collect vintage linens (including tablecloths and napkins) so that’s one thing that’s not extinct in my home.

I do like the idea of large ottomans with a flat upholstered surface in lieu of a coffee table. My bedside tables are staying, though. I don’t know anyone who still has a double bed unless it’s an antique bed that won’t accommodate a queen mattress.

I’d say another dinosaur of 2000 – 2010 would be oiled bronze fixtures.

Jessica April 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

I love oil rubbed bronze fixtures. :-( I still see them in many new homes, too. Our house is only one year old and most of our fixtures are ORB. I think they have a classic, even “antique house” look.

CeCe April 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I love my ORB fixtures and pulls too…not giving up on them! I agree with you, they have a nice aged look.

KKCG April 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

They sell converter rails for antique full beds that allow them to accommodate a queen mattress. We have one for our deco set and it works great, I think they are pretty common. As for nightstands, we use an old steamer trunk and an antique Philco radio. Tablecloths? I have my Easter one out now, and one for every holiday, but ordinarily, I just leave the table bare, its a beautiful, vintage Empire (Duncan Phyfe-esque, as that seems to be what everyone calls it) in mahogany that was my great-great grandmothers, can’t possibly cover that up year round!

kasey April 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

What a wonderful idea for nightstands–the antique Philco radios, and their like, are so cool looking. Coupled with an old steamer trunk. I think that is so creative.

Sara April 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm

We have a double bed in my four year olds room. We thought he could grow with it rather than buying a twin that would seem too small for him in ten years. I think they are great for kids if space allows.

jennifer April 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

We too have ottoman for coffee table. Use tray for books and drinks. Totally disagree about the TV’s. Flatscreen, or no they are not attractive to look at. I would much rather have it behind closed doors.

Jessica April 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

We have one flatscreen, but it is white, so I actually like the way it looks. The other TV is downstairs in a TV cabinet. ;-)

Laura April 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

I haven’t had a coffee table in our family room since 1997 (and 3 houses later) The first house had formal parlors (that we NEVER used) with coffee tables though, then we downsized to live in a temporary home while building a new home. The temporary home was too small and our new house has an ottoman. Any flat surface in my house collects clutter so I’ve banished coffee tables and end tables. If you have a drink or a snack you have to hold onto it or put it on a tray. It makes it harder to leave empties sitting around! I also don’t miss bashing my knee on the corner of a coffee table!!

Our TV armoir has been banished to the game room in the basement until we feel like splurging on a flat screen for down there.

Table cloths? I have rarely ever used them but my husband’s grandmother’s seemed to have one for every occasion.

Sally April 3, 2012 at 8:30 am

I do love a great coffee table, but unfortunately it’s not very practical for us to have one since our couch reclines. We have a long narrow living room (and no family room) so it made more sense to get a couch that reclined (placed at the end of the room) than to have reclining chairs that stuck out INTO the narrow room along the side walls. =/

Leen April 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

Last year we traded out our coffee table for a large ottoman and most of the time I am glad we did. However, I just saw a gorgeous map cabinet used as a coffee table and fell in love so the ottoman may be getting the boot (what can I say, I am fickle about furniture!)

We may be one of the few families with TV armoire but we’re also one of the few without television service (by choice). No point in having to look at a television that you only use a couple times a week to watch movies. I love closing the doors to the armoire and not even thinking about the tv until the next movie night :)

Sherry April 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’m not sure about getting rid of my coffee table…especially as I’m considering buying a larger piece for the middle of the room. That said, I am looking at large ottoman options with storage. I haven’t used a tablecloth in years…just one more thing to “stain” and launder. I prefer place mats or charger plates on the wood for a nicer look. I need a nightstand — something to hold a lamp and my book and my cup of tea. Interesting thoughts. And you’re right about armoires for tvs…with flatscreen being the option now they are dinosaurs.

Danielle April 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

Five years ago, when we moved into our current home we didn’t have a coffee table for our living room but I intended to find one to go with the existing furniture. As the years passed I decided not to bother. The room looks spacious and uncluttered without it. We have some small wooden folding tables that we put out if we have company, to set down drinks and snacks.

Margaret April 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

Sitting here looking at my coffee table. It has a remote on it, bills, various coffee table books, a book I am reading and a spray bottle with water in it to spray the dog with while trying to break her from jumping on people. I need my coffee table. Although between coffee tables, it was nice to have that extra room. Maybe the clutter could go elsewhere.

Patience April 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

We lived without one for years because we had so many children and coffee tables are awful to have around babies who always seem to fall and hit their heads right on the corners. Last year I finally bought a proper coffee table–a French industrial factory table on wheels. I love it and do not plan to get rid of it just to follow a trend. Tablecloths? I always thought they were fussy and unneccessary and they look totally wrong on my farmhouse table. TV Armoire? I confess I still have one. It’s a very simple design, it holds the TV plus our gaming systems, board games, puzzles, photographs, all kinds of stuff. We have no plans to upgrade our TV and even if we did, the armoire is so great for storage, I’d want to keep it.

Jocelyn April 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

We moved a year ago and one of the first things we added to our new home was a large coffee table in the family room. We LOVE it! When we have guests it’s a perfect place for them to put their beverage. I’ve been to homes where I’ve had to juggle my plate and drink, not wanting to make a mess on my hostesses floor. I really don’t mind if someone puts their feet on the coffee table. It sure is better then having to wipe up drinks off the ottoman or carpet :-(

Kymberly April 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

Re: Coffee Table v. Ottoman – we have both. My kids like to eat and do other things in our living room that require a table. I do think the era of the “fuzzy” coffee table may be over. Ours is an antique carpenters tool chest so any wear and tear just adds to the patina. It’s been years since I, or anyone under the age of 70-something I know, had to utter the phrase “use a coaster!”

As for TV Armoires – again I may be a rebel but even with a flat screen I like it inside a cabinet. I cannot for the life of me figure out how people are hanging them on existing walls and not having all the wires and such dangling down! My living room walls contain two sets of pocket doors that slide into the walls so my situation may be unique in that retrofitting the wires into the wall won’t really work? Exposed electronics don’t really work for me so as long as ours needs to be in a certain corner and have the DVR, DVD, Surround Sound, etc. — it will be in some sort of cabinet.

Kymberly April 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

*Fuzzy coffee table = “Fussy” coffee table. Sorry! (And in the interest of full disclosure I fully admit that sometimes our coffee table probably IS fuzzy).

Carisa April 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

I love my coffee table! We just upgraded from an ugly old thing my parents gave us to a very rustic wood and iron converted cart style coffee table. It’s so rugged and rustic that I don’t mind us putting our feet on it and it moves so easy for vacuuming.

My TV armoire just went to the basement last month. :( It does have a TV in it and we use it when we get on the elliptical. I hate having the flat screen out in view and hated all the cabinets we saw so we ended up ripping the back off of an antique sideboard we have and that now houses all the blu-ray & dvd players, etc. But the TV has to sit on top and I still hate seeing the giant TV all the time.

At least it’s not hung above the fireplace. I HATE that trend and I hope to stop seeing it soon.

I like my nightstands. They are dead useful, they stay.

I’d like to see granite countertops go away. Let’s find something that doesn’t scratch, crack or scorch and is more affordable. The proliferation of granite makes no sense to me when it’s still such a delicate substance. Yes it’s pretty but not practical at all. There may well be something more durable out there, I’ve not done much research.

I would like to see more retro kitchen appliance options. I only know of Big Chill and Northstar. I love all the colors available and they go so well in my 1940s house.

Lorraine April 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

Thanks for the info about granite counter tops. I had no idea they were that delicate. I too would like to see this fad go away before it becomes a victim of its own popularity. When any design feature becomes a “must have” it’s sure to become a norm, then invisible, and then out-dated. Good luck with your counter top research. I’m sure there are plenty of alternatives out there.

WittyMermaid April 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I agree with the comments about the granite in the kitchen.
Granite has become the status symbol since 2010, I think.
Like the BMW, I hope they go away in favor of something economical, durable, and sensible. What is the Honda Pilot of countertops? I don’ t know, but am searching as I will be replacing mine soon.

Carol April 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm


Lorraine April 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks. I looked it up and Silestone does have a lot going for it – it doesn’t need to be sealed on an on-going basis like granite, it comes with a guarantee, and it doesn’t chip. I don’t have anything against granite, it’s often very beautiful, but I’m all for variety.

betty in munich April 5, 2012 at 2:26 am

Why does everyone think granite is so “delicate”? We have granite counter tops in our kitchen that are now 12 years old and been through 3 different owners in our apartment. I take things off the stove and oven directly on to them with no trouble what-so-ever. Never a trivet nothing, always directly on them. A scratch on granite? How is that possible? Granite cracking? I don’t see one crack. Spills including red wine wipe up no problem, nothing has ever stained. I have never put any special coating or something on them and they still look brand new. I can only tell you they have been the work horse in our kitchen and they still look great. If you want to see a picture of our kitchen there is one here:

hookedonhouses April 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

Very nice, Betty! And pretty cool that your kitchen was featured there. Thanks for the link! :)

Lorraine April 7, 2012 at 7:37 am

I love your kitchen and your cat. I wonder if granite varies in strength – depending on its origins?

Arlene April 8, 2012 at 1:37 am

I’m with you Betty. I love love my granite, first got it in a home I had built. Then when we bought another house, the first thing I did was have granite installed. I have never had to put any coatings on it. I put my hot pots right on it. Nothing stains. I roll my dough on it. I will never ever not have granite. I love it. I don’t know why anyone says it is so hard to take care of. No cracks. No stains. Perfect, and easy.

Kate April 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

I totally heart coffee tables. We will never part ways.

Brigid April 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

I am a dinosaur :) I still have tablecloths for special occasions, and placemats so I don’t ruin my wood table. I do have a coffee table in my living room but two cube ottomans in our library where we watch TV ( live in a condo). The ottomans are great as extra seating or for putting up your feet. And my family will put feel on the edge of the coffee table too! I still like my coffee table!

Anne April 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

I agree with most of those – if only for space reasons. I don’t have a coffee table, but I do have a trunk – like mentioned in the article, because it doubles as storage. I do have two loveseats (and no couches) but that’s a space thing.

Claudia April 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

I have had 2 different young grandsons (ages 3 to 5) fall face first onto the edges of coffee tables while jumping around on the sofa, so I should get rid of my coffee table. Fortunately both grandsons had no permanent damage and are still as cute as ever, but it does seem impossible for a little boy to actually SIT on a sofa. They can only jump up and down. Anyhow, when the little ones are around, we now move the coffee table in front of the fireplace. That helps by blocking the tempting fireplace and getting the hard edges of the coffee table away from the sofa ‘trampoline.’

Brigid April 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

Ps no armoire here and yes , I will keep my nightstands…. Where would everything go?? I do have a cabinet for flat screen that hides it when not in use. Raises and lowers with a remote… Hence it’s a man toy. It’s too big for my liking, but it hides the big tv so I work with it:)

Sue April 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

In my den, putting the feet up is a must, so no coffee table, just a comfy ottoman (that my dogs usually hog). In the LR, I still have an antique coffee table that I got more than 20 years ago. When I redo this room/couch, I’ve already decided to look for a round leather upholstered ottoman, but with legs and a shelf underneath (makes it look less hulky).

Still have my “ancient” 9 year old 27″ TV, in a small armor (no doors), that fits it like a glove. Won’t be changing that anytime soon.

Always have old/antiquy nightstands. Am currently looking for one that is like a small chest of drawers. With the lamp, clock, phone, tissues, book, and what have you, where do people fit that stuff on a little shelf?

And I’ve always had a “thing” for vintage kitchen tablecloths. They just look so homey! Maybe not in today’s modern kitchens. Also on my to-do list is to convert my formal DR into a comfy/cozy morning/breakfast room, and the tablecloths will fit right in. Some day!

Nicole April 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

We have a coffee table in our “no one sits in this room” living room….now that is something I’d like to know if people even do anymore! There isn’t a coffee table in our game room but now that I think about it there is one in the man cave.

When we move we will be losing a room (which will be the no one uses this room…never understood this honestly, lol) and I have to say that I’d like to get rid of the coffee table and simply have an ottoman that has a lid that can be used as a tray when we have people over and we need the space for drinks and what not. I am definitely into the more modern/minimalism with a touch of feminine look these days, lol

Sarah @ housecrazy April 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

My dad made my coffee table from an old oak tree from the village I grew up in – so I could never get rid of it! Too much sentimental value. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it sure means a lot to me.

Mary Wilson April 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

I turned my old TV armoir into a gift wrap station. I still love my coffee table though. It is stuffed with books and magazines and when we have dinner guests it is where we serve dessert.

B April 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

I cant see how coffee tables are becoming extinct! a lot of design features coffee tables and accessories….what i think is disappearing is sofa end tables.

Laura April 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

We tend to be so behind the times that we skip at least every other trend. I have always wanted an armoire for the TV but now I’ll wait to get a flat screen some day (and think of a way to camouflage it – TVs are ugly!). For now the whole TV/stereo/DVD cabinet mess is behind a screen when not in use.
We have coffee tables. Not too comfortable to put your feet up on, but we manage. I’ve thought of an ottoman in the TV room, but where would the remotes, drinks, magazines, books, and all of the other detritus that collects on the coffee table go? The floor, that’s where!
Bedside tables are a must, and I don’t see anything wrong with them. Maybe they mean no more purpose-built, matching-pair bedside tables. I guess I agree with that.
We slept in my great grandmother’s old double bed for years. Now I can’t imagine it! Way too small.
And tablecloths, well, we have one now because I haven’t gotten around to refinishing the table top yet. But I will always love a nice white linen tablecloth, silver, sparkling glassware, flowers, etc. for the holidays!

Molly @thewaffler April 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

I have a coffee table in the more “formal” living room area (which we rarely use, btw) but none in the family room — it’s much too valuable real estate for dancing and ninja fights.

MimiG April 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

Very timely question for me. I just got rid of my coffee table and am looking for a large ottoman to use. I plan to use a large tray on it for drinks, etc., and will still have plenty of space for feet.
Double bed – still have one in my guest room. It just fits better.
Bedside tables – haven’t had matching ones in year. I use small “bachelor” chests as my bedside tables. Similar, but more space and more storage.
I collect vintage tablecloths, but rarely use them. Enjoy seeing the stacks of color! I like to see the top of the table, whether it’s wood, metal or painted. They seem to slide or something and just get in the way.

Nicole Mulvany April 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

Coffee tables are just too important to me to get rid of. Right now I have a round ottoman for the den. With two kids I felt my old Bombay iron and glass one had to be stored. Someone gave me another one just like it. So now I have two. My dream is to have a big enough living room that I can two couches back to back and then two seating areas. Can you picture it? Then the coffee tables. Pipe dream? Probably. But, some days when I am cleaning yet another hand print off the ottoman and vacuuming out cheerios that fell into the button holes (of course the ones that haven’t come undone) it’s all I dream about.

roberta April 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

I will always have a coffee table, but my entertainment armoire is now being used to hold the flat screen on top and the old TV compartment is now filled with ALL my blankets, and I do mean full. The side with shelves for the stereo I am using for craft supplies, for the time being. Would love to get rid of it, it’s huge, but I paid so much for it and really do like it.

Karena April 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

I do have a gorgeous glass topped coffee table I would love to sell; then replace it with a Chinese Trunk I painted.

I hope you will Come and enter my amazing Cross Bottle Guy Giveaway!You will love it!

Art by Karena

Jane April 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

As we become more casual, I can see the disappearance of coffee tables. I’m old enough to remember when people entertained in the living room (most people didn’t have dens) and actually served coffee and cake, thereby make such a table necessary. Now days everyone entertains in the TV room and it’s more of a place to put up your feet. Sigh! I miss the elegance of the good old days. I even have something more old fashioned in my living room; a tea table. My husband and I like to have tea in front of the fire there.

Kris April 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

We live in a small bungalow, so we opted for an ottoman (easily moved around, comfy if you bang into it) rather than a table. Plus, when you have toddlers and small children, a table with four sharp edges just seems like trouble. These were all practical reasons, but I also prefer the “look” of an ottoman over a table.

Katie April 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

Interesting. I don’t get the nightstand thing either – I need somewhere to put my books! As for the coffee table, I love the look of an ottoman with a tray on top for drinks. I use a trunk for that purpose now. I guess I have never really had a traditional coffee table.

Arlene April 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

Dresser scarves are being replaced by “runners” and many have said farewell to the silver tea sets (they are in the local vintage stores). We have a coffee table in our “formal” living room, but an ottoman in the family room. We have too much stuff in my bedroom to consider getting rid of the night stands. Our lamp and trusty clock radio are sitting on the night stands along with a tissue box and various creams and lotions (mess). The armoire for the TV never came into the house; we went from a console television directly to a flat screen.

Arlene April 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

Oh, my mother told me I learned to walk around the coffee table. So they do serve a purpose, when you have small children I guess…

Parnassus April 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

I never realized it until now that I grew up without coffee tables–my parents never used them, although we did have nesting and occasional tables. I do have one in my current place–it was there when I moved in. It is the one with the bat carvings that I featured in an old post:

Karen April 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

I live in a small home–living room only and no family room, so I do not have a coffee table. I’ve never had one and I prefer the look without one. I have considered an ottoman, but would prefer finding one that would accomodate storage as that is more essential in smaller homes and spaces. I do not have a flat screen TV either. I just got rid of a very old TV as a friend, whose son got them a flat screen gave me hers. It is 6 years old and is not flat. I have an entertainment center which houses the TV, and we can close the cabinet doors if we choose. I think TV are ugly anyway and would prefer a set-up that provides me with an option of keeping them out of view. I’ve never had an armoire. I do use table cloths, but I do not have a lot of them. I like the way they look. I have a formal dining room attached to my kitchen and we use that frequently as I chose not to have a huge island in the kitchen. I didn’t like how it looked in the kitchen. So we do use the dining room all the time for our meals.

Liz April 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

I love coffee tables and have no intention of parting with mine. I’ve never been into trends. I pick out what I like and find comfortable to live with. Coffee tables are a tradition, and I am a very traditional person.

Emily April 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

I’ve always kept a corded phone plugged into a landline around in case the power went out. (After realizing that a cordLESS phone didn’t work in a power outage even though the phone line was fine.)
Then we were in Japan for the earthquake and guess what? We had one of the only working phones in town and it was a life saver. Our neighbors who had cell phones and even landlines with only cordless phones to plug into them, were out of luck. (Until they came to our house.)

Also, I’m with you on the tv armoire. Got rid of ours at a garage sale this year!

Ming April 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

Oh, I just love our coffee table. It’s actually an antique library desk that my Aunt Helen had the legs cut down so she could use it. It’s made from quarter-sawn oak and is simply the most beautiful piece of furniture I own. I asked Aunt Helen if I could have it when she died and lo and behold, it lives on in my house and has for over 25 years! It will ALWAYS be a part of our family.

I know, I sound crazy but it’s one piece I will never part with!

Allison April 3, 2012 at 11:27 am

I agree with Emily about the nightstands… we have removed ours for about a month as an experiment. We always keep books nearby so there are a few stacked on the floor but as for our lamps I’d like to replace them with wall mounted ones and also hanging baskets for books. We keep our water cups in the bathroom. I don’t really miss the night table. I don’t miss dusting it and our room looks so spacious which I really like.

I just hated walking into our room and seeing dust everywhere that I didn’t have time to clean. Not exactly the refreshing, sanctuary feeling your bedroom is supposed to give you, heh.

Allison April 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

But maybe the article was also referring to the use of other objects as night stands as opposed to traditional night stands… just a thought.

hookedonhouses April 3, 2012 at 11:30 am


Rebecca C. April 3, 2012 at 11:59 am

Is the ottoman still a coffee table though? You can put stuff on it, if you have a tray. We have a coffee table. There always seems to be lots of stuff on it though. Maybe if I had an ottoman instead, people would quit piling stuff on it. Sideboards? Not sure how many people have those. Many of us love built-ins instead. Nightstands? Never get rid of mine. Where would the alarm clock and books go? I don’t use tablecloths all the often because of the cats (they love to pull them off the table).

Lorraine April 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Etageres were very popular for a while. Now you see them on Craigslist all the time. In the kitchen people would use them for their microwaves or to display dishes. But for the space they take up and the dusting involved they’re just not an efficient use of space. Likewise tea carts on wheels have become furniture dinosaurs. Since they wound up being a stationary piece of furniture they generally were not used for what they were intended. Right now with e-readers I think bookcases are going to become a rarity. Full size upright pianos are also becoming a thing of the past as portable electronic pianos continue to improve. The need for file cabinets will diminish as we move to become a paper-less society. I think newly built houses are starting to shrink due to the economy – so any large heavy piece of furniture will be a hard sell. My own ideal would be warm and homey looking furniture that can multitask (in order to make an efficient use of space), and can be easily moved (eg. lightweight, can be reassembled, on wheels, etc). But the reality is I’m always going to be attracted to non-functional furniture as long as it looks good and makes me feel happy. I say this as I look at my old wooden blanket trunk that takes up a lot of floor space but doesn’t have much storage space. It’s so pretty!

betty in munich April 5, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hee Hee, I had to look up what an Etageres was! Kind of like the old Baker’s racks that used to be popular. Kind of a clutter collector. But they might be good to store pots/pans especially if you are lucky enough to have a collection of Le Creuset or something like that in a fun color.

Lorraine April 7, 2012 at 7:41 am

That’s funny. I knew there was another way to describe them but I had forgotten it was “baker’s rack”!

Amanda @ Serenity Now April 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I just got a new coffee table from IKEA, so I’d have to say “no” to that one. ;) I still have a TV armoire, but only because we can’t afford a new flat screen right now (my husband is uber picky and wants a nice one). I do like that the armoire has tons of storage space in the drawers for all the girls’ movies, but a dresser or something would be fine too. I just love that the flat screen in the living room opens up the area more!

ShabbyChick April 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

We don’t have flat screen TV’s, so we use armoires (which are SO much more attractive than ANY type of visible television!). We have a chair and ottoman, AND a coffee table…we use them daily. We may be the exception, but we use what we have and don’t try to keep up with the Jones’. ;)

Lindsey April 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Love the pondering on coffee tables!! I have a tufted, square worn leather ottoman for a “coffee table” and I put a big ‘ol tray on top of it. I guess I chose this because of our three kids, figuring no bumped noggins would be a good thing (and especially no ugly corner covers!). And I don’t think I’ll ever go back! It has worn like a dream and every scratch makes it better and better…do I think they are going extinct…nah, I think the “coffee table” term has just begun to include more options:)

Kelly Berg April 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

With all this talk about coffee tables, I can weigh in on the TV armoire. Our TV is kind of big. It’s about 6/7 years old so we missed the razor-thin-design-at-affordable-prices stage. It has always been housed in an armoire which my dad built for us. It is big and bulky…but I still love it. Granted, the whole set up could be slightly less deep and would ideally take up less floor space, but I can’t imagine eliminating the option of covering up the TV when we aren’t watching it. We don’t have a separate “living room” and “family room.” One space is all we’ve got and we have to make it work. Having an armoire allows us to convert the space from a casual TV watching room into a more formal entertaining space at the close of two cabinet doors.
Maybe it’s old-school, but I get tired of looking at a monstrous TV all the time. Sometimes I want it to just go away. With the armoire, it can.

Katy April 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

The only problem with ottomans is that they become disgustingly dirty over time, even if you have the slipcover that you wash. Mine has been washed so much it is faded and looks terrible.
Sometimes I think a coffee table would be so much easier.

Melissa April 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I hate my coffee table for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a place for junk to accumulate. I feel like I’m constantly cleaning it off; even worse, if has two drawers that are stuffed full of more junk. Second, it’s really not comfortable for putting our feet on (even though that’s not a very classy thing to do). I’d much rather have side tables, and a large ottoman for resting our feet upon.

katie f. April 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

coffee table switched careers (repurposed as tv stand…) when the baby became a toddler.

Molly April 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

We took the TV armoire to my mother’s nursing home. The TVs in the rooms there were mounted on the wall, way up high, and she couldn’t see or hear her shows. We had them move the TV down to the armoire, and she can wheel her chair right up next to it if she wants to, so she can see and hear it (and operate it with the buttons instead of the remote, which she’s never really gotten the hang of). The armoire makes a good spot for pictures and things, and it fits nicely in a corner (space is REALLY limited in those rooms). It also looks more like home than a metal bracket bolted into the wall.

If you’ve got one and you want to get rid of it, you might check around with your local nursing homes. Somebody might really appreciate it. :-)

The Little Red Shop April 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I love coffee tables, table linens, my flat-screen tv hidden inside an armoire, using my cell phone as my alarm clock (the cute classic alarm clock is for decorative use only…it’s obnoxiously loud)…and entertaining with punch bowls, punch cups AND their matching plates (as do my friends). Most of the days that I visit dear friends down the street, their little girls are busy, drawing away…or working on their homework at the little white coffee table their mama upcycled for the space.

: )

Julie M.

Stacey April 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I had my husband convert our old TV armoire into a storage cabinet. We bought a few wood shelves from Home Depot, stained and installed them. It really gave it a second life. Couldn’t live without it.

Eliza April 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

We don’t have any sort of coffee table/ottoman in our house. Right now, the space is bare, but eventually we want a tea table like Jane (above) mentioned. No feet on the table please! We’ve never had a TV armoire, but we only used the TV for a movie every few months. For a while the television was (hooked up) in a bedroom closet, then it was set up in the (creepy, unheated) attic for a while, and finally we just let it go. We just crowd around a laptop now, if we really want to watch something.
We also recently switched the dining room and library after 15 years of the spaces not working well. The large former dining room has space for lots more bookshelves, and the new dining room gets great morning light. Since we’re using our new dining table a lot more frequently now, we’re looking for a table cloth to just leave on the table so we don’t have to worry about hot coffee mugs damaging the top.

Terri @ Travel 50 States with Kids April 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I couldn’t live without a coffee table. I need places to set stuff, and we put our feet up on it. I couldn’t find a coffee table I liked for our family room, so I had a cabinet maker build me one. It is big and has lots of storage where we keep board games. My only regret is that the cabinet maker asked us if we wanted him to distress it or let our kids distress it. I opted for the non-distressed look. And, of course, the kids have distressed it. I now wish it was supposed to look that way! As far as the armoire goes, I couldn’t give that up when our TV died. We found a 37″ flat screen that fits in it. I like being able to close it and hide the TV.

laney April 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

…i have an antique double brass bed that i got for christmas when i was in college…i brought it with me when i got married…we still sleep in it…that was 42 years ago…double beds work…

Kelly April 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm

We have an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table and I hate it. We had to cut down the legs because it was about 1-1/2″ higher than the sofa and it was uncomfortable to put up your feet. I’d like to toss it (along with the sofa…HATE. IT.) and get a coffee table with a bottom shelf instead.

Full or double size beds are fine for kids. We have a Cal King and even a Queen size bed is too small now. We like having room to move around.

I don’t own a single tablecloth. Nor an armoire. But I do love my bedside tables.

Another trend I was glad to see go was those massive “entertainment centers” that took up an entire wall.

Kim April 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

My family has never had a coffee table and I don’t mind at all. I like ottomans much better because I can put my feet up on them when I’m sitting on the couch.

The one thing I really don’t like in a house and would love to see go away is wallpaper. Yes there are some beautiful options out there, but when you want to get rid of them, they are so hard to take off the walls. Plus some patterns are very ugly. At least if you don’t like a paint color, you can easily paint over it.

Kelly April 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Oh, wallpaper. Hate. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve helped friends and family remove wallpaper from their new homes. I will never allow it in my home.

Kim April 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Thankfully I have never had to remove wallpaper, but from what people have told me, it’s a pain. That’s why, (like you said), I will never put any up in my house.

Shelly April 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

We haven’t had a coffee table in about 10 years and haven’t missed it. We use side tables for drinks, and the lack of coffee table leaves so much more room for moving around!

Nancy Hoffmann April 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm

As the flat screen TVs become so large, armoires are not realistic anymore. We never had a coffee table when the children were babies, but I love having one now. I have a new turntable and am playing my old vinyl records. Remember when every living room had a record player?

Alicia Sullivan April 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I have a beautiful TV armoire that I now use for blanket storage.

Julia April 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Too funny! I’ve long suspected that I’m not au courant with the latest trends, and this proves it. 1. I love my coffee table — it’s not so precious that people are afraid to put their feet on it, set a drink down on it, and it’s sturdy enough to sit on in a pinch. 2. I still have a full-sized bed with an antique walnut bed frame, very ornate and heavily carved — maybe someday it will become the guest room bed, but not yet. 3. I’m a long-time collector of vintage tablecloths — not changing. 4. Love my TV armoire, but I admit when I sell my house I’m leaving it behind — I’m not moving that monster one more time!

Andrea April 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Love love love my coffee tables……but I have a huge tv amoire in my garage….anyone want it?

Heather April 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I like my coffee table. It anchors our large room and makes it all feel pulled together. I made an ottoman for our hearth room because the space was tight. It’s so full of magazines and books that there is usually no place to to put our feet. It’s nice to see that so many people dislike the TV over the fireplace. I can’t imagine it’s comfortable watching something that is hung to high on the wall. No one has really mentioned loveseats. They are really a waste of space…too small for two people, too big to justify the space for single seating and too small for naps.

State of Texas Gal April 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I will never give up on a coffee table. I love to prop my feet up on them and also display different decor objects on them. Can’t live without nightstands and an alarm clock. I have two armoires: one is lined in vintage fabric with velvet covered shelves and houses my antique evening bag, powder compact and vanity items that I collect, the other is full of my quilt collection and other “country” items. Oh, and I LOVE my flat screen tv over the fireplace! not to mention my new granite kitchen countertops (re: debate from a previous q&a you posted).

Jennie Richardson April 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm

When I first saw this I thought, ” Oh the coffee table will never die.” Then I looked in my own living room and forgot I had ottoman. Oops…. Maybe it is dying? I think people want more comfortable homes and to me the only point of the coffee table was not for coffee but to put your feet on something.

Judi April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I would like to see these “what’s in ; what’s out” list go away. I am always soooo late doing things that by the time I start something, it’s put on the out list. LOL
WE have a coffee table….big square one from the early 90′s . We put our feet on it, sometimes cleanit offf and use it for eating. HAve thought about replacing it with an ottoman, but when my daughter was youger she used the underside as her Sistine Chapel..and now I can’t bring myself to get rid of it:)

Terri April 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I recently saw where someone turned a TV armoire into a liquor cabinet…very cool.

Wade Watson April 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I’m something of a lifestyle radical and there are some room+furniture conventions I’d love to see go. The average formal dining room is used for that purpose only two or three time per year. Why not say bye-bye to the big dining table and eat Christmas dinner in a multipurpose room on a nicely decorated temporary table?

Tee of Vinnord Cottage April 4, 2012 at 5:05 am

My coffee table will never leave. I keep everything on it. It’s where I have my laptop, it’s where guests set their… yepp… coffee down. But I do agree that some items of furniture is slowely fading into nothingness… Like the tv-cabinet. I have a corner one, but a small one, where the tv is on top. Of course, I don’t have a flat screen either come to think about it :)
And there are TRENDS that I HAPPY to see die out, lol. Like the ALL WHITE homes… colour is making it’s way back. I like light and airy, but all white seems like hospital-hell to me, not to mention these homes must be for show only… nothing ever stays WHITE for long in my house. And I dont even have kids (well I do have furry ones… I suspect them)…

Denise April 4, 2012 at 6:59 am

I love ottomans – they speak relaxation. Also, I’ve found that small wooden stools make great little side tables for cups of coffee and drinks. They can easily be moved when not in use and they bring a touch of rustic character to any room. Love to collect them!!!

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs April 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

I still have and use both a coffee table and a TV armoire. Even smaller sized flat screen TVs can fit inside the old armoires ;-) As for coffee tables, if they’re not of the precious kind, let people put their feet on them too! Or…you could have what we still have from the 80′s for our family room — an interesting design called a party ottoman. It has cushions on either side of a center table part. Kinda kitschy but quite practical! You can put your feet up on the cushioned sides and keep your beverage on the table part ;-) I also have a vintage glass top, solid brass legged coffee table in our living room. Someone else mentioned loveseats being impractical. Ours is my favorite place to nap….I’m only 5′ tall so I love the snuggly feeling of its smaller size. And yes, both my hubby and I do sit on it together.

As an interior decorator who specializes in redesign, I often have to work with some of these “old fashioned” furniture pieces and wallpaper. It’s all about creative uses, repurposing and not just throwing things out cuz the market says we should. Our own TV armoire (with doors to close off the entire interior), now holds a small microwave–handy to heat up our hot drinks in the family room in the winter–and DVDs and old VHS (yes, we still have them and yes they still work!)

If you need some ideas to use those old pieces, give me a shout—I’d love to help out. I do e-design if you’re far away {hint} ;-)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... April 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

I’m an ottoman girl too. So we bought a set (two little ones and one large one with a flip hard top). I find we use the little ones for resting and the big one flipped to the hard side to hold baby toys and remotes.

Cara April 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

I miss having a coffee table so much. We bought a large round ottoman thinking that when we had kids, they could toddle around it more safely. They did, and we have the drool marks to show for it! I miss having the decorating surface, and a for certain safe spot for drinks.

HollyM April 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Ottomans are what recliners were for the pre-boomer generation. A place to put up the tootsies without the inherent rudeness of plopping them on a table. Coffee tables are okay, but how relaxing to be semi-prone!

As for the TV stand vs. armoire, I wish I could find an entertainment center that would accomodate a flat screen, and our stereo (yep, we’re dinosaurs), and hide our music and movies. I don’t want to purge them and go completely computerized; what a waste. I just want a dang cabinet, not something that looks like a dresser or hope chest in my living room with a TV on top.

Jess April 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

We just bought a beautiful black TV armoire off of craigslist for a steal. The previous owners had a flat-screen TV in it. We replaced the Sauder TV stand my husband had since college. Such a beautiful change.

Gayle Robinson April 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I have a beautiful armoire that housed my big rear projection tv. I intend to fit it with a piece of quartz or granite, then back some new glass half shelves with a mirror, add a couple of those tiny halogen lights in the top and turn it into a cocktail/beverage center. Plenty of room for a fully stocked bar and all my glassware and cocktail tools and accessories.

I’ve also seen them being used in luxury master bathrooms for towels and linens.

betty in munich April 5, 2012 at 2:42 am

We couldn’t live without our coffee table. It is rattan with glass top with a shelf on the bottom. Books, the TV guide, box of Kleenex, catalogs to thumb through are on the bottom shelf. The top glass part we keep completely free. No decorating objects just the plain glass so it never looks cluttered. In the mornings we eat our breakfast there watching the morning news, and on movie nights we eat home-made pizzas or our special gourment burgers while enjoying our favorite movie. We don’t have kids, but I get why families with toddlers get rid of them….er I mean the coffee table not the kids!

And our big flat screen TV is still in the armoire with all the related electronic paraphanalia like the receiver, digital cable box, media player hardrive, iPod blaster, Blueray player, we still have a CD player in there that is rarely used. But I still love closing the doors and having all that stuff hidden away.

Why is the flat screen TV over the fireplace such a hot topic? Such strong emotions on it. I didn’t think I would ever want a TV over a fireplace, but then I was helping my brother decorate a new (smaller) apartment. The place had this very nice open living/dining/kitchen space with lots of windows and limited wall space. The focal point was a fireplace. So it did make for challenging sectional sofa and TV placement. Over the fireplace seems to be the best option. I don’t think it will look that bad and if you install the TV on and extending/tilting type thing you won’t get a crook in your neck. But he’s not convinced…it’s all still up in the air.

William Hart April 5, 2012 at 6:41 am

I replaced the low coffee tables in both my living room and family rooms with smaller “tea” height tables years ago. Now we can eat in front of the TV without bending over and they are alot more comfortable for guests.

Gayle Robinson April 5, 2012 at 6:56 am

William, I love the tea table idea, too.

I’m looking to replace my existing coffee tables soon, and have been through the entire spectrum. I like the idea of an ottoman with a couple of those small slide under sofa tray tables for beverages, but ottomans don’t allow for legos, pizza, sippy cups or flowers. Traditional coffee tables are too low — you have to lean to get your beverage.

I’m thinking tea tables that can be pulled up close to the sofas for laptop or snacks are a great solution. If I can find one with a lip around the edge to hold the legos, all the better!

Lisa April 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

When I stage houses, I don’t always go with traditional layouts. Ex. sofa in living room with coffee table, bed in bedrooms. I focus more on want details the room has that should be highlighted. Right now there is a very intense debate about not putting a sofa, rug and coffee table in a livingroom space that has these amazing 1930′s dark hardwood floors. I’m so impressed with them, I don’t want them covered and think that it is a strong selling point of the house. The seller feels people won’t know what the room is for. IMO many houses are over staged to cover up what the house lack in character or probelms.
High tech gadgets has really changing how we use furniture.

Justina April 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I have to say I love nice looking coffee table. The room looks unfinished without one in the room. My brother do not have one in his family room because he has small children and the room just look unfinish in my opinion.

Jess @ The Bungalow Project April 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I have my tv armoire listed on craigslist right now and can’t find a buyer! I just want a clean and simple flat screen on the wall. I’m just tired of dusting this beast;) I don’t really see the coffee tables going away though, where do you put your plate when your done with dinner?! Haha.

Dean April 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Holy moly! Over a hundred comments on this.
I love my coffee table. It’s vintage early to mid 60s, Danish inspired, made by Lane and is a work of art! I won’t be parting with it anytime soon. Besides, I grew up with coffee tables and for me, it just seems right to have one.

Jodi from New Jersey April 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm

We went without a coffee table when our kids were in the “terrible” stage . Boy , did we miss it. Those trays on the ottoman drive me nuts. They look nice in the shots ,but it must be annoying balancing everything on a small surface. Not for me–and I love a sideboard, feels like home to me.

Debbie April 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I just recently put my coffee table back into the living room… I really missed it. I turned my old TV armoire into a bar/wine cabinet… hanging wine glasses and all. The shelves above hold all my glasses… looks incredible !!!

Gayle April 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Debbie, post a picture please? Want to see how you put your bar/wine cabinet armoire together (and maybe borrow a couple of ideas! lol)

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) April 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Julia, Fun question! I still use my coffee table because it’s okay for putting feet on. I guess I’m a bit old fashioned…still love my TV hidden from view in an armoire. If not an armoire, I love the other sneaky ways I’ve seen folks camouflage the flat-screens. I’m not much of a TV watcher so that’s prob why I don’t mind having it tucked away form view.

Happy Easter to you and your family, Julia!

Dave@BestCoffeeForYou April 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm

It’s amazing how furniture could become obsolete. But in my house we will always have a coffee table. Why not? It has so many uses.

Angie@Echoes of Laughter April 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Great conversation topic!

I love my coffee table, although a few years ago I downsized from a big bulky rectangle to a smaller, oval, glass-topped table. I like the smaller, ligher look much better! I use the coffee table as a place to make pretty vignettes and when entertaining, I always serve drinks and hor deuves, and dessert from the coffee table. The living room is so much more relaxed and comfy for conversation and visiting!

Night stands are a must for reading lamps, books and clocks and a glass of water, and reading glasses! I will never get rid of those!

I love tablescloths, but not for every day living. I love using tablecloths for special occasions…and my favourite is white cotton or linen. It instantly dresses up table, along with fresh flowers!

I think china cabinets and upright pianos are becoming a thing of the past for most homes. I have an upright piano from 1918. I played on it as a child and I am very sentimental about it, but it is bulky and takes up a ton of space. {And my parents were pretty quick to get it out of their house when we bought our first house. They had it delivered the first week we lived there! lol!} I thought I might sell it and replace it with shelves and armchairs, but they are impossible to sell right now. You can barely give them away! I talked to an antiques dealer and he told me he has a warehouse full of them that he cannot get rid of. However, the new electronic pianos and such can never replace the antiques pianos of yesteryear in terms of sound….they have such beautiful sound!

China cabinets are another thing that lots of people don’t have anymore. Among my friends, very few have them in their homes. And wedding china is not the ‘must have’ like it was a few decades ago. Spode, Wedgwood, etc. are not a sought after wedding gift anymore. Perhaps, it could also do with high rates of divorce, and the trend for young families to eat out and use convenience foods. I was married in 1995, and I love my wedding china and china I inherited from my grandmothers. I use it often for special meals and lunches with my girlfriends.

But I am totally onboard with people having things in their house that they love and relates to their lives and how they live. Getting rid of bulky, unused or unwanted items makes total sense to me! April 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Coffee tables may be on the way out — ottomans are so much more versatile! But it’s a shame — coffee tables can be pretty!

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