It is not a sofa or armchair, and is not a dining table or a bed. Fundamentally, occasional furniture comprises the minor pieces that support the principal items of furniture in a room. The tables mentioned above are two examples, as are other functional pieces such as the lift chair that is used only when an elderly relative visits or chest, nightstands and ottomans that are occasionally in use.
A table for coffee, traditionally, was necessary in the middle of the living room. Home entertaining was a serious affair in the old days, because of the ceremony of afternoon tea. When a guest makes a house call, he or she must sit in the cushions, and must be served tea or coffee, with some biscuits or crepes. These will be arranged in a tray, with a delicate china service, and then served and placed upon the coffee table. Then, the afternoon will be whiled away with conversation, stories, and news.
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