Whatever the case, if it was the decision of the British, or even Chinese, wed be calling it "tea table" today. And actually in those lands they do often use that term. But as the fact stands, the cup that most often lands on American tables is filled with coffee, and so the name has stuck. So here we have it, the modern coffee table, now more popular then ever. And its true it doesnt really matter where it gets its name, I mean some people wont even let you put coffee on their supposed "coffee" table. But its just neat to see how things have come a long way and evolved through time.
Does terminology really matter? Generally no, but it can do if people use the term to you in conversation or even when you are looking for new furniture for your home. However, in general terms it does not matter at all whether your table is described as an accent table or an occasional table. In some cases occasional and accent furniture can be the same - but to say that, the definition of these terms must first be agreed. The term accent should be easy to understand - just like an accent in language, furniture of this type should emphasize a certain style, such as a statue of the jackal-headed god Anubis in an Egyptian-themed room - a home accent need not be furniture!
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