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!
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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