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!
Are you a traditional decorator or are you more modern? Keeping in mind the style of the other furniture that you are pairing this table with will help you find the right style. Accent tables are often the excitement of a room that draws the eye in, adding color and definition to an interior space. Some of these tables are often painted, inlaid, or treated for an added touch. Those who are going with a rustic look may choose one similar to a log cabin style wood, and others who like the Asian look may pick one that is shorter than most and painted with an Asian pattern. Some pieces have elegant curves and carvings that adds intricacy to the table.
The original coffee table, simply put, is a regular table with its legs cut off to make it lower to the ground. The Japanese already had these short tables figured out a long time ago. But as the Japanese were sitting on the floors with their legs crossed, the coffee table was to be used with a sofa. Its not very clear as to the exact time that the modern term "coffee table" came to use, but some put it around the late 18th century to the early 19th.
It would also include all furniture used in a lounge used only when visitors arrive, or even in a spare guest room. Definitions are a poor way to describe furniture. The second definition used occasionally would refer to exactly the same furniture, but also include rockers, particularly the old-style hickory rockers that you might use occasionally when in the mood. You might occasionally use an ottoman to sit on if all the family arrived to visit. Quite frankly, definitions are needless when people know what occasional furniture is.
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