Odd Furniture: Beyond the Coffee Table and Bookcase

An fancy antique chair against ornately-carved wooden doors.

Quite often, it is the mismatched or one-of-a-kind piece of furniture that gives a room its true character. It could be a vintage curiosity like an inlaid metal chest in an Oriental style or maybe something a little eccentric like a Victorian tilt tea table.

It doesn't necessarily have to be old, though. It could be something contemporary that simply stands out against your other décor and yet somehow enhances the room. Here are some various pieces and types of furniture to give any room of the house a signature style.

There are many types of furniture that today’s homes no longer call for from a functional standpoint, but many such items can be adapted for other uses.

Consider the colonial pie safe: most people today aren't making pies on a daily basis, however, this lovely piece of furniture can easily hold china or other kitchen items. Many have glass panel doors, making them ideal for storing decorative household items.

You can even enhance a plain table by adding decorative paint effects or decoupaThe coffee table is an essential piece for most living rooms, but that doesn't mean it has to be a typical table. You can use a vintage trunk with a flat top as a coffee table or use a tabletop made of something less common than glass or wood, such as granite or marble.

You can even enhance a plain table by adding decorative paint effects or decoupage images to it. If all else fails, simply putting your coffee table on an unusual pedestal can make it stand out in the room.

There are also some unusual options for side and end tables. A statuary elephant sporting a glass table top, a mahogany three-tiered dumb waiter, a regency cellarette, a George III-style knife box, a rosewood card table, or a gilt consul could all serve the purpose. These can be actual antiques or replicas. Even a stone or marble bench is an interesting piece of furniture in the interior of a house.

Another thing to consider incorporating into a room is odd wood-framed chairs. You can blend those with harp backs or ornately carved legs together with the rest of your furniture by simply reupholstering them in a similar fabric. Even a single such chair perched beside a fire place or next to the room’s entrance can have a striking effect.

A vintage armoire can make a more interesting television stand than many contemporary entertainment centers. Simply cut out the back or a section of the back and add your television. When the television is not in use, the doors can be closed, leaving nothing more than a lovely piece of furniture.

For more dramatic effects, consider larger pieces. Some examples are an Oriental black lacquer secretary, an antique library card catalog, a turn-of-the-century buffet, a church pew, a fiddleback bureau cabinet, a floral marquetry tall-case clock, an Art Nouveau bronze d’ore chandelier, a fainting couch, a Baroque refectory table in the Flemish style, or a Florentine credenza.

If you prefer a more contemporary style, consider a table painted with a checkerboard to which you could add a carved or glass chess set. Even an instrument like a piano or harp may compliment a formal room with classic style.

These items and others like them can be found online, at auctions, or at antique galleries. Another excellent place to find unusual items is through stores that contain globally-inspired inventory. An item reflective of another culture may subtly enhance your décor, giving it the unique look you've been seeking.

A welded entry bench with and without coats and hats.Follow a DIY project from start to finish. Here's What We're Working On: My Welded Entry Bench.