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.
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.
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