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!
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.
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.
Coffee tables and end tables are examples of occasional furniture. There are alternative definitions for this type of furniture, the two most common being furniture that is used on an occasion, and furniture that is used only occasionally. Each of these definitions is so broad, that they could practically be said to be fundamentally the same. The former definition would include coffee tables, used on the occasion of drinking coffee - or any other beverage or drink.
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