Deconstruction of Coffee Table

1. Identify your category and it’s cultural norms

  • Putting stuff on it
  • Light items such as magazines, books, beverages, etc.
  • 3 or more legs
  • Planar surface
  • Fancy
  • Stationed in living rooms, bedroom
  • Relation with TV
  • Gather around coffee table to talk
  • Within height range
  • Elevated from ground

2. List the qualifiers of your category.

  • Elevated from ground
  • Flat surface
  • Visually pleasing
  • matches with other surrounding designs
  • Touching the floor
  • Supporting the surface
  • Clean
  • Sturdy
  • Space to hold other objects
  • Size
  • Where to station it

3. Language: Rename your category

  • Sturdy elevated surface
  • Flat surface object holder

4. Identify neighboring categories

  • Dinning table
  • Table
  • Bar
  • Setting table
  • Desk
  • Bench
  • Chair
  • Stool
  • Couch
  • Pile of magazines or books
  • Shelf
  • Massage table
  • Tray
  • Counter

5. Language: Identify synonyms and antonyms of each word in your categorical name.


  • Bar
  • Bench
  • Counter
  • Dusk
  • Dinning table
  • Dinner
  • Dresser
  • Stand


  • Tree
  • Texture
  • Bush
  • Soft objects; Pillows, blankets, hat and fabric

6. Form porpositions

  • Chair
  • Cardboard box

2 thoughts on “Deconstruction of Coffee Table

  1. James, this is a great start! I have a few questions, like does a coffee table have to “match” with other surrounding designs and be visually pleasing? See if all of your qualifiers are in fact “musts”. Throughout this week, keep pushing… look for more neighboring categories, more opposites, etc. Then, be sure to be specific in your propositions. For example: A chair, if it’s legs are cut shorter, and is placed in front of a sofa, could be a “flat surface object holder”. But I have to then ask, is this just a table? What qualifier is missing from your new name that makes it a “coffee” table?

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