How to Choose a Coffee Table


Monterey Hamptons Style Square Coffee Table

So you want to add a coffee table to your living room. Often, this piece is only considered as an afterthought. In reality, it is an opportunity to show off your sense of style. It can serve a myriad of functions besides being a place for your drink. Let’s explore all the things you can get from a coffee table. 

Mind Your Budget

Budget is the top consideration. A coffee table isn’t something you buy often. To get the most for your money, you need to balance cost with functionality. And a high-quality piece is a better investment in the long run.

You can easily keep your cost in check by opting for alternative and less expensive materials. Choose a table with engineered wood for the sub material. It can significantly reduce the price and is just as strong as solid wood. Cutting back on size is another option.

Pick Materials to Suit the Function

Coffee tables come in a range of materials that serve dual functions. A glass top, for example, can create a sense of openness. It blends into the background rather than screaming for attention. Other features become the rooms focus point, as opposed to your coffee table design.

A wooden piece adds warmth to a room with a natural look. A rustic table can make the space seem cosier and more inviting, even if it has an industrial edge - just like the Nina set of coffee tables. 

Nina Coffee Table Set

Nina Coffee Table Set

Also, consider the pros and cons of each material. Glass table tops can add a contemporary edge to your space, however it may require a little more cleaning - this may not be ideal for young families. Likewise, wood can elevate a space and may have less restrictions from a cleaning point of view. 

Kipling glass coffee table

Kipling Glass Coffee Table

Choose a Size That Fits

The standard size for a coffee table is about 120cm by 60cm. But this is only a suggestion. You should choose a table that is no more than two-thirds the size of your sofa. It strikes the right balance between space and enough room around it.

Be sure to check the entire footprint of the table. Some pieces may have splayed legs that extend beyond the top. Also, measure the surface area of the usable space. Height is another important consideration.

The standard height of the piece runs between 40cm and 45cm. It should be at the same height as the cushions of your sofa. You can opt for a taller table if it has extra padding. The goal is that you should place your food or drinks down on the table rather than up and over. Take into account any extra height of a lip on the edge of the table too.

Select a Shape to Complement Its Uses

A rectangular table is the classic form. It works because most sofas are the same shape, allowing your coffee table to seamlessly nestle alongside your sofa, even if it is a couch with a chaise. This then allows everyone sitting on the sofa a clear pathway to the table. It’s a great option if you have a smaller living room.

Mia Coffee Table - Rectangular coffee table

Mia Coffee Table with Shelf

An oval or round-shaped table doesn’t have the sharp edges that a rectangular or square table does. That makes it an excellent choice for households with kids. The difference in the lines also plays a role with the decor of the room. Hard lines lend themselves well to a classic traditional decor. More contemporary pieces feature soft rounded edges, not only making them extremely functional from a spacial perspective but can also be used to modernise your space. 

Athena round coffee table

Athena Round Coffee Table

Know Your Style

Generally, furniture of the classic traditional or French provincial style will come in standard sizes. You may find some ornate pieces that vary in length and width. A coffee table of the same decor will create order and cohesiveness. But you can use this addition in creative ways too. After all, the space is yours and you can create the desired look and feel as you please - no rules neccessary! 

Henley Round Coffee Table - Contemporary Coffee Table

Henley Round Coffee Table

Modern or contemporary furniture often breaks these traditional rules. You’ll find pieces in a variety of designs in non-standard sizes and shapes. These tables can act as focal points to add to their value. They can complement the mood, create great contrast using mixted textures, or simply make a statement that lifts the overall style. 

Dino Concrete Coffee Table

Dino Concrete Coffee Table

Manage Colour

Interior designers use a specific mix for creating a balance of colour. The 60:30:10 ratio includes 60 percent for the dominant hue of a space. The 30-percent figure represents the secondary colour. Think the wood trim and baseboards of a room. The 10-percent portion is for the accent touches.

Choose a complementary colour to create harmony in a room. To make the most out of your choice, choose a bold contrasting shade. Utilising our modern contemporary styled side tables (they also can double as a smaller coffee table), you can add this statement easily. 

Naomi Side Table

Naomi Side Table 

Add Functionality

We started by saying that a coffee table is an opportunity. It’s an excellent chance to optimise your choice with added storage. You can opt for a piece with a shelf underneath the base for magazines or books. Drawers or baskets will provide added storage space whilst utilising the beautiful coffee table that you have chosen. Needing more space? Look to other decorate furniture pieces that you haven't utilised - open shelves and TV units can also acts as great storage pieces. 

coffee table functionality

Mia Coffee Table with Shelf

You can also extend its functionality with the space underneath the base. Place old suitcases or a trunk under your coffee table. This will add to the charm of the decor. And you’ll get the benefit of the extra room for bits and bobs.

Consider the Kiddies

Choose kid-friendly options for a coffee table if there are children at home. Rather than expensive materials like leather, pick something that is easy to clean. Make sure the piece is stable enough to handle rough play. A heavier wooden table may offer a better choice than a tall, lighter one than can tip.

Placement of Your Coffee Table

Where you put your table is just as important as its size. Plan on leaving at least 30cm of open space on the sides. There should be about a metre of room at the end of the table that points into the living area.

coffee table functionality

Memphis Coffee Table Set

This clearance is essential. It maintains the functionality of your coffee table. The people seated will have plenty of leg room. Be sure to take into account any added space you may need for opening drawers. There should be plenty of free space all around the table for ease of use.