Ultimate guide on how to choose the right coffee table

You may think that picking a coffee table for your living room is going to be a straightforward and easy task. But that might not be the case. There are many factors to consider before you make your purchase. 

Coffee tables are an important piece of furniture in any living room. They need to be functional and practical but not an eye sore. Coming in a variety of shapes, materials, sizes, lengths and heights, it can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. In our extensive guide, we will help inform you and narrow down your choices so you buy the right coffee table for you and your space. 

White Marble and Black Metal Contemporary Square Coffee Table in modern living room.

Table of Contents

What’s the functionality of your coffee table?

What materials should you consider?

What shape should my coffee table be?

How do I choose the size of my coffee table?

What’s the functionality of your coffee table?

Only you can decide the level of functionality for your coffee table and how you wish to use it. Although most coffee tables have a large flat service area for you to use, some can also have additional shelves, compartments and drawers. Will you need lots of storage space, or would you rather have a sleeker and cleaner look? 

Do you have weekly board game nights where all the family gather around? You will need to make sure it’s big enough and comfortable for the whole family. Are you one to rest your feet on it while you are relaxing watching a movie? If so, we would suggest not having any raised edges. Another thing to consider is a coffee table with wheels, making it easier to move and work from. Whatever the functionality, your current lifestyle will help guide your decision.

Top Tip 

If you have kids running around the house, it would be good to consider a ‘kid-friendly’ coffee table. One that doesn’t have any sharp corners or edges and one that isn’t made from glass. 

White Marble and Gold Metal Contemporary Square Coffee Table in an opening living space.

What materials are available for my coffee table?

There are so many material options for you to choose from when it comes to picking the right coffee table for your living room. A lot of it will depend on your current style and how your living room is decorated, but you also want your coffee table to last. Because of that, you should consider sticking to more neutral colours and materials so that your coffee table is versatile throughout redecorating. 

So what materials are available? A wooden coffee table is always a popular choice and comes in a variety of colour options, including lighter and darker wood stains. A marble coffee table is also a great option that is very versatile because of the unique pattern and colours available. Both wood and marble look fabulous in a traditional living room.  

Do you have a smaller living room that you’d like to feel bigger? Then acrylic or glass coffee tables are a good alternative. With them being transparent, they can make a room feel bigger and help reflect light. The perfect addition to any modern small living room.

For a more durable and safe option, in case you have small children running around, we would suggest a leather or faux leather coffee table. Available in a wide selection of colour options to fit your style and easy to maintain and clean, this might be your best option.

What Shape should my Coffee Table be? 

Square and Round Coffee Tables – Perfect for large living rooms with large sectionals, corner sofas or a sizeable love seat.

Rectangular and Oval Coffee Tables – Ideal for smaller, compact living rooms, making the room feel slightly bigger because of the longer length. 

Abstract Shaped Coffee Tables – Adds some dimension to the look and feel of the room. A statement piece that works well with regular size sofas.

Round and Oval Coffee Tables – Great option around children as there are no sharp corners or edges for them to hurt themselves on. 

Walnut and Gold Metal Contemporary Circular Coffee Table

How do I pick the size for my coffee table?

The size of your coffee table not only needs to fit into your room but also needs to be in proportion with the other furniture in your living room, particularly your sofa. Not only do you have to consider the length and width but also the scale. Choose a coffee table that is no more than two-thirds of your sofa’s total length. Your coffee table should measure the same height as your sofa or slightly lower but only by one to two inches.

The Clearance Rule

Typically your coffee table should be 12 to 18 inches away from your sofa. Between your coffee table and your fireplace or TV stand, there should be at least 24 to 30 inches. To find the perfect coffee table width, you should measure the length between your sofa and fireplace or TV stand and subtract 42 inches. This will leave enough space for you to circulate around your living room freely, without bumping into any furniture or people. 

White Marble and Black Metal Contemporary Rectangular Coffee Table in cosy living room.

We hope we have shown you what a vital piece of furniture a coffee table is and that you should consider the functionality, material, shape and size before making the purchase. Remember that you want your coffee table to be versatile and still fit into your living room if you happen to redecorate. Try to stick to neutral colours and remember to measure your space. 

For a functional, practical and stylish coffee table, make sure you’ve followed our guide and discover our full range of coffee tables online today. 

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