Picking a coffee table may seem like an easy task—until you’re out shopping and realise just how many shapes, sizes and materials they come in! While you should ultimately choose a coffee table that matches your taste and style, here are some considerations that will help you make the best choice for your living room.
Consider the size
It’s important to match the size of the coffee table to the square footage of your living room. A small living room shouldn’t be crowded with a huge coffee table, especially if the room is on the darker side. An open-concept living room (or a very large one), on the other hand, will look awkward and empty with a tiny coffee table and should be fitted out with a grander one.
In a similar vein, consider the size of your couch and other seating. Try to match the expanse of the tabletop to the size of the seating area for a harmonious look—the table should be about two thirds the length of the couch. You can also combine multiple small tables or add baskets and stools to make the whole area appear larger.
Tip: every seating area should have a surface within arm’s reach.
Pick a suitable material
From wood to metal and even marble, coffee tables come in a wide range of materials and finishes. A marble coffee table is easy on the eyes but bothersome to maintain. A stone table can be pretty sturdy—but good luck lugging it around the room! Wood is a classic material for any table, but it does retain water stains and gets dented and scratched easily. Glass is light and bright but fragile. Metal is pretty easy to maintain but can have a cold and sterile look to it.
So, if most materials have a downside, how do you pick the right one? This is where your home’s aesthetic comes into play. A marble coffee table could be the perfect fit for a modern home filled with luxe surfaces, while a wooden coffee table would be a much better pick for a rustic living room.
Tip: a nice coffee table can take your living room up a notch without needing to splurge on a high-end sofa.
A metal table could be the perfect finishing touch for an industrial-style or eclectic home. If you find the classic grey metal hues too cold and want something warmer, opt for gold, rose-gold or bronze instead. A black metal table won’t look warm and cosy, but it will definitely make for a striking centrepiece and can be nicely paired with more colourful furnishings.
Choose a complementary shape
Pick a shape that fits the space you’re trying to fill—a curved couch should be complemented with a rounded coffee table, while an L-shaped couch often pairs well with a square or rectangular table. This is not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for the sake of maximising space.
While you can definitely pair a straight couch with a rounded coffee table, it will look bulkier and a tad more awkward as the clashing shapes will leave quite a bit of empty space in between—like in a game of Tetris!
Tip: The coffee table should be about the same height as the sofa cushions.
If you like the soft look of rounded edges but need a decent surface area, consider an oval table instead of a perfectly round one. A round coffee table, on the other hand, is a great pick if you want something small and unobtrusive and don’t need the surface area for much.
A classic rectangular table is a good choice if you plan on eating or working in the living room and need that extra space. And finally, triangular tables are pretty unusual and have an edgy vibe, so they’re a great fit for an eclectic or industrial living room.