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How to choose a coffee table

How to choose a coffee table


A coffee table is a versatile addition to any living room. A stylish yet functional piece, they serve a range of purposes - from a place to hold your favourite mug, display a collection of books, or to tuck away unwanted remotes, they always come in handy. Your coffee table will soon become the staple item in your special space.


How do I choose a coffee table for my living room? 

Coffee tables come in a wide range of styles, sizes, materials and design options. You’ll want to choose something that complements the other furniture in your room; tailoring its size, shape and colour to be in keeping with the other furnishings. Take into consideration the colour palette that runs through other aspects of the room, such as the couch, cushions, throws, wall colours and curtains and select an item that helps to create a cohesive look. 


A good place to start is by gathering an idea of the type of material you think would enhance your space. Coffee tables with wooden tops - such as our Raglan Coffee Table - can add neutrality and warmth to a space, while glass adds a more modern feel, lightenness and openness. Consider your household’s needs as some materials are more durable than others, while some will require more cleaning and maintenance. 

Think of the item’s functionality in the space, and choose a furniture item that not only looks good in the room, but serves the purpose you require it for. Do you need storage space? Choose a table that has drawers, hidden shelves or cupboards. Do you want somewhere to rest your feet? Select an item that is durable, or is designed to double as an ottoman. You may want to consider your family and lifestyle. If you have children in the house, you could choose a circular table to avoid sharp corners, or select less fragile materials such as glass.

Finally, your budget will be one of your top considerations when choosing a furniture item. A coffee table is not an item you buy often, so consider purchasing a high-quality piece which will be a better investment in the long run.  


Does a living room need a coffee table? 

This depends on the layout of your living space, as well as the functionality of the other furniture items in your room. Smaller side tables are great for holding water glasses or holding a lamp, but a coffee table will provide you with the extra space to stretch yourself out on. 

Not only are they great for resting a mug, they can function as storage units or display areas - allowing you to showcase your personal style. Could a large coffee table be a place for you to gather with friends over coffee, showcase your favourite books and magazines, or a place to  play a board game with your family? Seek out a table that will serve the purpose you want it for. 


How big of a coffee table should I get? 

Selecting the size of your coffee table depends on your other furniture items, such as side tables, couches, TV cabinets and rugs. A rule to follow is that your coffee table is no more than two-thirds the length of your couch. In saying that, trust your instinct and choose an item that is right for you. Aim to strike a balance between the size of your table and the space around it. 


If you’ve got a larger seating area, consider how many seating spaces have access to the coffee table, and adjust the size of your table accordingly. If you do not choose a table that accommodates all the seating spaces, consider a side-table for those further away spots. 

There is no set rule for the height of your coffee table, and it’s best to opt for what feels comfortable in the space. Coffee tables range from 38 to 45cm in height, and good guide is to aim for yours to be a similar height to the cushions on your couch. For comfort, select a table that allows you to place cups or items down on the surface; you do not want to feel like you’re reaching up and over. 


Where should you place a coffee table? 

Once you’ve established the size of your coffee table, consider where it should be placed in relation to your other furniture items. As mentioned, consider how many seating positions in the room - from the couch or additional arm chairs - have access to the coffee table. Position it in relation to the seating spaces and other side tables. 

Be sure to leave enough space around your coffee table for leg room, and for children and pets to move around freely. 30-45cm is a good guideline for this space - any more or less and it will feel too close or uncomfortably far.