The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Coffee Table

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Coffee Table

A coffee table is more than just a functional piece of furniture; it's a central element that can tie together the design of your living room. Whether you're looking for something practical, stylish, or a bit of both, this guide will help you find the perfect coffee table to suit your needs.

1. Understanding the Basics

What is a Coffee Table?

A coffee table is a low table typically placed in front of a sofa or seating area. It's used for placing drinks, remote controls, magazines, books, decorative items, and sometimes even feet! Its primary role is to provide a convenient surface while also contributing to the room's aesthetics.

Types of Coffee Tables

- Traditional Coffee Tables: Usually made of wood or glass, these tables have a classic design that fits well in most living rooms.
- Modern Coffee Tables: Featuring clean lines and minimalistic designs, modern coffee tables often use materials like metal and glass.
- Storage Coffee Tables: These tables offer additional storage solutions with drawers, shelves, or lift-top surfaces.
- Ottoman Coffee Tables: Upholstered and often multifunctional, these can serve as both a table and extra seating.
- Nesting Coffee Tables: Consisting of two or more tables that fit together, they offer flexibility and can be used separately or together.

2. Choosing the Right Size and Shape

Size Matters

- Height: Ideally, a coffee table should be the same height as the cushions on your sofa or slightly lower.
- Length: The length of your coffee table should be about two-thirds the length of your sofa.
- Width: Ensure there's enough space for movement around the table. A gap of 12-18 inches between the coffee table and seating is usually recommended.

Shapes to Consider

- Rectangular: The most common shape, perfect for standard sofas.
- Square: Works well with large seating arrangements or sectionals.
- Round: Ideal for smaller spaces and adds a softer touch.
- Oval: A combination of rectangular and round, providing more surface area while maintaining a smooth flow.

3. Materials and Finishes


Wooden coffee tables add warmth and can range from rustic to modern styles. Different types of wood, such as oak, walnut, or reclaimed wood, offer various aesthetics and durability levels.


Glass coffee tables create a sense of openness and are great for small spaces. They can be paired with metal or wood frames for a modern look.


Metal coffee tables, often featuring sleek designs, can add an industrial or contemporary vibe to your living room. They are durable and easy to maintain.


Marble or granite coffee tables bring a touch of luxury and sophistication. They are sturdy but can be heavy and require some maintenance to prevent staining.

4. Functionality and Features

Storage Solutions

If you're looking to maximise space, consider coffee tables with built-in storage. Options include drawers, shelves, or lift-tops that reveal hidden compartments.

Multifunctional Designs

Ottoman coffee tables or convertible tables that can adjust in height or expand are great for smaller living spaces or multipurpose rooms.

Child-Friendly Features

For families with young children, rounded edges and sturdy materials can prevent injuries and withstand wear and tear.

5. Style and Aesthetics

Match Your Decor

Your coffee table should complement the existing furniture and decor in your living room. Consider the overall style—whether it's modern, traditional, rustic, or eclectic—and choose a coffee table that enhances this theme.

Balancing Act

A coffee table can act as a focal point, so balance its design with other elements in the room. For instance, if your sofa is heavily patterned, opt for a simpler table. Conversely, a bold, unique coffee table can elevate a more neutral room.

6. Budget Considerations

Coffee tables come in a wide range of prices, so set a budget before you start shopping. Consider how much use the table will get and how important its design and materials are to you. Investing in a higher-quality table might be worthwhile if it's a central piece in your living space.


Choosing the perfect coffee table involves balancing functionality, style, and budget. By considering the size, shape, material, and design, you can find a coffee table that not only serves its purpose but also enhances your living room's overall aesthetic. Take your time, explore various options, and soon you'll have the ideal coffee table that brings together your space beautifully. Check out at Simply Home!
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