How to Pick Out a Coffee Table: Add Style and Functionality to Your Living Room
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How to Pick Out a Coffee Table: Add Style and Functionality to Your Living Room

arlo coffee table in the living room

How to Pick Out a Coffee Table: Add Style and Functionality to Your Living Room

A coffee table is one of the most important central elements of the living room. But oftentimes people forget about its importance and don’t pay attention to its style, size and functionality. It can be the focal point of the room and the furniture piece that holds the room together. Still, you can’t just walk into the store and pick the first one that you see. You have to consider a few things before buying. Think about your interior design, the material it’s made of, the right size, shape and maintenance.


rectangular rattan coffee table in the living room

It’s important to pick a material that will match your overall design of the living room. You have so many choices nowadays that it can be overwhelming to choose. You can buy gorgeous modern wood coffee tables or go for a contemporary glass one. It all depends on your personal preferences and style.


By far, wood is the most common material people ask for. It has a special look to it that gives out the space some nice vibes and a sense of calmness and serenity. It’s suitable for rustic, country, or Scandinavian-styled homes. These tables are most commonly made of oak, mahogany or walnut.

All of them are hardwoods that are very sturdy and can last for a long time if you take care of them properly. Wood doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, so you can do with choosing a cleaner to do some occasional cleaning. Also, don’t forget to wax your modern wood coffee tables because it will go a long way. Be careful with water and always use coasters when you put a wet glass on them.


Metal is gaining popularity as new styles and trends develop. These tables are made of iron, steel or aluminium. Sometimes manufacturers use other alloys, but they may not be so durable. They can give you a vintage appeal to the living room and will match almost any style.

Metals are commonly combined with glass tops to give them a complete look. You may get fingerprints on the glass once in a while, but they’re easy to clean. Now, even though they look good, these tables might not be a good choice if you have small children because of safety reasons.


stone coffee table in the living room

If you have a couple of dollars more to spend on your coffee table then stone is the right choice for you. These tables are very durable, extremely good looking and heavy. They’re not always the first choice because of their maintenance process, but when people see their beauty, no one can resist it. Some of the most common stones used for coffee tables are marble, alabaster, basalt, granite, limestone, slate and travertine. None of them is prone to scratches or warping and heat isn’t a problem at all.


Your coffee table should be the right size in relation to the rest of the furniture, particularly the sofa that it’ll be placed in front of. When picking a size, take into account scale and the real measurements. Choose a coffee table that’s not longer than two-thirds the length of the sofa.

Always leave enough room around it so people can stretch their legs and move freely. The ideal measurement is at least 50cm. When it comes to height, the table shouldn’t be higher that the seating base of the sofa. If you’re going for something lower, don’t let it be more than 5cm. Anything more than that is uncomfortable and impractical.


There are many distinct shapes of coffee tables. Although the room’s shape can influence your choice, the seating arrangement should be your top priority. Here are some of the most common shapes.


If you have a regular sofa, think about a rectangular-shaped coffee table. This way everyone that sits around it can easily access the coffee, beverage, or late-night snack on it. This is a wonderful option if the room has minimal walk-around space. Buy a table with some useful yet stylish drawers if your home has a lot of cords, remotes and gadgets.


dark brown square rattan coffee table

A square table is a terrific option if you have a huge, comfortable sectional or a more traditional setup with a sofa and a few chairs. It tucks into an L-shaped nook perfectly. A square table has the advantage of providing ample styling space. Get a square top and a round base if you wish to experiment with shapes. You can also buy one with drawers underneath for additional storage space.


If you have limited space for the coffee table but you still want one, the round shape is perfect. You can pair it with a sectional or a sofa that has a chaise. If you want to make things even more open, choose a round glass top that will make the space airy and visually open, not overcrowded. Plus, they’re great for a house with small children because the corners are out of the picture.


The oval shape helps a lot if the living room is rectangular. It’ll make the room longer and complement its shape. It’ll give it more flow, especially if it’s a high-traffic area, which it usually is. If you have an angular sofa and want to soften its look, an oval coffee table will do the job. The oval modern wood coffee tables can make a statement as nothing else can.


The final and most crucial thing to consider is to match the coffee table with your current décor and tie the space together. Therefore, it’s crucial that your table has a distinct position, should add depth and visual appeal to the room, and complement your style.


round rattan small coffee table in a modern living room

Clean lines, dark colours, metals, and glass are the hallmarks of a modern design. A designer wood coffee table with a glass top is an option as is a concrete based model. These coffee tables come in a variety of styles, but you’ll often encounter relatively neutral colours like black, grey, silver, and gold. In terms of shape, round and oval are the most common ones.

French Provincial

This style has an old-world feel, a Henry VIII vibe, and is elaborate, detailed, and heavy—probably the complete opposite of contemporary style. You’ll see that this look uses a variety of tones, primarily creams, warm browns, and cool greys. The legs and corners of these tables often have little detail that livens them up.

Classic Traditional

Think simple, robust, and ageless when considering the classic style. It includes woods with lighter shades and simple elements and decorations that are timeless. The most popular tones are white, light brown and cream.

Stephanie Tierney