How to Pick Out the Right Coffee Table

How to Pick Out the Right Coffee Table

Last update: 17 November, 2018

Picking out a coffee table isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The living room is one of the most important rooms in a home because it’s where we spent the most time.

It’s also the room that we show off the most when we have guests over. With that in mind, the living room and its pieces actually reflect who we are.

We normally choose a coffee table after picking out a sofa and the other furniture pieces in our living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can take choosing it lightly.

Below, you can read 6 things to keep in mind when selecting your coffee table.


You have to consider the layout of your living room when choosing a coffee table. Most people place their coffee tables in between the sofa and television set, so remember, thinking about space is really important.

To avoid the table becoming a physical obstruction, you should make sure to maintain a distance of 40 cm between the table and the sofa. For lower coffee tables, we recommend a minimum distance of 30 cm.

Another important point is deciding if you want the coffee table to be the room’s centerpiece, by setting the room layout to work around it.

If that’s what you want, try looking for a unique coffee table that has a special shape with a unique color or pattern.

Types of coffee table

There are all kinds of coffee tables out there so make sure you find the right one for you.

  • Extendable: great for small living rooms.
  • Narrow: these tables are long and tall. They’re great for narrow living rooms because they don’t clog the space.
  • Short: shorter than the average table. They make a room look very modern.
  • Twin tables: these are normally two identical tables and can be arranged in a variety of ways. You can push them together, making a big table, or separate them as two end tables.
  • Decorative: tables with wooden, aged wood.
  • Family-sized: large sizes with equally large drawers for storage. They’re normally made of wood.
  • Wheeled: coffee tables with wheels are very practical because you can move them from one place to another to suit your family’s needs. The wheels should be big and the table’s surface should be thick to make sure that the table is well-proportioned.
  • Table/bench: this table is both a coffee table and a bench. It’s great for small living rooms because when you have guests over and they need a place to sit, you can use the bench. They’re usually upholstered. You can also find poofs or sturdy cubes in this style.
  • Nest of tables: these are a two-in-one deal. Just think of a trundle bed. One table tucks underneath the other. When you need more space, pull out the second table; and when you don’t, just use the main table.
Coffee table types


Another thing to consider when choosing a coffee table is its material.

In the past, home furniture was mainly of wood. However, these days, there are all kinds of materials to choose from.

Wood, acrylic, and glass are the biggest players when it comes to coffee table material. Use a glass table if you want your room to look more spacious and luminous. This is because glass is transparent, and gives the illusion of more space and light.

You can also find coffee tables that use a combination of materials.

They’re also a great option if you’re looking for something different.

Table height

The ideal height for a coffee table is the height of the sofa seat.

But you might prefer a different height depending on what you’re planning on using the table for.

For example, if you like watching TV while you eat, your coffee table should be high enough to be able to eat comfortably.

If you just want to decorate your room with a coffee table and don’t want it to interfere with the other furniture in the room, try a low table.


Traditionally, coffee tables were rectangular because this shape adapts to the layout of any room.

However, today, we can find tables in any shape that we can think of.

The variety that we have to choose from gives us a huge range of possibilities.

Some of the shapes are:

  • Rectangular: the most classic and common shape.
  • Square: these are square-shaped tables that can be used as extra seating.
  • Round: these are great for multiple tables. They’re smaller, so you can use more of them in your layout.
  • Other shapes: hexagon, oval, asymmetrical.
Oval tables /


Last but not least, when you’re choosing a coffee table, think about what you’re going to use it for.

A coffee table that’s just to fill space isn’t the same as a table for using when you have friends over for snacks and a movie.

On the same note, a coffee table that we use to store our DVDs or magazines isn’t the same as one that can fit more people round it when we have guests over.

Choosing a coffee table that suits our needs is fundamental for making the right choice.

Table with storage /


Lastly, we want to mention that considering your home’s style is also very important when choosing a coffee table.

The right coffee table can balance out a living room. That’s why it’s so important to choose wisely.

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