From crisp, clean white to dark, rich wood tones, the colors, materials, and style of your coffee table can influence the look and feel of your entire living room. Make an informed choice when you’re shopping for a new coffee table and consider how you’ll use your table to best determine the right one for your needs.
Before you buy a coffee table, ask yourself what you need from it. Do you need your coffee table to double as a desk or dinner table? Then a lift top coffee table might be just what you are looking for. If you need a kid-friendly coffee table, avoid sharp corners and instead look for a table with rounded edges. Storage coffee tables are a perfect option for those who are always in need of more storage. Coffee tables with shelves, drawers, and flip tops are great for storing magazines, blankets, toys, and more. The way in which you plan to use your coffee table will help steer you in the right direction when it comes to shopping for your table.
Be sure to consider how you’ll use the table when making material choices as some materials will wear better than others.
- Natural materials: Natural tabletop materials like wood, stone, or marble are excellent choices for modern family rooms. Keep in mind that marble and stone tops can be more difficult to maintain and are easily stained by foods or children’s art supplies. Wood surfaces instantly warm up a space but are also susceptible to scratching as well as damage from moisture and heat, so you should always use a coaster when setting down hot or cold beverages.
- Man-made materials: Metal, glass, rattan/wicker, and acrylic represent the different types of man-made materials that can be used in coffee table tabletops. Look for specific finishes like hydrophobic coatings that help you clean the surface easily.
Often the coffee table’s location in the room determines the shape of the table you need. For a room with large, square-shaped couches a rectangular or square-shaped coffee table should nest in the middle of your existing furniture. More exotic shapes like triangles are better able to fit into small spaces or oddly shaped furniture arrangements. The classic oval and round shapes can take their place in any room, but round coffee tables fit in especially well with sectionals.
A coffee table should complement the furniture surrounding it instead of competing with it. Try to find a coffee table in a style that’s consistent with the rest of the room but that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to match the rest of the tables in the room. Here are a few of our favorite styles to help inspire you:
A modern or contemporary space relies on clean lines and unfussy details to bring the room to life. This style of coffee table may include glass or acrylic tops, straight legs, or a round shape.
Rustic furnishings often utilize materials that are found in nature and incorporated in their natural state. A solid oak coffee table with chunky tree stump legs or a primitively carved base with a natural stone top are examples of rustic furniture.
Trends in coastal design try to recreate the relaxing feeling of being at the beach. Coastal furnishings often are built of wood resembling gray driftwood and are peppered with accent colors in seaglass green and ocean blue.
The bold colors and rich history of mid-century modern design can accent a small room or influence just one piece in your furniture repertoire. A mid-century modern coffee table might make use of a unique shape, like a kidney, or unique materials, like laminate or enamel.
This popular design style combines rustic features with modern sensibility. Farmhouse coffee tables often combine wood and metal pieces for a perfect blend of functionality and warmth.
Marked by bold metal accents including rivets, pulley wheels, and cast iron legs, industrial coffee tables can bridge the gap between form and function while hearkening back to historic craftsmanship. Look for tables with unusual wood and metal combinations to create your room’s centerpiece.
Coffee tables come in an endless number of sizes, from small, apartment-sized coffee tables to double-decker, multi-functional masterpieces. It’s important to consider the size of your room, as well as the sizes of surrounding items, when shopping for a new coffee table. Take a look at our Coffee Table Size Guide for even more detail on what size coffee table right for your space.
More than just a place to rest a glass, your coffee table is a way to express your own unique design style. Think about how you need your coffee table to function as well as the material, style, and size before you make a purchase. Keep these factors in mind and you will be on your way to making an informed purchase decision that you will be happy with for years to come.