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Factors to consider when picking a coffee table

  • Product Picks
May 22, 2022
Glass coffee table for living room design - Beautiful Homes

From sturdy marble, fashionable metal and glass, to trendy reclaimed wood, there are so many wonderful coffee table options to choose from! It’s difficult selecting just one, so here are a few simple tips and guidelines to picking the best coffee table for you

Few individual pieces of your furniture are as widely utilised as your centre table - from vases and knick knacks, snacks and beverages, remote controls, magazines and occasionally even feet, your table has probably been temporary home to them all! Centrally placed, it is also often the piece of furniture tasked with defining your living room seating area and creating clear zones. Your coffee table needs to balance both aesthetic impact and practical purpose to bring your living room design scheme to life. So let’s look at the factors that will make your coffee table the perfect fit for your specific need.

Coffee Table Size - Proportion is Key

When picking a coffee table for living room spaces you need to pay attention to the proportions and eventual layout of your sofa and seating.


  • The Width and Length of your Coffee Table:
    A good rule of thumb is to choose a coffee table that is at least half the length of your sofa and to avoid tables longer than the sofa itself. Ideally a table that is between two-thirds or three-fourths the sofa length is a good balance. The longer your sofa, the longer your centre table can be.
Rectangle coffee table with wooden floorboard - Beautiful Homes
  • The Height of your Coffee Table:
    Nothing is as awkward as setting down a cup of liquid onto a table that is too low or too high! The ideal height of your coffee table is within a few inches of the height of your sofa seat. Pick a table that sits at a height within 1 inch above to about 3 inches below the seat of your sofa for a comfortable symmetry.

  • The Location of your Coffee Table:
    A key concern when you choose your coffee table needs to be the clearance and pathways around it. For comfort, the space between your seating and table should be about 14 inches or so. If you have a TV set-up or fireplace, you will need at least two to three feet between these and your table for both safety and easy movement.

  • The Visual “Weight” of your Coffee Table:
    To make sure that your room feels balanced and cohesive, find a size and style of coffee table that complements your furniture. For example, if you have a plush, chunky sofa with no visible legs you might pick a designer coffee table with skinny legs and an airy feel to add visual space.
Round coffee table with floor lamp & sofa chair - Beautiful Homes

Coffee Table Shape - Create Balance

The shape of your coffee table is determined by multiple factors such as the shape and seating configuration of your living room design and the presence of small children or pets.

  • The Round Coffee Table:
    This is a good shape if you have a smaller space to work with as it softens the lines of your room while allowing for easy movement around it. Since there are no sharp corners, it’s a child-safe shape for large families. With no defined “sides” it can also be adapted for additional seating by adding floor pouffes.

  • The Oval Shape Coffee Table:
    Offering the safety of a round coffee table with the added space and function of length, oval coffee tables are well suited to longer sofas and narrower rooms. Balancing form and function, they give you ample space for decorative display pieces while retaining practical usable area.

  • The Square Coffee Table:
    With their perfect symmetry, square coffee tables are a good match for a standard L-shaped sectional sofa, nesting beautifully into the empty space. This is also a shape that works well in modern open-plan areas, and a square coffee table, with stools that provide tuck-away seating, creates visual minimalism in a multipurpose space.
  • The Rectangle Coffee Table:
    Although this is the most traditional shape, it is far from a boring choice. Available in a wide range of modern styles, the rectangular shaped table is versatile and practical with a good amount of surface area. Little wonder it’s still a very popular coffee table shape, especially in rooms with longer sofas.

  • Unusually Shaped Coffee Tables:
    Geometric octagons, hexagons and triangles can add interest to your room and are memorable statement pieces, but with pointy edges. Moulded tables can be more user friendly as they have softer lines and edges. An abstract designer coffee table might be a good fit for modern living rooms to counterbalance straight lines and add a touch of organic movement to the space.


Coffee Table Materials - Suit your Lifestyle

When picking your coffee table, remember to factor in your lifestyle and the practical needs it will fulfil. Will you be using your center table to put your feet up? Are spills likely? Will you need to move it often? Choose surfaces and materials that suit your particular comfort, cleaning and weight needs.

  • The Wood Coffee Table:
    Traditionally used for classic, rustic or farmhouse styled rooms, a wooden table is a timeless favourite because, depending on stain, grain patterns or accent designs, your wooden coffee table can complete the look of your room with minimal effort. Furthermore, wood is usually the preferred material for a coffee table with storage solutions as it’s both sturdy and discreet.
Wood coffee table with chairs - Beautiful Homes
Three marble coffee table with a flower vase - Beautiful Homes
  • The Marble Coffee Table:
    A quick glance through any design magazine will tell you that marble and marble topped tables are currently very much in vogue. With a luminous finish and attractive natural tones, marble adds luxury and elegance to any room. Keep in mind that real marble is a heavy and expensive investment.

  • The Metal Coffee Table:
    Although often used only for the legs of a mixed material table, metal coffee tables are making a design comeback for their vintage appeal and practical durability. Aged brass and shiny chrome finishes are a lightweight and practical solution in a room with a Steampunk or Industrial theme.

  • The Glass Coffee Table:
    The advantages of a clear topped or wholly clear table is that it is versatile, easy to clean and can complement a variety of colour schemes and décor plans. Glass gives an airy and spacious feel to a smaller space, but for a more child-friendly alternative you might prefer a moulded lucite or resin table.
  • Upholstered and Woven Tables:
    Choose a rattan, cane or wicker coffee table for living room design schemes that lean toward the Mid-century Modern or Boho-Chic styles. The airy, laid back look comes with the added benefit of easy upkeep and is conveniently lightweight. If your room is going to be a cosier space, you might want to explore the option of a tufted or upholstered ottoman as your centre table. The simple addition of a sturdy serving tray can provide versatile practicality without the loss of plush comfort.
Tree bark coffee table with throw pillows - Beautiful Homes

Coffee Table Storage - and Other Multipurpose Solutions

When discussing practicality we need to delve further into the ways that a coffee table can provide more versatility in your space.


  • A Coffee Table with Storage:
    Whether as a lift-top table, a table with drawers or even a trunk table, having a table that doubles as storage is a wonderful way to keep your home clutter free and organised. There are also open storage tables that suit a variety of design styles and décor themes - from removable woven baskets to display shelves perfect for books, magazines and decorative items.

  • A Coffee Table with Stools:
    As discussed earlier, tables with nested or tuck-away seats are a wonderful way to maintain visual simplicity yet provide extra seating. When not in use, the extra stools can be neatly stowed underneath the table – a particularly good solution if you entertain often or enjoy family game night!

  • A Foldable Coffee Table:
    When space is a factor, a folding table offers a flexible, adaptable solution that maximises usability. An additional folding table is also a great way to expand your surface area when entertaining. Look for designs that feature lockable joints for stability or have wheels for more efficient movement.


We hope these tips have helped you to find the designer coffee table that perfectly suits your space! But if you would like to know more, we’re always here for you!

Here at Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints, we partner with you to craft the home of your dreams – from making those first design decisions to delivering the ideal final outcome, we’re there for you, every step of the way! We even make it easier for you to source the latest in furniture, home accessories and décor styles with our curated collection. So, if you’re eager to get started on creating that perfect haven, and live in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune or Kolkata, now’s a good time to get in touch with our team.

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