How To Pick The Best Coffee Table For Your Living Rooms

December 22, 2021 Posted by Sarah Hampton Trunk Coffee Table styled by house society

While the sofa reigns supreme in any sitting area, the coffee table brings any room to life as it ties everything together to create a stylish and functional living space. Choose the right coffee table for your home with our La Maison’s handy guide on picking the best coffee table for your living room.

1. The importance of the coffee table for your house

We usually spend a lot of effort (and money) in picking the perfect lounge; however, your living space will remain ‘dead’ if you don’t pair your living room seating with the perfect coffee table.

A coffee table is a low table made from various materials such as glass, metal or wood. Coffee tables are designed to increase the function and convenience of a sitting area. As the name suggests, a coffee table is used to hold coffee (or any beverage) and refreshments when lounging or entertaining.

The concept of a ‘low table’ for entertaining guests is not a novel idea. There is a myriad of paintings and illustrations of scenes showing low tables used in revelries in various historical periods and cultures. However, an interior design ‘myth’ places the 20th century ‘concept’ of the coffee table as an invention by F. Stuart Foote of the Imperial Furniture Company. According to the stories, Stuart’s wife was throwing a society party and needed functional pieces to serve guests as they lounged about. As the president of Imperial, Stuart trimmed the legs of a dining table and dubbed it as ‘coffee table’. Whatever its origins, the fact still remains that this is a very functional piece of furniture that bonds your living/entertaining space together.

2. Three things to consider when buying a coffee table

There are several things to consider when shopping for a coffee table. More than just personal preference or how ‘great’ it goes with your room, consider the following things when choosing the best coffee table for your living room:

Dimensions of the coffee table

The modern coffee table is a hardworking piece of furniture. It serves a variety of functions, from holding beverages to displaying beautiful arrangements, interesting books and knickknacks. Because of this, it’s essential to consider the dimensions of your coffee table. If you envision yourself hosting many intimate gatherings to discuss thought-provoking thoughts, perhaps or even coffee hangouts with your loved ones, you may want to consider an oblong or round coffee table to hold your coffee/tea service while offering a piece of space-saving furniture to gather around. On the other hand, if you’re going to utilise your coffee table to hold more than your beverage, books or trinkets, perhaps consider a slightly taller coffee table or even a coffee table with storage so you can use the under space for extra storage. The bottom line is, choose a coffee table that’s big enough or small enough to fit your purpose.

Proportion to your living space

Important: you need to balance the proportion of your coffee table to your sofa and your entire living space. Getting a large coffee table may overwhelm your sofa and can affect the function of your living space. Getting too small a coffee table may make your space look silly and lacking. A good rule of thumb is finding a coffee table that is 70% of your sofa’s width (space permitting). Apart from the 70% rule, make sure that when you put your living room furniture, you are able to have a 50 cm distance from each side of your coffee table to have enough room to move around.

The right material

Consider the activity and type of user in the space where you will place a coffee table. For example, a high traffic space that’s prone to ‘accidents’ might benefit from a metal-framed glass coffee table or even a solid wood coffee table (with water-repelling treatment) to avoid breakage and provide protection against spillage. Have a living space that’s used for more than one purpose? Choose a lightweight coffee table such as a rattan coffee table or a wicker coffee table so you can easily move your coffee table around or combine it with other pieces. Your coffee table should work for you.



3. Types of Coffee Tables

Now that you’ve properly considered the size, proportion and material of your coffee table, you can start considering the different styles and iterations of coffee table to perfectly complement your living space.

 A. Coffee Table by Shape

Lifestyleshot Ballard Coffee Table Black
Lifestyleshot Juliette Coffee Table
Lifestyleshot Henwick White Coffee Table
Hamptons Coffee Table

Rectangular coffee tables

This coffee table shape is one of the most versatile of all coffee table shapes. The rectangular coffee table shape offers practicality as it provides you with adequate surface space to hold your coffee or tea service, decors, and so much more. We recommend rectangular coffee tables such as the Brooklyn Rectangle Glass Coffee Table as a stylish and versatile piece for when you want a coffee table with a little more space.

Round coffee tables

Round coffee tables offer a stylish vibe that goes well with any living room configuration. Apart from this, a round coffee table is a great space saver that gives you adequate surface space without taking too much of your living area. What’s more, it has no corners to bump into, hence fewer ouchies! For a great centrepiece to your living room, we recommend the Shabelo Coffee Table Set with Glass Top as an ultra-chic round glass coffee table that’s both visually appealing and space-saving.

Square coffee tables

Square coffee tables offer a modern look that never goes out of style. It blends well with any interior style, and much like the round coffee table, it goes well with any living room configuration. Whether you pair two small square coffee tables or one large square coffee table with storage, square coffee tables are a great addition to any room. We recommend the Henwhich White Coffee Table with Basket Storage for an elegant, multi-functional square coffee table option with storage for any room.

B. Coffee Table by Material

Apart from searching for coffee tables by shape, you can also search for the best coffee table by material.

Lifestyleshot Ballard Coffee Table Black
Lifestyleshot Calais Easy Chair and Coffee Table
Lifestyle Image Manado Coffee Table and Side Table
Lifestyleshot Juliette Coffee Table

Wood Coffee Tables

Wood Coffee tables are the traditional choice for coffee tables. They are sturdy, hardwearing and exude a grand, dependable vibe which compliments any style. Wood coffee tables also offer versatility in that it comes in a variety of shapes and shades, thus allowing you to match your coffee table to the rest of your furniture suite. A great example of a wood coffee table is the Ballard Wood Coffee Table. It has a stylish x-frame with removable trays for easy entertaining.

Wicker Coffee Tables

Wicker coffee tables made from synthetic or natural materials, such as bamboo or rattan, offers a cozy, natural vibe due to their unique woven detail. An excellent choice for coastal-inspired interiors, wicker coffee tables are sturdy, lightweight and add a sense of casual elegance that’s great for any living space. A great example of a wicker coffee table is the Calais Round Hamptons Coffee Table. This rustic wood coffee table provides a stylish round coffee table look with its basket woven details complemented by a sturdy, hardwearing surface.

Rattan Coffee Tables

Whether natural or synthetic, Rattan is one of the most popular materials for wicker coffee tables. Rattan is naturally lightweight and flexible, thus allowing furniture artisans to create sturdy, lightweight furniture with intricate handwoven patterns. In addition, rattan coffee tables exude a luxe, coastal charm that’s sure to impress. One of our favourite rattan coffee tables is the Manado Rattan Coffee Table. This rattan coffee table makes a perfect statement coffee table with its solid frame and delicately woven rattan panels with inset glass.

Glass Coffee Tables

Glass is a very popular material for coffee tables. What sets glass coffee tables apart is their aura of sophistication and weightlessness. With glass coffee tables, your space becomes less cluttered and more spacious. Additionally, the glass surface is resistant to water stains, thus making it low maintenance. Some people may argue that glass coffee tables are too fragile or too heavy, but for us at La Maison, we are huge fans of the beauty and elegance of a glass coffee table. One of our best-selling glass coffee tables is the Juliette Glass Top Coffee Table. This elegant coffee table features an iconic curved metal base, a space-saving rounded shape and a thick glass top that make the coffee table seem sturdy yet lightweight.

C. Coffee Table Alternatives

You can repurpose anything to make a coffee table. Here are other cool coffee table alternatives that you can consider for your space.

Lifestyle shot Sassoon 3seater flax and brooklyn coffee table
Hampton Trunk Coffee Table styled by house society
Lifestyleshot Simonata Sofa Grey
Lifestyleshot Calais Coffee Table Old Grey

Gorgeous! Chic and streamlined, the stylish industrial vibe of Manhattan loft interiors is a wonderful interior design interior for any living space.

Nesting coffee tables

Nesting coffee tables are basically a set of varying coffee table sizes that can be pushed underneath each other (hence the term ‘nesting’). What’s excellent with nesting coffee tables is that you can create a larger coffee table area by pulling out the coffee tables and utilising them separately or as a group. You can nest the coffee tables back together to create one compact coffee table if you don’t need the extra space. One of our favourite nesting coffee tables is the Brooklyn Round Nesting Coffee Table Set. With this coffee table set, get three different coffee tables in one. Use it as one big round coffee table, pull the smaller coffee table out to make a more elongated coffee table or use the two coffee tables separately to cover more space.

Trunks as a coffee table

Old steamer trunks or chests can serve as great coffee table alternatives. It gives a quaint, charming vibe to your space while providing added storage to put away books, magazines, extra pillows, and the like. One of our favourite trunk-as-coffee-table is the Island Life Rattan Coffee Table. This beautifully woven rattan coffee table is a sturdy chest that offers a multipurpose use its both furniture and a statement piece to your home.

Ottoman as a coffee table

A popular trend, especially for those with limited spaces, is using the ottoman as a coffee table as it’s very multipurpose – it can be a footrest, an extra seating or additional surface space to serve refreshments to your guests. We recommend the Conran Ottoman as a possible coffee table, especially for compact sitting areas as it’s a comfy tufted bench, a nice footrest or a coffee table, all in one finely crafted furniture.  

Manhattan loft interiors feature clean, sleek lines, dark, monochrome tones and luxurious finishing. Tying the pieces together in this picture is the Conran Black Nesting Coffee Table. Featuring a sophisticated, geometric look, this nesting coffee table set comes in three that you can use as a large ensemble or as separates. Showcasing beautifully stained wood panels and a matte black iron frame, this nesting coffee table is a solid and modern focal piece for any contemporary interior.

La Maison presents a stylish selection of well-appointed coffee tables. You are truly spoilt for choice as we bring you a beautiful range of crafted rectangle coffee tables, round coffee tables, coffee tables with storage, glass top coffee tables or even wicker coffee. Finely crafted with durable, top-quality timber, glass and metal, our modern coffee table selection offers both durability and sophistication for your home.

Bring your living space to life with a chic, multi-functional coffee table from La Maison.