How to choose a coffee table

How to choose a coffee table

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When it comes to choosing a coffee and side table for your living space, it can feel a little daunting. There are so many sizes, shapes and finishes to choose from!  The good news is if you have chosen a classic or Hamptons style the long list of options have narrowed somewhat.  Now you just need to ask yourself a few questions to ensure you choose the right coffee table for your living space and lifestyle.

Here are some points to consider before purchasing a coffee table

1. Proportions

It’s really all about proportions of your living space and also what lounge, armchairs you are working with. The worst decision you can make is to overcrowd a small living space with a large coffee table. Generally speaking you should allow at least half a metre of space from the front of the sofa to the edge of the coffee table (a little more if you have a big room).  The same goes for the coffee table to the entertainment unit. This will allow space to move and avoid your family having to shuffle awkwardly around your living space.

On the contrary a small coffee table in a large space can look equally out of place.  The proportions of the coffee table need to be considered. Ideally everyone in the family should have access to the coffee table surface so they can reach it, if not it’s not going to be serving its functional purpose. Consider using a side table next to your lounge or armchairs if you have an area just out of reach. 

'Bronson' Large Square Coffee Table

2. Shape

When it comes to choosing the shape of your coffee table, you once again need to consider the configuration of your room, lounge and armchairs.  Rectangular coffee tables are the most popular option as they tend to suit most living spaces and rugs, and they will give a space a more structured look. The square edge also allows your family members to more easily access the surface of the coffee table from their seated position. 

'Samuel' Oak & Glass Coffee Table - Rectangle

Circular coffee tables are becoming increasingly popular and tend to suit more contemporary spaces, smaller spaces, or spaces with L shape lounges. They are also a great choice for families with young children, with more space for kids to move around and no sharp corners to bump into. 

'Aspen' Recycled Elm Coffee Table

Square coffee tables are also a great choice.

'Milla' Coffee table in whitewash

3. Finish

When choosing your finish, think about what type of look you are looking for. Classic Hamptons home favour all white and usually rectangle coffee tables. Choosing a coffee table in a timber finish that suits other timber pieces in your home is a great way to create a subtle flow through your home.

Also think about practical elements such as how hardwearing your surface needs to be with young kids.  An unsealed timber finish like weathered or recycled oak will not be as durable to spills and drawing with small children. 

Think about the colour and material. Do you want a natural wood finish, painted surfaces to match your colour scheme or other material finishes such as glass?

'Chester' Recycled Elm Coffee Table and side table.

Another big decision is whether to use a coffee table with a glass top.  Glass is one of our best selling options as it gives the illusion of space and makes the area look bigger.  If you do have a young family make sure it is made from tempered glass. Tempered glass is about four times stronger than ordinary glass and if it does shatter if shatters safely.

4. Storage

It's not just the aesthetics you need to consider, when choosing a coffee table and side table you will also need think practically about whether you need storage. The surface area of the table is used to serve food and drinks, hold trays, ornaments or flowers.  However, some customers want a drawer to hide some everyday items like your tv remotes, playing cards, coasters etc.  This will help to keep your surfaces clear and clean. Similarly if you like to keep magazines a coffee table with a shelf is a great idea to stack books or keep storage baskets.

Our customers needs vary widely when it comes to needing storage in coffee tables. If you have ample storage elsewhere and prefer simple lines then perhaps opt for a coffee table without drawers or a shelf. Many customers comment that if offered storage it will just be filled with junk or gather dust. So the storage decision will vary from family to family. 

'South Beach' Hamptons Cross Leg Coffee Table

5. Have you considered an ottoman? Coffee tables are not your only option.

Increasingly we are seeing our customers choose a linen ottoman in place of a timber and glass coffee tables. This is a popular option especially for those downsizing where the risk of spills and staining are not as high. An upholstered ottoman can also serve as a cosy footrest to put your feet up.  Why not place a tray on your ottoman to offer a hard surface to rest your candles and snacks. Generally speaking the material of your ottoman should either be very similar or a contrast to your lounge choice.

'Justine' Upholstered Rectangle Ottoman

'Tweed' Upholstered Large Round Ottoman

Click below to browse our most popular coffee tables and side table by shape

Round Coffee Tables

Rectangle Coffee Tables

Square Coffee Tables

Round Side Tables

Square Side Tables

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