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How to choose the perfect coffee table

Choosing the right centrepiece for your living room is harder than it seems – from glass coffee tables that are utterly sleek in every way, to their heavy-set wooden counterparts, there’s a whole world of variety to choose from. Read on for top tips on finding the perfect fit.
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How to pick the perfect coffee table

Choosing the right centrepiece for your living room is harder than it seems – from glass coffee tables that are utterly sleek in every way, to warm, rustic wooden gems, there’s a whole world of variety to choose from. Finding the right coffee table is like finding the last piece in the jigsaw – it completes the picture.

Read on for top tips on how to find – and style – a coffee table that’s perfect for your home.

Keep it in proportion

Your coffee table is integral to the overall look of your living room, the finishing piece that brings everything together. When it comes to size and where you put it, it’s all about getting the balance right.

The ideal amount of space between the edge of the sofa and the table for ease of movement is 18 inches. Go for a table that’s around the same height or a just an inch or two shorter than your sofa. Anything higher can look a little odd.


Choose your look

When it comes to the style of your coffee table, it’s important to go for something that complements, but isn’t completely identical to, the style of your seating. If your sofa is plush and heavy-set, you could go for sleek glass top coffee table such as the cleverly extending Wings coffee table to avoid a feeling of clutter in the room. That’s not to say you can’t opt for something distinctive (we love the stylish Furnitureland Annecy coffee table), but by selecting contrasting styles you won’t be left with a space that feels too full.

If your sofa is sleeker and more minimal – perhaps with visible space underneath due to taller legs – you’ll be able to go for something a little chunkier. The spaciousness created by having a less blocky sofa means that a slightly chunkier coffee table such as the Furnitureland California Coffee table works well. If you went for something equally as sleek and minimal as your seating, you could end up with a room that lacks substance.


Glass coffee tables work fantastically in small rooms, and some are very cleverly designed to make the most of your space. The Yoko coffee table, for example, is made of two smaller tables pushed together – you can separate them and use them as end tables or lamp tables.

And the Twist coffee table has a round glass top that swivels, so it doubles in size.

Textured wooden coffee tables can look striking against a minimalist or neutral backdrop. The Willis and Gambier Tuscan Hills coffee table is made of rich, characterful oak, enhanced by a white oil finish.

To add a modern, unpolished vibe to your lounge, go for a table made from industrial-style metals like copper or steel. Topped with distressed wood, this can be a great way to add a raw edge to your interiors.


Style it with panache

Now you have your perfect coffee table, it’s time to think about styling it. Some coffee tables are made for this, such as the linear and stylish Content by Conran Elmari coffee table which has integrated shelves perfect for displaying books, magazines and more.

The trick is to group a few well chosen items on your coffee table in a purposeful way that makes sense. Once you have this very simple ‘grouping’ rule in mind, you can decide on what suits your décor. There are so many directions you can go in, from a pile of glossy coffee table art books or favourite magazines to a marble chess set or a bowl of colourful fruit. For a rustic scheme, choose something natural such as a basket filled with sea glass or pebbles, or display small pots of succulent plants. In a modern interior you could opt for something bold and striking such as a glossy metallic bowl or a sculptural piece.

Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right coffee table and styling it creatively when it comes to making your interiors sing. Without that last piece of the jigsaw, you’ll be left faced with a room that’s fine, but not the design masterpiece you want it to be (and who was ever satisfied with ‘fine’ anyway?). This last little detail (the devil’s in it) is vital in bringing your décor together, and ensuring that the puzzle is well and truly complete.


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