How To Choose The Right Coffee Table

How To Choose The Right Coffee Table

How to choose the right coffee table for your space + some photo inspiration to get your started.

There are a few things you have to consider when choosing the right coffee table for your space. You’ll need to first think about the style of coffee table you are looking for, then the correct size and shape and lastly, how it will function in your space. If your coffee table is too small or too big, the room will feel out of whack because your furniture proportions will be off so selecting furniture that is the proper size and scale for your space is of the utmost importance.

Here are some basic measurements I live by when choosing the right coffee table for any space. I hope they are helpful the next time you are choosing one for yours.

Your coffee table should be no taller than the top of the cushions on your sofa but preferably about 1 to 2 inches lower than your sofa. Anything more than 2 inches will be uncomfortable when reaching for a glass, etc. on your table.

The length of your coffee table should be approximately 2/3 the length or width of your sofa. If your coffee table is too long or too short it will appear out of scale and will feel awkward in the space.

If your space is deep then a table with obviously more depth will visually fill up the space better so there won’t be awkward space between the coffee table and the opposite side of the sofa…in this case something approximately 32 to 48″ might work best. However if your space is more shallow or if you have a small room, something more narrow will probably be more proportioned for the space. In this case consider something approximately 19 to 31″ deep.

If you have a square room a round coffee table is a nice relief for the eye and will probably fit best in the space. If you have a rectangular room chances are a rectangular table will work best and fill up the space best. It is always my opinion that if you have a sectional (unless it’s really, really large) a round or square coffee table will always work best allowing for proper space between the table and sofa however, if you have a typical sofa a rectangular table can work beautifully depending on your seating in the space (so many variables to consider). Seating in the room might also dictate which shape coffee table might be best, for example, if you have a conversation area where four chairs are placed in a circle, a round table will always work best to allow appropriate walking distance between the coffee table and chairs.

For appropriate spacing between the coffee table and the furniture around it there should be at least 12 to 18 inches of space for ample walking distance between the two. 12 inches is tight but is doable if you have a small space. 14 to 16 inches is optimal.

If you are working with a larger space you might want to consider something solid, meaning something that visually takes up space so that it doesn’t feel dinky in your room. This could mean something with a solid top and/or something with no legs (so it would go all the way to the floor). If you have a small or tight space, going with something glass or lucite will visually keep the space open and therefore won’t close it in leaving the coffee table feeling heavy and like it’s the white elephant in the room.

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