Top 10 Tips to Pick the Ideal Coffee Table for Your Living Room!

The coffee table seems to be the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to selecting furniture and putting your living room together. Without a center table, something to pull the entire space together, the living room looks empty. There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to finding the perfect coffee table. To pick the ideal coffee table you need to first think about what you need; what do you want the table to do for you. Find out what exactly your room is lacking- it can be anything from the completion of the room’s look to storage and display. Then, based on your requirements, pick a table that provides an overall solution.

The coffee table is often used to hold books, magazines, newspapers, TV/AC remote, food, drinks, games etc. You can even use it to kick back and rest your legs on it after a tiring day, or the kids might need a place for drawing. What you must keep in mind is that, since a coffee table is placed right in the center of the room (which is why it is also known as a center table), you have to make sure that it’s a good one. The ideal coffee table anchors the living room furniture by filling in the gap and providing enough space around it for movement or for some simple leg stretching. If your seating area is larger, you can create two or more center points.

While selecting your center or coffee table many questions like what style of coffee table should I get? Should I go with a wood one with thick legs or a metallic with glass on top? Should it be square table, round table or rectangle table? might pop in your mind. The answers to all these questions can sometimes seem endless and, at times, overwhelming. So, we have done the hard part for you by researching and compiling all the answers in this article.

Tips to Choose A Living Room Center Table

The center table, as the name suggests, is the centerpiece of the room and if you want it to stand out, you will need to choose a living room center table that will fit all your requirements. We have listed below, 10 tips to help you choose a center table or coffee table that suits your room and lifestyle:

01. Decide the Budget for Center Table

There are hundreds of kinds of coffee tables from which you can pick and they all fall into various price ranges- from budget friendly to ultra-expensive. To make your choice simpler, fix a budget for your coffee table; decide how much you are willing to spend on a center/coffee table and then choose accordingly.

The overall budget for a living room is bifurcated into categories such as lighting, accessories, and furniture. Furniture includes sofas, chairs, side tables, and center or coffee tables, with a larger portion of the budget being allocated to the bigger items. This mean that you can bend a little on your budget with regard to the center table if you see something you like, so far as it does not force you to compromise on the quality of the bigger furniture items like sofas or chairs.

Additionally, here are a few suggestions if you are looking or planning to purchase some budget friendly products: Decorate Your Home Under INR 500 Products!

02. Think about the Best Shape for Your Coffee Table

Coffee tables come in a lot of different shapes and designs. However, when you lay out the plan for your living room, you give some serious thought about the shape of the coffee table, as it would need to suit the space. The shape of your sofa serves as a hint as to what the shape of the coffee table should be. A rectangular sofa or an L-shaped lounge usually demands a rectangle table so that the people seated on the couch can easily reach the food or any other item placed on the center table.

Similarly, for smaller sofas which have a square seating area, you can opt for a square or a round center table. If you feel that square and/or rectangular center tables are too monotonous, you can use oval or circular shapes. Opt for a round furniture piece if you plan on entertaining guests in your living room frequently, as they are better when there are large groups of people around for safety purposes.

Note: If you have children or pets, go for a kid-friendly table like a round or oval center table is ideal as sharp corners invite injuries if there is a fall or if they bump into the table.

03. Consider the Center Table’s Size Proportionate to Your Living Room

Now that you have decided the shape of your coffee table, you will need to determine its size. There are a few thumb rules you need to follow while deciding the size of the coffee table.

  • First, the center table should not be lower than one or two inches from the seat of your couch. This is to ensure ease of access to the objects placed on the table from the sofa. The standard coffee table height is about 16 or 18 inches and goes well with a regular-sized couch.
  • Second, the table should not be more than two-thirds the size of the largest piece of seating in the living room.
  • Third, while trying to decide the size of the coffee table, do not forget to maintain a two-foot clearance around each side of the table. The optimal distance between the living room center table and other furniture is 18 inches.
  • Lastly, there should be enough space for showpieces and everyday objects like coffee/tea mugs, laptop, newspapers, magazines etc. on the table.

04. Style of the Coffee Table

Once you have decided the shape and size, you can move on to choosing the style of your coffee table. There are lots of styles from which you can choose, like modern, contemporary, vintage, traditional, formal, and informal. If you are not sure what style to pick, use your living room’s decorating scheme as a guide. Considering that your center table will be the focal point of your living room, the safest option would be a table in tune with the colours, textures, patterns or materials in the room.

For instance, a classic, elegant wooden center piece would look right at home in a traditional living room. Edgy, geometric tables, a sleek metal table with a glass top, on the other hand, go perfectly well in contemporary spaces. If country casual is more to your liking, then you will love a rustic oak table.

05. The Scale of the Coffee Table

The scale of a coffee table is also an important factor to consider when it comes to styling. This is simply about the size and visual weight of the objects in a room in comparison with one another. It is crucial for your center table to be in proportion with the sofa, else the living room will look awkward. Make sure that you don’t choose a coffee table that goes beyond the sofa.

Striking tables go well with slim sofas. They help to ground the space in large rooms with high ceilings or lots of windows. On the other hand, a smaller setup can pull off delicate metal and glass designs. A living room center table with a glass top creates an illusion of depth, making the overall setup look more spacious than it actually is. These are also preferable for small living rooms and can be used to show off a lavish, solid-coloured couch behind it or the stylish rug below.

06. Functionality of the Coffee Table

Another important factor to be considered while picking a coffee table is its primary use. Will the table be just a decorative object or do you need it to provide storage? You can customize your living room center table according to the activity you usually carry out around it. If you entertain guests often, choose tables with a bordered edge or a rough surface, so you do not have to worry about tripping over and spilling drinks or food. You should also pick a piece that can hold drinks and snack plates with ease. If the table is only supposed to be part of the décor, you can focus on one with lines and texture in a material you love.

For a small space, you can choose a center rectangular table that comes with a lower open shelf or drawers for storage where you can store anything like stationery items, magazines, napkins, newspapers, game boards, remote controls etc. Additionally, if your living room is very small, you can opt for a movable coffee table over a fixed one to make use the space for more purposes.

07. Materials for the Coffee Table

When you shop for a living room center table, you will find many choices of material, the most obvious being wood. However, you don’t have to restrict yourself to wood if you don’t want to, as there are many other options available in the market.

Take a look at your room and furniture to determine what material would look the best. If your living room is too small, then a clear acrylic and glass coffee table can make the room look more open.

Materials such as glass combined with metal frames offer a more sophisticated look and provide strength to the coffee tables. They are less bulky than wood and are easier to clean and move. The modern sleek lines for the metal frames and glass top also give the room a contemporary look.

Darker wood, such as mahogany or walnut, or materials such as marble and metal can look good in a traditional room. You can also use tables made of medium density fiberboard (MDF) when the budget is the main priority.

Leather or faux leather can also work well in a variety of settings and they are also easy to maintain.

When you have small children in a house, consider the safety and durability of the table’s material. At the end, you should choose a material that is easy to maintain.

08. Groupings of Center or Nesting Tables

Whoever said you need to use only one table? You can always try a collection of tables for your living room to switch things up when it comes to the look., You can place two or three identical tables of different sizes, or what we call nesting tables, and pull out each table to expand the surface area while also staggering the tabletops. If your space is wide, you can also place two tables next to each other and create one larger table. For more nesting table designs, you may check out the best home design page by Gharpedia for center tables.

Another option is to select several gardens stools and use them as a sofa table solution. They are available in a variety of colours and patterns that look perfect in a bright and sunny living room.

09. Out of Box Ideas for Your Center Table

Sometimes, thinking outside the box allows you to find perfectly unique coffee tables. They may not even look like a coffee table! This will also allow your creative mind to explore more options suitable to your living room. Old steamer trunks, cedar chests, and ottomans are fabulous alternatives for the typical coffee table. Each option offers its own eclectic appeal.

For instance, ottomans made of leather or beautiful fabrics will add additional visual interest and texture to your living room. They also serve as a place to put your feet up without concern for the tabletop.

You can also use an old wooden trunk or box by revamping it to use as a unique centerpiece in your family room, sparking nostalgia and an interesting conversation. The trunk can also be used as a secret storage space while also looking unique and traditional.

Additionally, you can simply add a coffee table which is unique and abstract, like the one shown above. Made from a wooden log, the table looks stunning and suits the living room. But, make sure that it goes seamlessly with the style of your living room furniture, else it will ruin the whole look of your room.

10. Colour for Your Coffee Table

Another way for you to make the center table in tune with the rest of the furniture is to combine it with the sofa and let the couch cushions match with the coffee table.

It’s Now Time to Shop!


Now that you have fixed your budget, determined your style, functionality, size and material of the coffee table, all that is left for you to do is start shopping for the perfect living room center table.

If you keep the aforementioned factors in mind when you shop, we assure you that you will be able to select the right coffee table to match your space without any hassle.

If you are interested in more design ideas, check out the other articles on Gharpedia’s blog.

Since you’re already riding high on design guidelines, there are some more posts that might be helpful to you:

Décor Ideas that Will Make a Small Living Room Look Cozy!
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