Coffee tables are ubiquitous in living rooms and if you know how to choose a coffee table correctly, it can make or break the appearance and harmony of your room. At first glance, choosing a coffee table seems to be easy: simply go to a store, pick out a table you like, and bring it home. Upon further reflection, however, there are coffee table size rules that you need to follow in order to find the perfect one for you.
This is an easy guide that will break down the rules on how to choose a coffee table size that’s right for your space.
Choosing the Right Material
Coffee tables come in various materials, whether it’s wood, metal, or even glass! The cheapest and most common type of coffee table is made from wood, but you don’t need to limit yourself to this material. The type of material you choose for your coffee table will often bring a certain atmosphere into the room, so you need to choose the right material to fit into the room’s theme.
- Light-colored wood has a modern and contemporary look while dark-colored wood has a more traditional and classic appearance.
- Glass or clear acrylic tables make small rooms look open and more spacious.
- Metal coffee tables have a minimalist look.
- Leather or faux leather coffee tables have a rugged appearance.
When you are choosing the material of your coffee table, you should also consider the safety and durability of the material. If you have small children or pets, glass tables might not be the best choice.
Finding the Best Size and Shape
Coffee tables come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The shape of your room will dictate the size and shape of the table – you don’t want to place a large coffee table in small room because it will eat up all the space! Conversely, a small coffee table looks awkward and out of place in a large room.
Square and Round Coffee Table Size Rules
- Best for large and spacious rooms
- Should be paired with large seating configurations
- Good for large groups
Rectangular and Oval Coffee Table Size Rules
- Best for smaller rooms
- Great for irregular seating configurations
- Good for small groups
Again, you should consider the people who will be using the coffee table. If you have small children, round or oval tables are best because they don’t have sharp corners.
What Other Features Do I Want?
The simplest coffee table configuration is a flat surface with a base. but you can choose other features that will increase the functionality of your coffee table. Many coffee tables have additional drawers or shelves if you love having coffee table books. Others come with a built-in surface that can be raised if you want to work or eat on your coffee table.
You can also consider choosing a table with wheels or casters so that it is easier to move the coffee table around. Some coffee tables even come with a space for ottomans that can double as both a storage and as a seat.
Does Height Matter?
Your coffee table should be at the right height to match your sofa; if it’s too high or too low, the coffee table becomes difficult to use and awkward to see. Before buying a coffee table, measure your sofa and take note of the height. The coffee table you purchase ideally be one to two inches lower than your sofa. At most, it should be at the same height.
Paying Attention to Proportion and Clearance
After the height of the table, two of the most important things to pay attention to when choosing a coffee table is the proportion and clearance of your table in relation to the surrounding furniture, particularly your sofa.
The length of your coffee table should match the length of your sofa. It would be awkward and unseemly if your coffee table is longer than your sofa! As a rule of thumb, a coffee table should be around 2/3 the length of your sofa. For example, if your sofa measures 96 inches, the coffee table should be around 65 inches long.
Clearance is another thing you should consider. Remember, you’re sitting around your coffee table so you should allot enough space for you to move around freely. No one likes to keep bumping into a coffee table by accident as they try to move around it! A coffee table should be around 12-18 inches away from your sofa so that you can move around it easily. For other large piece of furniture or décor such as a TV stand or a fireplace, your coffee table should be at least 24 inches away so that you won’t feel cramped.
Balancing Your Coffee Table with Other Furniture
Finally, you should choose your coffee table according to the furniture that’s already inside your room. The appearance, design, and overall feel of the table should contrast and complement the other furniture to make the space feel balanced.
Let’s say that your sofa has long, low, and has no visible legs. This sofa has a strong and solid appearance. Thus, you should choose a coffee table that has high and skinny legs to provide a contrast to the sofa set. Conversely, a sofa set with skinny legs would pair well with a coffee table with short or no legs. Get more tips on coffee tables.
The rules on how to choose a coffee table are not set in stone. Rather, they are guidelines that you can refer to so that you can create a beautiful and harmonious space. However, the most important thing that you need to keep in mind is your budget, your personal taste, and ultimately, what kind of coffee table best suits your needs.