Design The Essentials:

Found: Coffee Tables to Suit Every Design Style

Words by Sacha Strebe.

There are so many decisions to make when decorating a room and while the hunt for “the one” can be a fun endeavor, it can also be a lot of pressure. Finding individual pieces is easy, the challenge is making sure they play well with others. While cohesion is key, so is contrast—glossy with matte, sharp against sinuous, and soft with hard—there’s always beauty in the tension. Sourcing your foundational pieces in the early stages is critical to set the tone of the room and one of those items is the coffee table. This will help to define the look and feel of your space and provide an essential surface for all of your rare oddities, books, and object d’art. With so much decorating weight placed on this humble piece of furniture, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices out there. Each style could take you in a completely different design direction. So, we compiled a few handy tips to help you choose the right one, along with our curation of the best coffee tables.

Found: Coffee Tables to Suit Every Design Style
Found: Coffee Tables to Suit Every Design Style

Some things to consider when choosing a coffee table:

Understand How You’ll Use It

Is this coffee table going to serve more of a practical or decorative use? Meaning, will you need to place actual coffee cups on it or is it just a surface for decorative objects to add meaning and depth to the room? Defining how you will use the coffee table early on will help you decide what materials you choose. Marble stains easily so mug/cup rings and spills will show up. If that bothers you, then you might want to consider something that’s more durable and easy to clean. 

Measure, Measure, and Measure Again

Before you start the hunt online or in-store, be sure to have your measurements in hand. And we’re not just talking about the space your coffee table will take up on the rug. You also need to measure the height of your sofa’s seat because ideally, a coffee table should be level with that height or slightly lower. If it’s too high, it will dominate the space and offset the balance. 

Figure Out the Ideal Size

While the coffee table typically takes center stage, the sofa is the real star of the show so you should look for a style that can sit comfortably in front of your sofa without blocking it from view. When figuring out the ideal size of your coffee table, the maximum size should be two-thirds of the sofa’s width. If it’s too big it will look clunky and careless, but if it’s too small it could look too diminutive and underwhelming. Although, too small is often better than too big. 

Find the Shape You Love 

There are so many different shapes from triangular to circular, square, or rectangular so it’s important to establish that from the outset. There are some fun AR apps you can use now to position the coffee table in your room digitally to see how the different shapes will look in the space. You should also take your rug into consideration when choosing a coffee table shape. If you have a rectangular rug then consider a circular coffee table to add that sharp/sinuous contrast we spoke of earlier.

Is It a Solo or a Duet?

Take note of the space and your use case to understand whether your room would look best with one coffee table or two paired together. Having two tables allows you to play with verticality and mixed materiality in a space which can bring a unique look to the overall design but it also provides more options for guests. Perhaps you mix a coffee table with an ottoman that also doubles as a seat or an added surface area to house cups, snacks, and a charcuterie board for impromptu gatherings—the sky is the limit and design is always here to help. 

When you do find the right one, here are some of our tips on how to style a coffee table at home. Now, keep scrolling for our curation of the best coffee tables for every style.

Found: Coffee Tables to Suit Every Design Style

Don’t rush to choose a coffee table. Hasty decisions often result in a style that might be pretty, but not entirely personal. 

Share this Swoon   –  


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get exclusive access to recipes, promotions, videos, and original content.
We'll never share your information.