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4 Tips To Choose The Right Coffee Table

That Scandinavian Feel

We often underestimate the importance of coffee tables when completing the look and functionality of a room, often it results in a room that looks awkward, uncomfortable, and un-finished. We often hear clients say that they bought one they liked but then found out that it doesn't feel right when they got it home. To get that refined look where everything fits well together, let's start with getting your next coffee table just right!

1. The right size

By Studio McGee

Like every piece of furniture and décor items in your room, your coffee table should be considered in relation to its intended environment and surroundings. When choosing sizes, always keep in mind the basics listed below:

The right height: The standard height for coffee tables is 16 to 18 inches above the floor, and this is related to the 17 to 18 inches standard height of seating furniture. A coffee table shouldn’t be more than 1 to 2 inches shorter than the top of your sofa cushion; otherwise, it will be uncomfortable for people to reach while seating.

The right length: Again, we must look at the length of the coffee table in relation to the length of the sofa. So, when choosing the right length, the table should always be at least two thirds the length of your sofa. For example, for a 96” sofa, the right table should at least be 64” long.

The right shape: Coffee tables come in a wide variety of shapes, but not all shapes will fit your room properly. You may already have a preference for rectangular tables compared to circular ones. However, what will really determine the shape you should use is not only your personal style but also the size of your room, the shape of your sofa, the circulation required, and the style you pick.


Some key clearances to keep in mind:

  • A minimum of 12 to 18 inches away from the sofa.

  • A minimum of 24 to 30 inches away from a fireplace or TV.

  • Measure the length between your sofa and TV stand and subtract 42 inches to determine your ideal coffee table width.

Architecture Art Design Maison De Pax

If you have a sectional instead of a sofa, then we suggest the guidelines below:

  • For a 3-piece square sectional, use a round or a square coffee table that doesn’t extend more than the length of the sectional arms.

  • For an L-shape sectional or chaise, go with a rectangular or oval-shaped coffee table. We recommend an elongated option.

  • U-shape sectionals, normally used in large rooms, are a great opportunity to fill up space using a large coffee table. The perk? You can pretty much use any shape and complement it with a couple of ottomans.

2. The right proportion

Curated Interior

To find the perfect balance of elements when designing a room, proportions are so important! In this case, we look at the coffee table in relation to the size of the sofa, sectional, or chairs around it. For instance, if your sofa has long thin legs, then the best option will be to have a consistently heavy table that reaches down to the floor. On the other hand, if your sofa has short bulky legs, then you'll want a coffee table with higher thin legs. This is an interesting visual strategy to ground items to the room in relation to its surrounding pieces.

3. The right finish

By Emily Henderson

Just as with the size and shape, the finish of your coffee table is very important. When choosing between a glass top versus a solid top, wood versus metal, or open versus closed, the right finish is determined by the rest of the materials in the room. Hence, you must consider the colour and material of the sofa, chairs, as well as the finish of your flooring.



  • Helps to create an open and airy look.

  • Creates a visual focus on the décor on display.

  • Resistant to spills and easy to clean.

  • Perfect if you already have lots of wood in the space.


  • Can break easily.

  • Can scratch easily.

Terrace Coffee Table - West Elm



  • Adds warmth and richness to the room.

  • A great way to bring a natural texture inside.

  • Real solid wood can be easily re-stained over time


  • Not scratch resistant.

  • Can stain

  • Can be easily damaged by liquids.

Volume Coffee Table - CB2



  • Gives a more elevated look.

  • Scratch-resistant (with proper care).

  • Easy to clean with the right products.


  • May stain easily.

  • Heavier to move around.

  • On the expensive side.

Streamline Marble Table - West Elm



  • Adds warmth and richness to the room.

  • Can help add an accent colour and texture to the room.


  • Not scratch resistant

  • Stains easily

Huskins Ottoman Table - Wayfair

4. The right purpose

The purpose of a table goes beyond just serving as a surface. Tables can provide much needed added functionality which all depends on your overall lifestyle, Let's discuss a few functional options.

Additional storage: There are beautifully designed tables that also offer plenty of storage. Open or enclosed, additional storage in tables is a great space for items like books, remote controls, games, blankets, etc. Great for things you want to keep on display, or for hiding clutter. It's particularly great for rooms that are feeling a bit too busy.

Additional seating: Do you love to entertain? Ottoman coffee tables are great as additional seating options for large gatherings. We love that they are so versatile in size and form such as oversized round statement ottomans or the more common bench style. This is also our go-to when we are focused on creating a cozy family-focused room since it's comfortable to rest your feet on after a long day.

Statement piece: Coffee tables can also become the statement piece in the room. From organic unique tree logs or modern stone shapes that vary from vintage to contemporary, you can curate the perfect sculpture. Getting creative is how to ensure it will be the focal point in your living room.

Child-friendly: Now more than ever, our living rooms have become the center space in the house to gather, play, relax, and work. For families with children, a childproof coffee table is essential. So, we suggest pieces with no sharp edges and shapes where small fingers can't get stuck. If you need storage, we also recommend staying away from hinged drawers and instead opt for underneath storage in baskets or trays. Oh, And don’t forget lip edge coffee tables! They're perfect to avoid the many spills that little ones tend to make.

Drum Table - West Elm Willow Table - West Elm Wireframe Table - Gus Modern

OK, now that we've told you a bit more about what to have in mind when choosing the right coffee table, we can now give you our top favourites options for each design style (if you don’t know what your design style is yet, we invite you to take our style quiz here!)

The perfect coffee table for each style

Modern farmhouse

The perfect balance between artisanal and industrial. You can’t go wrong with a modern farmhouse alternative. Just keep in mind that this style will most likely have a combination of wood and metal elements that complement the rustic aesthetics.

Wortman Table - Wayfair


We always love how the boho style plays with textures, patterns, shapes, and colours. Fun and unique, boho coffee tables will add character to your space while bringing out the romantic creative side of you.

Rattan Table - Wayfair


When we think mid-century, we picture wood, functional, and a combination of rectilinear and organic. Mid-century furniture pieces are still iconic and are a great way to add style to your room.

Reeve Table - West Elm


You’ve probably heard about this style multiple times before, but the word "minimal" says it all. Sleek, simple, and clean, minimal coffee tables are pure aesthetics for their materiality and function.

Erling Table - Mobilia

In closing, we understand you may have just moved to a new place, want to renovate, or just want to refresh your room. Well, if you read all the way here, then you are ready to find the perfect coffee table for your home! If you liked one of the options we showed you above, or if you just need help sourcing a few more alternatives, always remember that we are here to help get you move-in ready in an instant!

-White Dahlia Design Team At Your Service!



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