First think about what you need your coffee table to do for you, or what your room is missing, then pick a table that provides the solution. Before buying a table, mark the footprint with painter’s tape so you can see the scale of the piece in the room and how that affects the surrounding furniture. If you have a very large room and a large coffee table, you can break up the scale of the table by flanking it with pairs of ottomans or benches, as in this example. When there’s a party, they can be moved out of the way for better circulation, but for everyday use these extra seats help connect the sofa at one end and the pair of chairs at the other end. Be sure to use a pair of ottomans — not just a single one. When you have two sofas or any larger seating arrangement, a big coffee table might seem like the obvious solution. But also consider a pair of matching coffee tables. They will keep the focus off one large piece of furniture and let your eye move around the room more easily. One classic coffee table size is 48 by 24 inches, so you can plan on that when thinking about your furniture arrangement. A large coffee table is often double that: 48 inches square.
A coffee table does a lot of work. It needs to hold books, magazines, drinks, food — even games on game night. You might want to put your feet up on it, or the kids might need a place for coloring. Plus it’s usually smack dab in the middle of the room, where you can’t miss it — so make sure it’s a good one. Sculptural wood coffee tables tell their own story and can add a natural element and warmth to a room with multiple upholstered pieces. Sealers and, of course, coasters can help protect the surface from water damage. Sometimes a coffee table that isn’t the standard height or width is exactly what a room needs. In this instance a very low coffee table creates a crisp horizontal plane in the foreground, offsetting the long horizontal line of the credenza in the background. A higher table would have blocked the view of the credenza and competed with it; the varying heights add interest.
Coffee tables are frequently the central focus of a living area and therefore have a tremendous impact on a rooms decor and ambiance. A wise choice can create a feeling of style and harmony whilst a poor choice can make a room look disordered and can overwhelm the other furniture, making the room look smaller and feel less unified. The choices that you make regarding the size, shape, cost, material and style of the coffee table are thus vitally important to making your living room a welcoming space and setting the tone that you desire for your home. Before beginning your search for the perfect coffee table you should therefore work out what it is that you want from it. Do you want it to be purely ornamental- to create a modern and stylish statement, or are you more interested in its functions- do you plan to eat from it, place drinks on it, store magazines in it or use it as a display cabinet? You also need to consider the cost of any piece that you plan to purchase. It is often a good idea to set a maximum budget before you begin your search. This should prevent you from even considering purchases that you may later regret. Coffee tables can be bought as cheaply as twenty dollars, however they can also cost in the thousands. It is a good idea to have an idea of your budget so that you do not fall in love with a table that is far out of your reach.