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.
Rectangular coffee tables are the most popular shape on the market currently and come in a variety of heights and forms. They can be used in small or large rooms and can often make a large impact in a big room where a very large coffee table is required so as to be accessible from all of the furniture. Similarly square coffee tables are excellent in larger rooms although they can overpower smaller spaces when not chosen with care. If you are buying a square coffee table be sure to mark out the floor area that will be covered to make sure that it will not overwhelm the room.
Coffee tables serve a variety of uses. Whilst some are used only for the display of ornaments, in many homes they have replaced the family dining table. What functions your table must fulfill should be one of the key considerations when you are selecting it. You must decide whether you need storage and if so whether you want the items you are storing to be on public display or hidden from view. Lift top coffee tables sound like a good idea but are only really useful if you intend to keep the surface clear. Otherwise each time that you need to remove or replace an item you have to clear the top of the table first. Often a coffee table with a drawer or shelf can be a more convenient choice. A coffee table will be a key purchase for your living space. It is worth investing the time and energy into choosing a table that will meet both your aesthetic and functional needs and be something that you will use and love for many years.