Type to search

How to Choose the Right Coffee Table


Balancing function & form

From resting your cuppa and stacking your magazines to keeping the remote controls in reach, coffee tables serve an important function in the living room as essential surface space. Carefully selected, they can also help to anchor the room and offer a sleek uniformity that ties your furnishings together. When it comes to how to choose the right coffee table for your home, there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Table - round

Salu Mango Wood Coffee Table

Function first

Consider the way you’re going to use your coffee table or if you’re going to use it at all. Is it a practical purchase for resting your drinks and remotes, or do you want a stylish centrepiece to display plants and ornaments to tie the composition of the room together? If your coffee table is a mostly decorative piece in your lounge, you can opt for a heavier table as it doesn’t need to be moved around. Yet if your goal is functionality, choose a lightweight coffee table that you can slide in or out from the sofa (for when you want the popcorn bowl closer on movie nights!).

Drummer Marble Round Coffee Table


There’s nothing more annoying than an oversized coffee table that you have to squeeze past every time you get up to pop on the kettle. Likewise, a tiny table will appear to float in the centre of the room, like dollhouse furniture, leaving the space feeling unanchored. The rule of thumb is to select a coffee table that will allow 50 centimetres of space from the sofa to the table edge so you can get up and down with ease. Likewise, the right height is essential. Your coffee table should be the same height or a little lower than the seat of the sofa to make it easy to rest your mug (or kick your feet up!).


Shape is an important consideration and, again, should come down to how you use the space. If you’re living room is spacious and you want a formal look, a rectangular or square table will moor the space beautifully. If you’re living room is smaller, round and oval coffee tables and side tables are a great choice, as they’re easier to walk around with no sharp corners to bump into, which is also a practical solution for homes with children. Half-round (or semi-circular) tables are the perfect option for those looking to position their side table flush against the sofa or wall.

Rondo Half Round Console


Coffee tables come in an enormous selection of materials and there can be a fine line between pretty and practical. A marble table, for instance, makes a luxurious statement, especially in formal living rooms, but keep in mind, stone can be porous. Timber offers a relaxed look and is generally easy to care for. Powder-coated metal options have a chic contemporary look, particularly in matte black.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Table – marabella

Waratah Marble Coffee Table


As a key piece of furniture in your living room, your coffee table should work in harmony with your existing style. However, this doesn’t mean it has to be strictly matchy-matchy. Rather, take note of the hues and shapes in your existing furnishings and décor to help you pick out a complementary coffee table that will fit right in. For instance, if your style is industrial chic, metallic, matte-black and marble options will marry nicely with your aesthetic. If you prefer the Hamptons or coastal look, light timbers and white marble will support the laidback vibe.

Nesting set

Twin coffee tables that vary in size (or a matching coffee table and side table) are a clever choice. Able to ‘nest’ together then be pulled apart when needed, they’re very practical as you don’t need to slide the entire coffee table over every time you sit down with a cuppa. They also offer a very stylish look suited to both classic and contemporary homes.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Table – nesting

Indali Bone Inlay Coffee Table


Visit Early Settler in-store or online to browse our full coffee table and side table collection. We also have a new range that’s available exclusively online. And learn how to choose the right rug shape with this easy guide.


You Might also Like


  1. Howard Olvera 30th November 2021

    “Choosing the right coffee table is important as you invest in the furniture pieces, and getting it right for your space will change the interior home look.

    Size, shape, material and design matters to me the most while I buy coffee tables. Thanks for sharing these tips.”

  2. Moonwit 14th February 2022

    This article has a lot of valuable information. Great work. Thank you for sharing this with us.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: