Get the perfect coffee table

Get the perfect coffee table
Coffee tables have played a central role for many conversations and meetings over the years. When Kramer from the popular American sitcom Seinfeld realised its importance, he went on to write a coffee table book on coffee tables! Coffee tables also played an important role in another popular sitcom Friends, with many of their conversations happening over the table. You see, it’s no longer an ordinary piece of furniture.

Make and design

Traditional coffee tables are rectangular and have four legs that sit two feet from above the floor. They are traditionally made of wood. While some come adorned with ornamentation at the ridges or at the legs, others have a storage drawer below. Other variations come with a second shelf to store books, newspapers, remotes and coasters. The tables can also be made of metal and irregular materials that are then moulded into different shapes and sizes. These are generally used as statement pieces. Glass, one of the common materials used, is easy to maintain and pocket-friendly, too. If you want to go niche, there are some which have an aquarium tank with a top to hold glasses and plates!

“A coffee table has a different purpose than that of a dining or study table. A study table is generally used for work purposes, whereas a dining table is used to serve food. A coffee table, on the other hand, is used just to place things over. This is probably the reason why its design can be slightly more detailed and intricate than the former two,” explains Parul Amla, interior designer, Antrik Design Studio, New Delhi.

Place your coffee table either in front of your sofa or towards the side. If placed on the side, it is more commonly known as an end table and is slightly smaller than the coffee table, which is usually in the centre of the living room.

The right one

Picking out your perfect coffee table is a herculean task; should you go with wood, glass or a metallic finish? Or will a square, round or rectangular shape suit your room? With the suggestions given below, you can get your perfect table that will enhance and add detail to your room.


Before splurging on a single coffee table, make sure you set a budget. If you are considering renovating the whole area, ensure you have set the budget and leave some buffer as well. Allocate most of your budget to the larger furniture pieces. 


The ideal shape for your table depends on the layout of your room. A round table cuts the room’s space by a third and is a safer option than its sharp-edged square and rectangular counterpart. 


The table’s size is determined by the sofa’s height. The standard size for the table is 16 to 18 inches from the floor, while taller sofas may require a taller table, typically 20 to 21 inches from the floor. The thumb rule to be maintained is that the table should rest not more than one-two inches from the seat of your sofa.

Ensure you know what purpose your coffee table will serve. Is it more of a decorative piece or would you also be looking for additional storage space like drawers or shelves? Irrespective of that, your table should be able to hold a few glasses and plates easily without the risk of it tipping over. If it is being used as a decorative piece, you can pick a fabric or texture that you can resonate with.


Coffee tables can be made of wood, glass or metal. Glass combined with brass or steel appears more sophisticated, whereas wood is a classic and has its own charm. Oakwood and maple can bring a sense of casualness, whereas cherry and walnut is slightly more upscale and formal.


There are various styles that one can pick from - traditional and contemporary to vintage and romantic-styled tables. Metal mostly brings out a contemporary feel, while wood is more country. Blend the style of the table with the room’s decor scheme.


All the furniture in your room must be to scale. This means that the size and dimensions of your objects must be visually equated against each other. For example, buy a sofa that will complement the size of your coffee table and vice versa.


You may not always find your perfect coffee table through conventional means; simple experimentation can help you arrive at a decision quickly. Why not use old steamer trunks, wooden treasure chests or ottomans as an alternative? Each of these bring in that element of curiosity and can electrify the dimensions of your abode. You can pick ottomans in stark colours and fabrics to light up a dim home.

Nesting tables

Just in case you don’t find something that suits your fancy, you can always go in for a collection of tables, otherwise known as nesting tables. You can play around with their placement - placing them on each other’s sides or in front or in the shape of a triangle. 


Now that you’ve finally decided on the style, material, size and the like, it’s time to go shopping. Explore vintage and thrift shops, flea markets and online stores to secure a steal deal. You will find the designs that suit your aesthetics and budget!
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