How to Choose a Coffee Table: Size, Shape, Height & More

Casa Chaps
by Casa Chaps

Today, I am going to talk about how to choose a coffee table for your living room. By the end of our discussion, you will learn how to choose a coffee table size, how to choose a coffee table shape, how to choose a coffee table height and width, and how to choose a coffee table material that works best in your space. Let’s jump right in.

Table of contents

Living rooms accommodate all of your needs and make you feel comfortable. I'm sure you can agree with me that the living room is pretty much the hub of the home.

One important element of the living room, that can help you achieve this feeling of comfort and coziness, is the coffee table.

While your coffee table does play a functional role in the space, it is also a decorative element in your home. So let’s consider the characteristics you should look for in the perfect coffee table.

Round coffee tables

1. Shape

Instead of just aimlessly scrolling through your favorite furniture shop, hoping that an amazing coffee table will catch your eye, consider the space where you will put it, and then choose one that will fit accordingly.

Round coffee table


A round coffee table will work best in a small living room because it will make getting around easier, since there are no corners or edges that you might bump into, and it is still very functional.

Round coffee table

A round table can also be a great option if you have a bigger room and you want to soften the space and add some interest.

Clustered coffee tables


If you are thinking that a round coffee table will not offer you as much surface area as you might need, a good solution would be to use two or three coffee tables clustered together to form one composition. This is what we call coffee table nesting.

Square coffee table


If you have an L-shaped sectional, then a square coffee table might be your best choice. That is because it will nestle in perfectly with the sofa.

Square coffee tables

If you want to have symmetrical balance in your living room, a square shape will help you achieve it since it can be evenly divided while still sticking to symmetry.

Oval coffee tables


Let's talk about the oval shape. If you have a long room and yet you still want enough surface space on the table, then an oval coffee table will work best.

To soften up the rectangular shape of the room and the sofa, while at the same time giving you ample access to the table from all angles, an oval shape is best.

Abstract-shaped coffee table


If you want the focal point and centerpiece of your living room to be the coffee table, then there's no other shape of coffee table that you should consider than abstract.

An abstract coffee table has no rules that you have to follow. It is entirely up to you and it is a great choice because you will really be able to show off your unique personal taste as well as style.

Wood and glass coffee table

If you've been on many travels, maybe you have curious objects that you could actually cluster together to form a very unique coffee table.

Odd shapes, like triangular shapes or even hexagons, can really add another dimension to the look and the feel of the room. And odd-shaped coffee tables go well with regular-sized sofas or even modular sectionals.

Tree trunk coffee table

I have seen people who have used huge African drums, tree trunks, or even sculpted stones as coffee tables and all these were very unique and different.

Balanced coffee table dimensions

2. Dimensions

Now, let's talk about the perfect dimensions of a coffee table.

Firstly, it is important for you to remember that interior design cannot be good unless it takes ergonomics into consideration. Finding the right height and width is majorly tied to how the coffee table will pair with the dimension of your sofa.

This obviously means that you cannot choose a coffee table before you have chosen your sofa.

Length of the coffee table


Generally speaking, the longer your sofa, the longer your coffee table should be. It is all about balance. You want people who are sitting on the sofa to be able to reach the coffee table easily.

Height of the coffee table


Your coffee table should be at least two thirds the length of the sofa but it should not be so long that it blocks the flow of the traffic. Do not go any lower than three inches below or one inch above your sofa seat.

Wooden coffee table

3. Material

If you want to bring in a feeling of texture and natural warmth to the room then wood is going to be your material of choice.

Dark wood coffee table

Dark wood

Darker woods such as mahogany or even teak can look great in a traditional living room.

Metal coffee table


Is your style industrial or maybe are you more concerned about the durability of your table? In that case, metal could be your answer because it offers a range of finishes, which are also design-forward and can present contrast within your space.

Ottoman as a coffee table


If you're looking for something inviting, that also creates a softer landing for active kids, then you might want to consider an upholstered coffee table.

Stone coffee table


If your style is modern and contemporary, and maybe you want something that will work in an indoor and an outdoor space, then stone could be your material of choice.

Marble coffee table

Marble really offers some beautiful natural colors, which can really set a luxurious and luminous home, perfect even for a formal living room.

Glass coffee table


If you have a small living room, then glass will help you create an open and airy feeling, without really compromising on the function of the table.

How to choose a coffee table

When you’re ready to purchase a new coffee table, learning how to choose a coffee table size, shape, and material is key. Having an understanding of what you are looking for in your living room space before you head to the store makes your decision that much easier.

What would the perfect coffee table look like in your home? Share your preferences down below.

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2 of 8 comments
  • Tres Tres on Mar 16, 2024
    We have a reclining sofa, reclining love seat and large rocker recliner. I have side tables at each piece of furniture. There is no room for a coffee table. Oh, and the large soft has a table that come down from the center seats back.
  • Janice Janice on Apr 19, 2024
    Should you put coffee table in front of L shaped sofa with 3 recliners? What shape? My space seems bare in front.