How to Pick the Perfect Coffee Table for Your Home

The coffee table – it's the heart of the living room, the stage for coffee catch-ups, board game battles, and movie marathons. But with so many styles, materials, and sizes to choose from, finding the perfect coffee table can get confusing. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to select the ideal coffee table for your space and lifestyle.

Where did Coffee Tables come from?

The origins of the coffee table are a bit hazy! While there were low tables used throughout history, the specific "coffee table" we know today emerged in the late 19th century, possibly in Britain. Early versions were taller and designed for tea, but as furniture styles evolved and living rooms became more casual, coffee tables shrunk and took their place as the perfect place to rest a cup (of coffee or tea!) and other living room essentials.

Matching Your Coffee Table to Your Decor

Before diving into specific features, consider your living room's overall aesthetic. Here's how to create a cohesive look:

  • Modern Minimalism: Sleek lines, clean finishes, and glass or metal materials are your best bets. Opt for geometric shapes like squares or rectangles.
  • Rustic Charm: Embrace natural elements with a wooden coffee table featuring warm tones and a distressed finish. Consider incorporating organic shapes like round or oval tables.
  • Mid-Century Modern: Channel the Mad Men era with a walnut or teak coffee table featuring tapered legs and a retro vibe.
  • Scandinavian Simplicity: Light woods, clean lines, and a focus on functionality define Scandinavian style. Look for tables with storage compartments or nesting features.
  • Bohemian Bliss: Let your creativity flow! Experiment with unique materials like woven rattan or reclaimed wood. Round or organic shapes add to the laid-back feel.

Functionality Matters

A coffee table isn't just about aesthetics; it must be functional and cater to your daily living habits. Here are some key factors to consider when making your selection:

  • Size: This might be the most crucial aspect. Measure the length and width of your sofa and aim for a coffee table that's roughly 2/3 the width of your sofa and 18-20 inches lower than the seat height. This ensures easy conversation flow, comfortable reach for snacks and drinks, and avoids blocking the view of the television (if applicable).
  • Shape: Round tables create a more open feel, while rectangular tables offer more surface space. Consider the traffic flow in your living room. If you have high-traffic areas, round tables prevent sharp corners and allow smoother navigation.
  • Material: Wood offers warmth and classic appeal, while glass provides a sleek, modern look. Stone adds a touch of luxury but might be heavy and easily chipped. Metal is durable and versatile but can feel cold to the touch. Choose the material that best compliments your decor, lifestyle, and budget. Wood offers endless options, from rustic reclaimed wood to sleek lacquered finishes.
  • Storage: Coffee tables with drawers, shelves, or hidden compartments offer valuable storage space for magazines, books, blankets, or even board games. Ottomans with built-in storage provide a space-saving solution for throw pillows and extra blankets.
  • Lifestyle: Do you entertain often? A large coffee table with a smooth surface is ideal for displaying appetisers and drinks. Do you have young children? Avoid glass tables or sharp corners. Opt for rounded edges or a more durable material like wood or laminate

Coffee Table Features for Extra Flair

Once you've nailed down the fundamentals, explore some unique features:

  • Lift-top tables: Create a hidden workspace or reveal storage compartments.
  • Nesting tables: Offer flexibility and can be adjusted based on your needs.
  • Coffee tables with wheels: Allow for easy repositioning in your living room.
  • Built-in ottomans: Provide additional seating and storage.

Glass tables with built-in lighting: Add a touch of modern elegance.

Pro Tips for Coffee Table Perfection

  • Accessorise strategically: Personalise your space with coasters, decorative trays, and stylish coffee table books.
  • Don't overcrowd: Leave enough space for comfortable conversation and easy movement.
  • Consider layering: Place a rug underneath your coffee table to define the living area. 
  • Think outside the box: If you can't find the perfect coffee table, consider using vintage finds or repurposing furniture pieces.
  • Trust your instincts: Ultimately, the coffee table you choose should reflect your style and create a welcoming atmosphere in your home.

Pro Tips for Coffee Table Perfection

Now that you're armed with the knowledge to choose the perfect coffee table, here are some additional tips to improve your living space:

  • Accessorise strategically: Don't leave your coffee table looking bare! Use coasters, decorative trays, stylish coffee table books, or a beautiful vase with fresh flowers to personalise your space and add a touch of visual interest.
  • Don't overcrowd: While accessorising is encouraged, leave enough space on your coffee table for comfortable conversation and easy movement. A cluttered coffee table can feel visually overwhelming and impede functionality. 
  • Consider layering: Placing a rug underneath your coffee table can define the living area and create a sense of visual separation. Choose a rug size proportionate to your coffee table and living room space.
  • Think outside the box: If you can't find the perfect coffee table in stores, consider using vintage finds or repurposing furniture pieces. An old trunk can be transformed into a unique and conversation-starting coffee table, or you could combine two or three nesting stools to create your custom table.
  • Trust your instincts: Ultimately, the coffee table you choose should reflect your style and create a welcoming atmosphere in your home. Don't be afraid to experiment and choose a piece that speaks to you.

Hudson Furniture’s take on Coffee Tables – One for every taste and style 

  • Tyrone Coffee Table
  • This show-stopping centrepiece (45h x 120w x 80d cm) is fully customisable to match your unique vibe. Every colour and style imaginable is on the table (literally).

    Plus, you can add your personal touch! Dream of hidden storage shelves or funky geometric legs? Tell us your vision and our furniture artisans will craft the perfect coffee table for your living room kingdom.

  • Chateau Coffee Table
  • This beauty comes in 3 stunning options:

    • Mixed weathered oak top with a crisp white base: A touch of modern farmhouse charm.
    • All weathered oak: Classic warmth for a timeless look.
    • All white: Clean and airy, perfect for a bright living space.

    Details at a Glance:

    • Width: 127cm
    • Depth: 40cm
    • Height: 80cm
  • Glass Top & Shelf Coffee Table
  • This sleek coffee table (50cm H x 140cm W x 50cm D) boasts a spacious glass top that showcases your favourite décor while keeping things light and airy. But it doesn't stop there!  The built-in shelf adds hidden storage for clutter-free living.

    Want a pop of colour or a classic wood finish? We can craft your dream table in any finish imaginable! Plus, the customisation option means you can add unique elements to make it yours.

  •  Campaign Coffee Table With Legs
  • This table is not just beautiful but also surprisingly versatile. Available in various finishes (check out our Finishes section!), you can find the perfect match.

    The Final Sip– Conclusion

    Finding the perfect coffee table is an exciting journey! It's the missing piece that can truly transform your living room into a haven of comfort, style, and functionality. There's no single "right" answer. The best coffee table is the one that speaks to you, complements your existing decor, and caters to your lifestyle.

    So, take a deep breath, unleash your creativity, and embark on your coffee table quest! With the knowledge you've gained from this guide, you're well-equipped to find the perfect piece that will anchor your living room and create a space for countless happy memories. Visit Hudson Furniture for more inspiration. 

    Happy coffee table hunting!


    1. Help! My living room is tiny. Can I still have a coffee table?

    Absolutely! For small spaces, opt for a coffee table with a glass top or open base. These create a feeling of airiness and won't visually shrink your room. Consider round or oval shapes to soften the layout and improve traffic flow.


    1. I have a toddler. Is there a coffee table that survives toys and juice spills?

    Yes, durability is key! Solid wood tables can take a beating, while laminate or tempered glass offer easy clean-up. Ottomans with built-in storage can hide away toys, and rounded edges minimise bumps and bruises.

    1. My style is constantly evolving. How do I choose a coffee table I won't get tired of?

    Classic and neutral finishes like wood or black metal offer timeless appeal. Focus on clean lines and simple designs that can adapt to various decor styles. Accessorise with seasonal items or pops of colour for a constantly evolving look.

    1. I love unique furniture!  How can I personalise my coffee table?

    Customization is your friend! Many companies offer coffee tables with a variety of leg styles, top finishes, or even built-in features. Consider adding a personal touch like a hand-painted design or a one-of-a-kind mosaic tile top.

    1. Should my coffee table match my sofa exactly?

    Not necessarily!  Balance is key. A chunky coffee table looks great with a substantial sofa, while a sleek glass table complements a delicate loveseat. Aim for a height that allows for easy conversation and functionality for you and your guests.