Coffee table

Practical guide to choosing

Article cover image "Coffee table"

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21 January 2021

Protagonist of the living room, the coffee table is increasingly present in the homes of lovers of design and functionality. Since the living area is the most lived-in area of the house, it is necessary to choose tables that, in addition to being balanced in the environment, are practical and can satisfy the most diverse needs. Furthermore, with the intensification of agile work, recreating a corner in the living room for the coffee break can be an excellent idea to make work more productive, thanks to the use of a relaxation area. In the latter case, it is therefore advisable to design this area as best as possible, which must also be equipped with a comfortable and practical table.
It is therefore useful to outline the aspects to consider before opting for one solution rather than another.

Below is a complete guide to juggling dimensions, styles and materials relating to this small but important piece of furniture.

The dimensions for a perfect coffee table

One of the first aspects to consider when choosing the coffee table, so that it adapts well to the environment in which it is inserted, is the space. In fact, it is good to analyze the available square footage and the dimensions of the furnishings already present in the room. It should always be kept in mind that the furniture chosen should not be an obstacle to free movement and should relate to the sofa and armchairs in the living room. In this regard, the standard height of the top corresponds to about 45 cm but may vary depending on the position of the table. If you want to place it next to the sofa, it must not exceed the height of the armrest, if instead it occupies a position in front of the seat, it must facilitate comfortable use.
be slightly lower than the same. Respect for the heights and the relationship between the various furnishings guarantees optimal use, in fact the seated user must be able to easily place a book or a cup of coffee on the surface, avoiding unnatural efforts and movements. In the same way, it is necessary to ensure the appropriate distances to comfortably arrange the legs: between the seat and the table there must be at least 60 cm.

As for the shape of the table, this too will affect the overall dimensions and the final aesthetic result. The rounded silhouette is more suitable for confined spaces and when there are children in the house, since the table without edges is safer and the measures are smaller. The geometric and more linear shapes are suitable for spaces with more generous dimensions and a modern style. The modern square-shaped coffee tables are perfect if placed between two sofas or between several front armchairs. If, on the other hand, you want to focus on originality, you can opt for extravagant models with unexpected shapes: tables similar to extra large buttons, pop art style reproductions and solutions that make use of recycled materials. In this way, the coffee table will become a real pole of attraction for the entire environment.

Large rectangular coffee table and side table made from the recovery of an old trunk
On the left: large, square coffee table – On the right: coffee table made from the recovery of an old trunk

To view the 2D coffee table click here

Materials, colors and finishes of the coffee table

As for the choice of materials, the style and characteristics of the other furnishings must be taken into consideration in order not to create unpleasant contrasts and overloaded environments. Among the most used materials are wood essences, glass, metal, plastic materials and natural stones. The advantages of wood are resistance and durability but given its solid and compact appearance, the tables made of this material are more suitable for large rooms with a classic style. For a contemporary coffee table, crystal and metal will be perfect. The first material is minimal and elegant, however it requires good maintenance and particular attention in use as it tends to scratch easily. Metals, on the other hand, last over time and are resistant but are suitable only for industrial and modern style residences. The top of the coffee table can also be made of stone but it is a choice that gives an impact aesthetic and that is cold to the touch. Finally, if you want a flexible and economical solution, the plastic table is the most suitable because thanks to its lightness it can be moved if necessary and thanks to its low costs it can be replaced after a short time.

Coffee tables with glass top and marble top
Examples of coffee tables with glass top and marble top

The choice of colors, on the other hand, will be guided by mainly aesthetic needs: depending on the desire to give particular emphasis to this piece of furniture, more or less vivid shades can be chosen. In fact, if you want to maintain homogeneity with respect to other furniture, it will be good to respect the chromatic scale, if instead you want to create a contrast and highlight the countertop, the bright tones will be more suitable. Furthermore, in the case of minimal environments, the perfect colors to choose are neutral ones such as white, beige and ecru; in rooms with an industrial flavor the dark shades of gray, black and dove gray will prevail. The style of the house will determine the choice of the design coffee table: solutions equipped with neutral wooden legs and oval support for Scandinavian environments, solid wood for rustic rooms and even vintage coffee tables for environments in perfect eclectic style.

As for the finishes, it will be possible to choose between matt, glossy, satin and lacquered surfaces. Each choice will be made according to personal taste and maintenance needs. In fact, if glossy surfaces are very popular, it is also true that they require constant cleaning, while matte finishes require attention in use as they are particularly exposed and subject to scratches.

The multifunctional coffee table

Currently on the market there are countless solutions that allow you to take advantage of the table for multiple uses. This is the case of the coffee table where the top is removable and becomes a convenient tray in which to serve coffee or what, in addition to serving as a shelf, becomes a practical container. In the latter case, these can be retractable drawers and shelves or small doors that develop horizontally and can be opened to store small objects. At the base of each choice it is necessary to evaluate what the specific needs are and understand if the multipurpose coffee table is right for you.

Multifunctional coffee tables: USB connection for charging mobile devices and storage space
Multifunctional coffee tables: USB connection for charging mobile devices and storage space
Left: Victrola table – Right: Ruby storage coffee table

Another interesting option is represented by the combined models that with a single gesture can be split or incorporated into a single coffee table. They are perfect for those who need a flexible solution but have little space. Usually these are two identical furnishings but one smaller than the other. In case you want more functionality but in compact solutions you can choose an extendable table: perfect for small rooms, it is suitable for having a coffee or an aperitif with friends. Finally, the coffee tables equipped with wheels represent a versatile and useful variant in case you want to move the furniture easily from one room to another in the house.

The extra touch for the coffee table

Once the type of table, characteristics and position have been established, it will be good to equip the coffee corner with that “extra touch” to make a difference and amaze friends and patrons of the house. One of the accessories that goes hand in hand with the coffee table is the carpet: patterned if the furniture has clean lines and neutral colors, solid color with more decorated tables, without fringes to maintain a higher level of hygiene. The style of the sofa must also be taken into consideration in order to create a set that is pleasing to the eye.

The mix of different styles must ensure overall harmony in the "sofa-coffee table-carpet" set
The mix of different styles must ensure overall harmony in the “sofa-coffee table-carpet” set
Photo:  from

Given that the coffee table, as the term suggests, fulfills the function of supporting food and drinks consumed in company and books and magazines in the reading corner, it can be used to decorate the environment and customize it. To this end, furnishings and vases adorned with flowers will be perfect, giving vitality to the spaces. In conclusion, the design coffee table is a piece of furniture that you really cannot do without, thanks to its dual technical and aesthetic functionality.

For some ideas on the living area project click here

related cad block categories

Housing - Residential types

Sofas - Living rooms - Armchairs


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