Coffee table buying guide
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton13 guides
- Coffee table styles
- Shapes and materials
- Coffee table uses
- Size and height
Key criteria for finding the perfect coffee table
- style, such as contemporary, rustic or traditional;
- shape, such as round, oval, square or, most commonly, rectangular;
- material, such as wood, glass, plastic, composite materials or metal;
- technical features:
- uses, functional tabletop alone or with extra storage (built-in drawer, shelf or compartment);
- tabletop surface area;
Finding a coffee table to match your tastes and lifestyle
- traditional style: often made of wood or wood composite. Simple but effective, a traditional style coffee table looks understated but performs its function well;
- Scandinavian style: white or coloured tabletop, usually round or oval in shape and fitted with tapered legs in light-coloured wood;
- rustic style: heavy and solid, often made from either cherrywood or oak and fitted with decorative legs;
- industrial style: a combination of dark metal and wood fits a loft or warehouse-type décor;
- retro style: coloured plastic or wood, this style gives the room added character;
- designer style: typically metal formed into clean, sleek lines which often merge to create a contemporary look.
Shapes, materials and maintenance: making the right choice
hoosing a coffee table shape
When it comes to aesthetic criteria, shape is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider. There are a multitude of possibilities, ranging from the most standard square or rectangular coffee tables to more original forms:
- square or rectangular;
- round or oval;
- solid material or single surface.
Choosing the right materials for your coffee tableThe choice of materials available is equally vast:
- solid wood: heavy and solid, these coffee tables are both extremely resistant and durable;
- wood composite: melamine with laminate or lacquer coating; many finishes to choose from (such as a concrete or stone effect, various patterns, etc.); offer excellent value for money;
- plastic: while fragile and easily scratched, this lightweight material makes the coffee table easy to move around;
- glass: with wooden or metal frames, this material is delicate and must be treated with great care;
- metal: sturdy and resilient, these tables are extremely long-lasting;
- stone and reconstituted stone: solid and heavy, this material will add an extra dose of charm to your living room.
Maintenance: style vs. material requirements
The style of your coffee table goes hand in hand with the material from which it's made which, in turn, will determine how much care it requires. If you select a coffee table in glass or one with a black tabletop, you will most likely need to dust it every day. On the other hand, a white or light-toned wood coffee table won't show dust as quickly. For near dust-proof surfaces, we also recommend iron coffee tables with a rusted finish or those made of natural or reconstituted stone. Even after a week's worth of dust, they still look clean!
It's also worth remembering that coffee tables made from certain materials can be refurbished. Iron or wood coffee tables can be painted or customised, whereas paint won't stick on PVC coffee tables. This is worth thinking about if you have art-loving children!
Finding the right balance between style and function
Decorative coffee tables
Treat yourself to the model that you like best! Whether you opt for a single table or multiple tables (several small tables of different sizes and heights you can stack together), you can use your coffee table to display items such as candles or eye-catching placemats
. If you want to make your coffee table the centrepiece of your living room, select a model made of a luxurious material or one with an edgy shape or sleek design.
Coffee tables for TV dinners
Some models can be adjusted in height to create a dining surface while others can be unfolded and extended towards you so you can enjoy your favourite film without leaving the couch!
You can even opt for a coffee table with an integrated footstool that can be easily slid under the table when not in use.
Coffee tables for entertaining friends and family
A great traditional option, a lift-top coffee table with built-in storage is a great place to keep refreshments and snacks for entertaining.
The tabletop is often wide and the unit provides a deep chest.
Standard, practical coffee tables
A must-have for households that prize practicality, coffee tables with double tabletops or storage compartments are the most functional models available.
Affordable and often made of wood composite for easy maintenance, these tables can also be used to tidy away magazines. Add a drawer and you'll have a hideaway space to store a whole range of items such as pens, Sudoku books, tablets or packets of tissues. What's more, these coffee tables now offer a range of stylish options with combinations of materials that look great together.
Choosing the right size and height for your coffee table
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton 13 guides écrits
The products related to this guide
- Free delivery (postcode specific)
- Free delivery (postcode specific)