A two-phase plan for finding that perfect coffee table

At the heart of any good furniture purchase is a little infatuation – a furniture romance.

Picture this: You casually walk into your favorite furniture showroom, and colorful accessories, seeded glass table lamps and shaggy area rugs catch your eye almost immediately. All very pretty, yes, but you don’t get distracted by these baubles. You stay focused on the hunt for the perfect coffee table.

After wandering for what seems like hours, you see your table back in the far corner of the showroom. It’s perfection.

You’ve not only found a table that gives you goosebumps, but it’s a style that works with your aesthetic. The easy part is complete. Now you need to consider if it will physically fit in your furniture configuration.


A two-phase plan for finding that perfect coffee table
A picnic bench style coffee table is well-suited between two facing couches.

A coffee table should be sized in two ways: the physical dimensions and how it feels with your furniture grouping. Let’s say you have a well-sized sectional, maybe 8 feet on one length and 10 feet on the other.

You need a coffee table that’s big enough to offset the size of the sectional, without feeling like the table is competing with the sectional. And there should be plenty of leg room between the table and the sofa. A square or round table would most likely fit best.

If you have a sofa flanked with a pair of lounge chairs, perhaps a rectangular coffee table is better than round or square. But if your living space has a grouping of four extra-large lounge chairs, facing each other and centered on a fireplace, a round table feels like the perfect way to create a cozy conversational space. Or if your living room configuration consists of two extra-long sofas, facing each other, all that’s needed is a chic picnic bench style table.

Function is always a good detail to keep in mind when selecting a coffee table. Maybe the only functional aspect you need is a table top, but there are other functional features that might be worthwhile to research. Some tables come with drawers or shelves, or some tables are really chests that open from the top. If you’re looking for extra seating, consider a table that houses mini ottomans underneath. Or a series of bunching tables that can move around your seating layout when separated from their larger table configuration.

When you’re shopping for the perfect table, stay focused on your mini furniture romance. Pay attention to the physical dimensions and make sure you address any functional needs.

Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design. Contact her at jenna@j-designs.com.