Finding the coffee table of your dreams is among the most fun parts of creating an inspiring interior. It’s an opportunity to define the decorative direction of your home, getting creative with form, scale, colour, and material. Many of our coffee tables are particularly sculptural or cast in captivating colours and rich materials. They can deliver real impact as the focal point of a space. Aside from the visual effect, though, it’s also important to think about how a coffee table will influence the way you live in your space. To help you determine how to position a coffee table, as well as what size and shape of coffee table will work best, we’ve pulled together a handy guide. Read on to make sure you’re starting on the right foot…
As a rule, coffee tables are best positioned 40-50cm from any seating. That leaves you with enough room to comfortably manoeuvre between furniture and maintain a sense of spaciousness. Critically, it also ensures that it won’t be too much of a stretch to reach out and rest your glass on the table. Where you position a coffee table in relation to seating depends on the footprint of your space. Generally, it works well to nestle a coffee table toward the junction of two seats, allowing one table to serve those seated in as many spots as possible. How this looks in practice will depend on the type of seating you’ve got at home. Let’s have a look at a few specific examples.
If you’re working with a single rectangular sofa, it works well to echo that shape in your coffee table. Opting for a rectangular coffee table will create a clean and orderly look. It will also work well from a functional perspective, keeping some surface area within reach along the width of your seating. The Siena coffee table is part of our popular Avenues collection, defined by simple, timeless forms and enduringly beautiful materials. It’s an excellent choice for this sort of traditional seating plan, with an open and airy framework that supports your choice of material on top, whether that’s an eye-catching marble or crystal-clear glass.
We can make Siena to the dimensions of your choice, so you can tailor it to fit your sitting area perfectly. We recommend keeping the coffee table to a lesser width than that of your sofa, creating a neat, contained effect. The sweet spot is greater than half but less than three quarters of your sofa’s width. When it comes to a coffee table’s depth, that tends to be a matter of personal preference and lifestyle. Consider how you’d like to use your coffee table, whether that’s mainly to display books and art objects, or to create a spread of refreshments when hosting. In those cases, you’ll likely wish to opt for a greater width, while still keeping to a rectangular shape to suit the elongated proportions of your sitting area. If you’re simply looking for a spot to rest your morning brew, you can get away with a narrower width and free up extra space around the coffee table.
A round coffee table works exceptionally well in a symmetrical scheme that features two parallel sofas, or with a single sectional. It helps to break up the shapes of the space, offering a bit of softness and visual variety. Our Memphis design is an excellent choice which scores highly on functionality. The expansive circular top sits on a base which tapers inward, giving it a small footprint compared to its usable surface area. The base is also formed of three nimble tendrils of steel to create an unobtrusive, floating effect.
A round coffee table like Memphis works well paired with a sectional as it maintains a flow of movement through the sitting area. Where a rectangular option might impede those navigating the corner, a circular table allows for comfort and ease. It also creates a more intimate atmosphere, with everyone seated convening over the same focal point. This formula works particularly well if you’ve got a relatively contemporary, angular sectional which could do with some flowing curves to temper the effect. It works best to keep the diameter within two thirds of your sofa’s width for the best visual and functional effects. When it comes to positioning, it’s best to place a round coffee table the same distance from seating at either side. It’s perfectly fine to leave your coffee table peeking out past the chaise element of your sofa, as that serves to extend the seating area outward, allowing for a sense of flow into the rest of your space. We can tailor the dimensions of the Memphis to your specifications, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out what’s possible.
A coffee table with strong visual impact works wonderfully as an anchor to a space. Our Papillon design has a striking, sculptural appearance and adds true ‘wow’ factor in a specially developed ‘Butterfly’ finish topped with dichroic glass. Pairing it with a larger corner sofa places it at the centre of the action, creating a natural gathering point that shows the statement piece off to maximum effect.
When pairing a round coffee table with a corner sofa, a good rule of thumb is to place it at the point that’s equidistant from both seats. You may wish to leave an extra bit of room, leaning toward a 50cm distance between table and seat. This will make moving through the seating area more comfortable as well as show off the table to greater effect. If your corner sofa has sections of equal length, as illustrated above, the table will be beautifully centred in the middle of the scene, creating a design-forward display while serving all those seated. If possible, keep the dimensions of your coffee table smaller than the lengths of each sofa section for the best visual effect. As with our other designs, we can tailor the Papillon’s measurements for a perfect fit.
As organically shaped, ‘wobbly’ furniture is becoming more and more popular, it’s worth considering how to treat these forms within a greater scheme. Our Lily coffee table is roughly round, though parts of the top will extend out over the base further than others. The top and base are the same shape, simply at different scales, which creates a dynamic yet pulled-together effect. Our Lily is something of a statement piece, though tends to exude a more subdued energy than our technicoloured Papillon design. This means you can get a bit more creative when working it into a scheme, deciding on positioning based more on facilitating decorative harmony and utility than creating a strong showcase.
If you’re positioning an organically shaped coffee table alongside a sofa and armchair, we’d recommend basing it at the point where it’s equidistant from both seats. This will help to centralise the action and remove the need for extra supporting tables. Measure from the outermost point of the table’s top to ensure you keep an easy flow of movement around your seats. We’d also suggest playing with the table’s orientation, carefully swivelling it around to get a feel for which sides look and work best where.
Ultimately, deciding on the coffee table for you is a matter of personal preference. Though, keeping these factors and loose rules of thumb in mind will surely help you through your deliberations. If you’d like a hand brainstorming ideas, our team is always happy to help. Get in touch to discuss which shape might work best for you and settle on the ideal bespoke dimensions for your space.
Text by Annabel Colterjohn