How to Select the Perfect Coffee Table and Tabletop Decor for Your Lifestyle

Your coffee table (along with your sofa) creates a focal point in your living room or family room—making them the heart of your gathering space. So, it’s worthwhile to consider how your coffee table is styled. As a focal point, your coffee table and its decor help set the style and functionality tone of the room.

Need help creating your coffee table arrangement? Read on for some of our customers’ most frequently asked questions about coffee table decor, plus tips on styling a coffee table based on your lifestyle and needs.

Is coffee table decor necessary?

Technically? No, it’s not. The decor on coffee tables is kind of like throw pillows on a sofa: not 100% necessary but an easy way to add personality. Sure, you can have a sofa without throw pillows—but it might look a little bare or boring. But with throw pillows, you get extra comfort and style. The same goes for coffee table decor. Yes, of course, you can skip it and go for a bare tabletop. But your living room or family room will look a whole lot better with even a little bit of coffee table decor.

Just remember this: if you’d like to enhance your space by adding decor to your coffee table, you’ll want to ensure that both the coffee table and the way it’s styled complement your personal design style and work for your lifestyle needs. It’s this mix that will really create a harmonious design. (More on that below.)

How do I choose the right coffee table and decor?

With so many options out there, for both coffee table styles and tabletop decor, it can be hard to find items that meet your style and functional needs while also creating the right coffee table and table decor combination for your space!

With so many options out there it can be hard to find a coffee table and tabletop decor combination that go together and work for you on a functional level.

Of course, you’ll want to start with finding the right coffee table. A great way to narrow down your options is by aligning your coffee table with your design style. Not sure what style you like? Take our free style quiz. From there, you can check out our guide on how to pick a coffee table shape to go with your sofa and our guide to coffee table materials. And if you want some specific ideas, here are some of our favorite modern coffee tables and the best kid-friendly coffee table styles.

Once you have your coffee table, you’re ready to start styling it with the right decor. How you approach coffee table decor should come down to your personal style and how you use your coffee table day to day.

Not sure how to get started? Read on for a guide on how to style your coffee table based on your specific lifestyle needs and preferences—plus some great coffee table decor ideas.

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The Comfort Connoisseur

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Do you love your creature comforts and keeping your living room full of coziness? Keep comforting objects nearby by styling your coffee table with a mix of candles, books, and beloved decor.


  • Consider a wood table, which adds visual warmth to your space—enhancing your desire for cozy comfort
  • Add a decorative tray to corral your smaller items, like candles and coasters
  • Stack a few beautiful coffee table books; choose books with covers that match the color scheme of your space
  • Swap out candles and books to coordinate with the seasons or your evolving style
  • Add a vase of flowers, fresh greenery, or other natural elements for an instant mood-boost


  • Layer too many candles and books so that your coffee table starts to look cluttered
  • Leave burned out candles on the coffee table
  • Stack things too high, which can create an unbalanced appearance

The Rugrat Wrangler

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If you have young kids you already know that a perfectly curated tabletop of delicate decor is not in the cards for you. It’s simply not worth it to constantly worry about little hands grabbing and breaking something you love. But don’t worry—that doesn’t mean your coffee table has to sit bare! You can still use it as a way to add some personality to your living room.


  • Choose a round coffee table or perhaps a soft leather ottoman, rather than a coffee table with sharp corners
  • Pick out light-weight objects that won’t hurt little toes if they fall or are dropped
  • Add decor that is durable and can handle being, well, handled
  • Keep your styling simple and uncomplicated


  • Choose a glass coffee table or even a glass-topped coffee table, which are too fragile for homes with children
  • Include breakable items, tippable decor, or fragile vases
  • Clutter the coffee table with unnecessary decorative objects

The Utilitarian

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If you live by the motto “a place for everything and everything in its place,” then this is the coffee table decor approach for you. No need for unnecessary or non-functional decor. Instead, keep things practical, minimal, and clean.


  • Embrace minimalist styling, including just a few items you really love or need
  • Consider function over aesthetic; include useful objects and skip the rest
  • Keep things orderly by corralling all your objects in a tray


  • Pick large, bulky items that take up the whole coffee table
  • Include intricate items or things that need to be maintained (like live plants)
  • Add decor that isn’t functional

The Pet Parent

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Beware of wagging tails and curious cats. If you have pets, you already know that your furry friends can pose a threat to tabletop decor. But, like children, having pets doesn’t mean you have to forgo a beautifully styled coffee table. You simply need to be more conscious of the objects you include.


  • Add decor that’s low and heavier, which makes it more difficult for a wagging tail to knock over
  • Use durable items that are easy to clean if your pets tend to jump on the coffee table
  • Opt for flameless candles to keep your dear pets safe from singed fur
  • Choose a chew-proof material, such as metal, for the legs of your coffee table.


  • Choose objects that are easy to knock over, like tall vases, which seem to be a magnet to cats
  • Use live houseplants if your pet likes to eat them because some plants are harmful to pets when ingested

The Maximizer

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If you’re someone who likes to make use of every square inch of your space, this one’s for you. By prioritizing functionality and organizational solutions in your living room, you can get maximum practicality out of your coffee table while still giving it some style.


  • Pick a coffee table with built-in storage space to keep some items out of sight
  • Use boxes, decorative bins, baskets, and trays to keep things organized
  • Make use of lower shelves to house blankets and additional storage boxes or trays


  • Use only open or only closed storage; a mix of both helps balance the look
  • Add too much decor within the storage elements (like a tray), which will cause your tabletop to look cluttered
  • Use a coffee table that doesn’t provide built-in storage space, since this will limit the amount of storage and organization you can achieve

The Multi-Tasker

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Are you the type of person who loves a well-styled coffee table but also regularly clears it off for game nights, casual dinners, puzzles, and more? Just know that there’s a way to embrace all the beauty of a styled tabletop while also honoring the shifting functional needs in your living room.


  • Include a mix of coffee table books, decorative objects, natural elements, candles, and vases for a unique and beautiful coffee table
  • Have all your decor fit onto a tray (or two!), which can easily be moved off the coffee table when you need a clear tabletop
  • Keep your arrangement light and easy to move


  • Add too many small, individual items, which will take too long to remove when you’re switching functions
  • Skip the trays—they are essential for this approach
  • Forego decor; a mixed-use and functional coffee table can still include decor, as long as it’s mixed in with functional items

The Entertainer

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Love hosting people? Then you’ll want your coffee table style to be on-point for when guests visit. However, a functional coffee table surface is also of the utmost importance, offering a surface for food and drinks. (Perhaps even a self-serve drink station!) For coffee table decor that looks good and works hard, look no further.


  • Do add a tray with glassware, coasters, and perhaps even a pitcher of water or a batch cocktail
  • Layer on fun objects that will catch people’s attention—like cards games or interesting coffee table books
  • Include a decorative box that can hide your practical essentials, like TV remotes, game controllers, and power cords


  • Totally ignore decorative items; mix decor in with your entertainment items for a layered, thoughtful design
  • Include anything too fragile (there’s nothing worse than being the friend who accidentally breaks something at a party!)

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Brew Up Some Style With These 8 Coffee Nook Design Ideas

Is there anything better than that first sip of coffee in the morning? Enjoying your morning coffee in peace is one of life’s little pleasures. But we have discovered one thing that makes the experience even better—enjoying your morning coffee in an at-home coffee nook!

Think of a coffee nook as the caffeinated version of a bar cart nook. It’s a place where you can make your favorite brew, store your most-loved mugs and coffee accessories, and kick back and enjoy your steaming cup of joe.

We especially love the idea of creating a dedicated coffee nook for those who work from home. It’s like bringing the coffee shop home to you, without having to leave the house in the middle of the day!

coffee Nook

What are the coffee nook essentials?

The ideal cozy coffee nook has a few essentials that will bring this space to life. Start by finding a surface to store all of your coffee nook essentials. This could be a side table, a rolling kitchen or bar cart, a console table or cabinet, a built-in bar—the options are endless! Just choose the surface that works best for you and your home. From there, fill it up with these essentials:

Your Coffee Maker of Choice: How do you take your coffee? Do you like the ease of a drip machine? The flavor profile a pour-over or Chemex offer? The customization of an espresso machine? The portability of a French press? However you like to prepare your coffee, pick your favorite brewing method (or two!) and load those coffee makers onto your coffee bar.

Brewing Accessories: Whether it’s an electric kettle, milk frother, or coffee grinder, keep any other essential brewing equipment and accessories in the same area, so that everything you need is close at hand. (And don’t forget those fresh coffee beans!)

Mugs: Once you make your coffee, you have to have something to drink out of! Pull together a small collection of your favorite mugs, espresso cups, or teacups and saucers so you always have a clean vessel at the ready.

The Fixin’s: What else do you need to complete your coffee nook set-up? Only you know—but some of our top essentials are coffee spoons, cream and sugar, napkins, and maybe even an ice bucket if you enjoy cold-brew! You can also add decorations (coffee-themed or not) to help style your coffee bar.

A Place to Sit and Enjoy Your Coffee: Don’t just use your coffee nook to prepare your coffee—carve out some space to enjoy it as well! Pull an accent chair, stool, or spare dining chair into your coffee nook to give you a place to kick back and enjoy your morning brew.

How to Create an At-Home Coffee Nook

Ok, so you have all of your equipment and accessories gathered. Now you need to set it up! But where do you set it up? To help you brainstorm some ideas, we rounded up our 8 favorite coffee nook design ideas to inspire your own at-home coffee nook. Scroll down for some of our favorite ideas, plus some tips on how to create them!

coffee Nook

1. Kitchen or Dining Area Console

Looking for some dining room design ideas? If you have a bit of extra space in your dining area, you can set up a coffee bar on a console or buffet. You can use the top of the cabinet for your coffee maker, mugs, and a canister for your fresh coffee beans. Then, use the drawers and doors of the console for your extra mugs and supplies to keep the surface clutter-free. (Or, like the piece of furniture above, stash your supplies in the wooden crates!) Really, any type of console, buffet, or credenza that offers surface area and a bit of hidden storage will do!

This is perfect for… an eat-in kitchen or another casual dining area. Or even a breakfast nook! Rather than have a separate seating area for your coffee nook, with this approach you can use your dining table or eat-up counter as the seating area. Just be sure to keep your tabletop or counter clutter-free so it’s a truly relaxing zone!

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coffee Nook

2. Wall Nook

A wall nook or open closet inlet is the perfect place to add a cozy coffee nook. How do you make it work? Install some floating shelves (and perhaps even a floating countertop). The upper shelves can be used for storage of mugs, decor, baskets for coffee, and any other necessities. Meanwhile, the bottom shelf can hold your coffee maker and act as a bar table where you can sit and drink coffee. You could even have a friend over and use it as a place to chat! Pull some bar stools up to the lower shelf—and opt for a backless style if you want the flexibility to tuck them under the counter when not in use.

This is perfect for… a home that has an unused wall nook or a closet that can be transformed into a coffee nook.

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coffee Nook

3. A Bistro Table in Your Living Room

Have a bit of extra space in your living room? Add a bistro table and two chairs to create a cafe-inspired seating area where you can drink your coffee. A bistro table doesn’t offer the surface space for a whole coffee bar set-up, so this is a better approach if you want to make your coffee in the kitchen then bring a French press over to your coffee nook to sip and enjoy.

This is perfect for… large and open living rooms that have a bit of space to spare! This is also a great approach for large main bedroom suites.

Designer Tip: Opt for comfortable upholstered dining chairs to pair with your bistro table so you can sit there longer!

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coffee Nook

4. At-Home Library Setting

Create a library-inspired coffee nook by arranging a comfy chair, bookcases, and side table in a cozy corner of your home. Opt for lower bookcases rather than tall ones so that you can use the top shelf as a counter for your coffee supplies and as a prep station. Once your coffee is ready, head to the chair, curl up with a good book and use the side table as a surface to set your mug.

This is perfect for… a reading nook, at-home library, living room, or home office. Basically, any corner of your home that feels extra cozy!

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coffee Nook

5. Hallway Console

A simple console in a hallway or pass-through space in between rooms is a great place to add a casual coffee spot. You could gather your coffee supplies on a tray (a French press and single mug are perfect for this approach) or create a more permanent set-up with an electric coffee maker, grinder, and more.

This is perfect for… wide hallways or pass-throughs that don’t serve another purpose.

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coffee Nook

6. Fireside Seating Area With a Coffee Tray

Placing a seating area in front of a fireplace is a cozy place to be no matter what. But adding a coffee tray between two accent chairs offers the perfect place to converse and drink coffee with a partner or friend! This is another set-up that’s more geared toward making coffee and bringing it into this area—giving this coffee nook a more formal “tea time” touch. (But, depending on how you style it, it can feel less formal.) Bonus points if the tray on your table is removable, so you can carry the tray between the kitchen and your cozy coffee nook, loaded with supplies!

This is perfect for… a formal living room or a bedroom with a fireplace, where you can create a seating area that’s separate from the main seating area in the room.

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coffee Nook

7. Home Office Coffee Station

A home office is a great place to add a coffee nook. Who doesn’t need a space to refuel during the workday without having to go far? A console or storage cabinet in your home office is a great place to add an espresso machine and milk frother, along with canisters for sugar, cream, and coffee beans. Just make sure your coffee station is arranged on a piece of furniture that has hidden storage to keep coffee bags and accessories out of eyesight. No one wants to stare at a messy workstation during a Zoom meeting!

This is perfect for… People who work from home full-time and enjoy having an afternoon latte without leaving the house.

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8. Collaborative “Coffee Shop”

Want to create some true coffee shop vibes? Dedicate a whole room to your coffee nook! Set up a communal table to sit around and drink coffee while you work and collaborate. Place the table in the center of the room, then set up your coffee station right there in the room on a cabinet or other surface. If you have enough space, you could even have multiple coffee options—like an espresso machine, pour-over, and French press, all in one place.

This is perfect for… those who have an entire room to dedicate to a coffee space—like a shared home office or homeschool area.

Fun Fact: This design was inspired by a real customer, Nicole! Read her story about creating an at-home coffee shop with Modsy.

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Buying Guide: 7 Tips for Choosing A Kid Friendly Coffee Table

Your home’s living room is usually one of the biggest and most stylish rooms in the house. It’s where you can display some of your most beloved decor and furniture items and also the area you spend the most time in—especially if you have little ones! Designing a home is already difficult, and designing with kids in the picture adds even more to the mix! If your living room design needs to accommodate kids or babies, it’s important to have kid-friendly coffee tables to avoid the danger of sharp corners in the home.

The good news is that kid friendly living rooms don’t have to skimp on style! Read on for some of our best tips for finding a kid and baby safe coffee table for your living room.

baby safe coffee table1. Choose Safe Shapes

Coffee tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main thing to look for in kid-friendly coffee tables is sharp edges, which keep your kids safe from painful bumps and bruises. Round shapes skip these sharp corners and pose less of a threat to little ones. This wooden coffee table and soft, rattan poufs also have rounded edges so kids can navigate the room without any trouble. We also love the texture and patterns they create in the room!

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baby safe coffee table2. Opt for Soft and Stylish

In addition to steering away from sharp corners, it’s also helpful to stick to plush options when choosing a kid-friendly coffee table. Choosing an ottoman or poof made from soft materials is an easy alternative to traditional coffee tables and can also be used as extra seating. Many options also have hidden interior storage—a double whammy!

Pro Tip: Put a tray on top of a plush coffee table to get the function of a solid top on your coffee table. This also makes it easy to pick up all your items and move the table for more play space on the floor.

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3. Look for Smudge-Free Style

Glass coffee tables are a popular choice for living rooms because they can make a room appear bigger and blend in with many styles. But if you need a baby safe coffee table, steer clear of certain coffee table materials like glass—it can present a definite safety hazard. Glass can also be hard to clean up and we all know sticky fingers smudge easily. Try to look for materials that clean up easily, like this stylish leather table or a leather ottoman. These pieces fit perfectly into rustic style living rooms.

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4. Go Natural

If you like more organic looks, there are plenty of kid-friendly coffee tables made from natural materials with a softer feel. Again, skip high-maintenance tables that require frequent cleaning and heavy, hard tables like stone in favor of natural materials. This woven seagrass table is soft with rounded edges for extra safety, which is extra great if your living room doubles as a playroom, like this one.

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5. Seek Out Low-Maintenance Looks

Choosing low-maintenance materials means that you don’t have to worry about a little wear and tear on furniture. Look for materials that don’t require constant maintenance or that can stand up to kid’s play. Weathered woods with a patina are a great choice and won’t show scratches/scuffs. If you go upholstered, stick with performance fabrics that are stain-resistant and easy to clean. Slip-covered options that are machine washable are also a great choice.

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6. Sneak in Savvy Storage

Most kid-friendly homes tend to have lots of toys floating about! This can easily lead to a crowded, messy look and nobody wants that in their daily living space. Furniture items with plenty of interior storage make for an easy place to stash kid clutter. It helps you to clean up quickly by tucking toys, games, and books into interior storage in between playtimes.

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baby safe coffee table7. Skip It Altogether

There is no rule that says you 100% need a coffee table in your living room! If it’s not important to you or your overall design, it’s totally okay to skip it altogether! A big, woven living room rug like one also helps open up space for more play at home. You can also try a coffee table alternative, like these wooden building blocks or a funky leather ottoman. Check out these stylish coffee table alternatives for more ideas!

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Design Basics: The Essential Guide to Coffee Table Materials

A sofa (or a sectional) is probably the most important piece of furniture in your living room—but a coffee table is a close second. Not only do they add a layer of practicality to your living room, but often this piece of furniture is a way to drive home the style of your space. So, when it comes to choosing the perfect coffee table for your living room, start with figuring out the best shape and size for your sofa and overall room. (Check out our guide to coffee table shapes and sizes for everything you need to know about that!)

Once you have a coffee table shape picked out, you’ll want to think about materials. In general, the material you choose is tied pretty heavily to your interior design style. (Not sure of your style? Take our free style quiz!) If you find yourself drawn to a certain interior design style, there are some materials that will fall into your style and others that won’t. Keep reading for a break-down on the predominant materials for coffee tables and what styles go with them!

Coffee table materialsWood Coffee Tables

Wood is the most common material for coffee tables (along with stone). As such, it fits into most styles—though different finishes will cause it to lean in different style directions, making it the material with the most diversity in it.

Wondering what finishes go best with what styles? Lighter finishes will have a more Scandinavian and modern vibe, with a lighter and airier feel. Teak or acorn finishes are very mid-century. Meanwhile, dark wood finishes will have a more classic, rustic, or industrial vibe. Weathered woods will also fit well in a rustic, coastal, or industrial space. A red-tinted finish will be in the American traditional camp, along with some classic looks. And then there are the ornamental woods, like a burl wood, will have a contemporary or glam vibe, with their nature-sculpted quality. These pieces are statements in and of themselves, a great example of material being used as ornamentation.

Different shapes will also help drive home the style of a particular wooden coffee table. A round drum coffee table will have a different style and vibe than a rectangular coffee table with tapered legs, even if they have the same finish. But, regardless of the finish and shape, a wood coffee table adds a natural and organic element to the space. Just remember to use coasters! And know that some woods require special polishes and cleaners—so be mindful of that when cleaning and maintaining your coffee table.

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Coffee table materialsGlass Coffee Tables

Glass coffee tables are perfect styles for those with a glam, minimal, or transitional and contemporary aesthetic. Often, glass tables will have metal frames and legs—and the color and finish of the metal will help drive home the overall style.

We love how easy a glass coffee table is to clean and maintain. However, you will still want to use coasters, and you won’t want to burn a candle straight on the glass. In fact, if you’re worried about scuffs, scratches, or other damage, you may want to layer a cloth or mat down to protect the glass. This isn’t a good material for a high-traffic space, and it’s definitely not kid-friendly.

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Coffee table materialsAcrylic + Lucite Coffee Tables

Looking for the best modern coffee tables out there? Go for an acrylic or lucite coffee table. They’re also perfect for glam and minimalist spaces. Many acrylic or lucite coffee tables come in an arc shape, which adds a bit of a statement in your living room, even though it’s a translucent material; this makes the shape itself the decoration. And, if they’re not entirely acrylic or lucite, they’re often paired with some sort of metal, like brass or gold legs—which really plays into a glam aesthetic.

This is a very low-maintenance and easy-to-clean material. This is a great material for small spaces; since they’re translucent, they don’t add visual weight or clutter to your space.

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Coffee table materialsMetal Coffee Tables

Many metal coffee tables sit within the industrial or transitional camp, especially if the metal is silver or pewter. Though, if it’s a gold or brass finish, it probably falls more in the modern or glam world. It’s rare that you’ll see an all-metal coffee table though—usually metal is paired with wood or glass elements, which will also influence what interior design style it most closely aligns with.

Metal is a strong material that’s fairly easy to clean. However, with its proclivity toward rusting, you’ll definitely want to make sure you use coasters! And you’ll want to make sure to dust often, as metals will show even the finest elements of dust. (In fact, the same goes for glass and acrylic coffee tables.)

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Coffee table materialsStone Coffee Tables

There are many different stone materials that can be used in a coffee table—though marble is by far the most common. Marble is really beautiful and can pair with almost all interior design styles, though you’ll most commonly see it in a glam, minimal, or modern space. We love how, with any style, it adds an organic modern touch to your living room. Some marbles are very subtle, with minimal veining, while others are actually more dominantly black with white veining (perfect for a maximalist space). Marble is similar to burl wood in that the material is the ornamentation and statement, in and of itself.

Marble is a very fussy and high-maintenance material though. While many marble coffee tables have finishes that protect the stone from water, scratches, and stains, not all do. (Make sure you read the product description so that you clean and treat the surface appropriately.) On the bright side, many stains fade over time with marble—they’ll sink deeper into the stone over time, and eventually fade or disappear completely. However, you definitely want to avoid a marble coffee table coming in contact with citrus or acid, as these will eat away at the marble or the finish.

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Coffee table materialsNatural Material Coffee Tables

And, of course, there are natural materials, like rattan and seagrass, which add a nice pop of texture to your living room. Depending on the shape and finish, coffee tables in natural materials can go in a boho, eclectic, or coastal space—or even some rustic contemporary or modern homes! They’re great kid-friendly coffee tables, since they typically don’t have hard edges and natural materials are pretty forgiving around kids!

Maintenance is pretty simple with a natural material coffee table—just wipe any spills down with a damp cloth, and use coasters and even trays to help keep it looking its best! With woven materials, dust could easily collect in nooks and crannies, so be sure to dust frequently!

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Start Styling!

Once you’ve landed on the right shape, style, and material for your living room design, you get the joy of styling your coffee table, which adds additional personality to your space. Some people prefer a very minimal and clean tabletop, while others love a highly styled look. Check out our coffee table styling ideas for some inspiration!

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13 Ways to Style Your Coffee Table

The coffee table is the centerpiece of your living room, so invest in one that suits your style and space. Keeping in mind some common coffee table dos and don’ts, you also want to make sure it’s functional for your daily lifestyle. If you have little kids, a storage table that corrals clutter can be a lifesaver, or if you love to entertain, a tiered table with an extra shelf can be a great choice.

Beyond function, though, a stylishly arranged coffee table can help set the tone in your space. It can be as simple as a few stacks of books topped with objects or one that’s organized with trays of objects. No matter your coffee table styling approach, it should feel personal and be visually appealing to you.

To inspire you, here’s a roundup of coffee table ideas with our best tips for styling it into an eye-catching visual display.

Coffee table ideasPretty & Practical

A simple arrangement of elegant everyday items can go a long way as decorative finishing touches on your coffee table. Curate accents and objects that tie back to the color scheme of your room. This grouping of coffee table books, a feather tray, and a lantern candle holder make for a minimalist display that reiterates the room’s calming, neutral vibe.

Styling Tip: Your room’s palette is a great jumping-off point if you’re not sure where to start with your coffee table decor. This approach guarantees your final display will blend seamlessly with the other pieces in your space.

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Coffee table ideasEclectic Mix

A good mantra for coffee table styling is to stick to the rule of three—three different kinds of objects in varying heights and shapes. Here, a decorative wood box is mixed with a tall planter that adds texture, color, and height along with a stack of vintage-style books. There’s not shortage of intrigue and balance here.

Styling Tip: An eclectic coffee table works best with an eclectic mix of objects. The wooden trunk table here offers both storage space and an unexpected look. If your style leans more quirky, consider coffee table alternatives that have the same edgy look as the items you plan to put on top of it.

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Coffee table ideasSimple & Understated

When it comes to cool and functional living room design ideas, you can’t go wrong with a pair of matching coffee tables—or bunching tables pushed together! With a pair of coffee tables, you already have a visually bold setup, so keep the surfaces simple. A book and a small cactus does the trick here, adding a pop of color and texture.

Styling Tip: If you go with a pair of tables or one that has a bold sculptural design, they’re already ornamental in and of themselves, so keep the surface minimally decorated. Think a small tray, a tiny plant or a scaled-down vase.

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Coffee table ideasTransitional Minimalist

Speaking of minimal styling in the living room, a simple wood coffee table design is the best surface for styling up or down as you like. You can layer statement decor on top or keep it tightly curated with just a few accents, like one or two gorgeous vases to compliment your room decor, like the blue-and-white combo here.

Styling Tip: Sometimes it’s all about aesthetics with your coffee table display. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it ties back to the overall look of the rest of your room. This is perfect for those of you who don’t use your coffee table every day.

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Coffee table ideasFamily-Friendly & Functional

Coffee tables with built-in functionalities, like a hidden drawer or a tray top, are perfect multitaskers for family homes in our book. They’re made for corralling objects and styled up displays that bring focus to smaller decorative items, such as plants, candles, small trays, books, and even decorative boxes. Don’t dismiss these tables!

Styling Tip: Round tables are perfect for homes with little kids since they don’t have sharp corners. They’re also perfect for books and other more angular objects, which provide visual contrast to the table’s rounded form. It’s always a good idea to contrast shapes in this way!

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Coffee table ideasReading Surface

If your living room is more focused on quiet reading time than TV watching, choose a practical wood coffee table that gives you a clean surface to pile books, magazines, and other reading materials on top of. You can also stack coffee table books for a more polished look, but the idea is that this is a working surface that has everything you’re currently reading or flipping through.

Styling Tip: This is perfect for those who enjoy reading on their living room sofa. Just make sure your coffee table has a spacious surface for you to spread your reading out. One with a tiered design can give you extra storage for more books and magazines.

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Coffee table ideasLevels Of Use

A two-tiered coffee table is always a great choice for a living room that has furnishings in a range of styles. A tiered design also makes for fun coffee table styling since it gives you double the surface to showcase objects and accents. Or you can even turn one shelf into a full storage space for books, baskets, and even blankets.

Styling Tip: With double the surface area, it helps to designate what goes on top and what goes on the bottom. A tray on top is great for cups, plates, remotes and other loose everyday items, while the bottom shelf is always a good place for things you might need in a pinch, like a candle, a throw or even a board game.

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Coffee table ideasStreamlined Styling

For those after a clean-lined contemporary living room, your coffee table doesn’t have to stay bare to keep that aesthetic alive. Make sure to first choose a streamlined table that goes with your style and top it with similarly pared-down items, like a stack of magazines or a small modern votive, box, or vase.

Styling Tip: Think playful but polished when it comes to coffee table accents. And less is definitely more here, so go for the sleek and unique tray or small modern sculpture piece to give your coffee table display just the right amount of oomph.

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Coffee table ideasMovable Display

You’ve seen us mention trays a few times. That’s because it’s one of the easiest and most stylish coffee table ideas to work into any space. Plus, they’re endlessly functional since they’re easy to move around and can be used to hold anything from flowers and candles to tea sets.

Styling Tip: Consider styling a tray with a teapot, candle, and plant so that it’s always ready for entertaining guests and family. Our favorite is turning a coffee table tray into a breakfast tray for serving a delicious morning meal in the living room. Once you’re done, just carry the tray to the kitchen and unload everything. It’s simple and it’s stylish!

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Coffee table ideasWhite Hot

If your coffee table has elements of white or a marble top, consider layering it with other white accents and objects for a look that packs a punch. Whether it’s a book or a candle holder or a vase, a white on white on white look is always chic.

Styling Tip: With this coffee table styling approach, it’s less about color and all about shapes and textures. You want to group together white objects that have varying textures and details, like perforations and weathered wood or a smooth white book cover. It’s all in the contrasts.

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Coffee table ideasOrganization First

Two smaller trays paired together on a large wood coffee table gives you double the function and endless styling possibilities. This allows for plenty of open space still on the table surface while giving you areas to corral and curate objects.

Styling Tip: Don’t be afraid to go all out with a style or theme! Here, the trays are filled with nautical decor and accents that reflect the room’s overall coastal aesthetic. When in doubt, always look to the rest of your room’s decor for styling inspiration.

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Coffee table ideasSleek & Spare

For city dwellers living in sleek condos with modern furniture, coffee table styling is all about paring things down. If this is your style, consider a concrete-and-glass coffee table that comes off as a sculptural piece in and of itself, allowing you to keep it bare or style it up with a few clean-lined accents.

Styling Tip: With modern industrial coffee tables, like this one, they don’t need much styling. But if you do decide to layer on accents, keep to simple low-profile objects that don’t steal away from the table’s bold form. Think tiny vases, white-cover books, and a paper-thin tray.

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Coffee table ideasSculpture Show

One of our favorite coffee table decorating tricks is to curate an array of sculptural decor in varying shapes, sizes, and styles. That can range from anything like a decorative coral piece to a seashell to a porcelain bust or a super curvy vessel. Be sure to pick pieces with varying heights, which will make the display more captivating.

Styling Tip: When grouping together pieces that have varying sculptural shapes, be sure to pick pieces with different heights, which will make the display more captivating. You want to style it in a way that invites people to move in and examine each object more closely.

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The Best Modern Coffee Tables for Any Home

If you are creating a modern living room design, a good place to start is with a modern coffee table. Modern coffee tables are at the core of modern living room design. They tend to be the centerpiece of the room and can really set the tone for the entire space. But not all modern coffee tables are the same!

For example, maybe you need a furniture piece with storage…or one that’s kid-friendly…or one that compliments your unique style. For some people, being able to set beverages on a coffee table’s glass surface is key. Other people are less concerned with the table top material and more with how heavy or light the coffee table looks. If you’re feeling uncertain about which direction to take with your modern coffee table, don’t fret!

We polled our stylists to find out all about their favorite modern coffee tables for all kinds of styles and needs. Get to know their picks for every need and see if any are right for you!

modern coffee tablesMinimal Modern Coffee Tables

These modern coffee tables are perfect for those who love Modern style but want sleek furniture in their living room. Modern and minimal design go hand-in-hand and these tables will help bring the look together with finesse. Here are our picks for modern coffee tables with a minimalist vibe.

modern coffee tables

Harrison Lift Top Coffee Table White, Scout Home

This versatile coffee table works with any color palette you choose. It has sleek and clean lines and drawers that close flush for a handsome profile. The style and materials play on proportions—it’s lifted, but visually heavy on top. The added hidden storage is perfect for a minimal, clutter-free aesthetic and the contrast of dark wood and lacquer white give a mid-century modern flair. The clean and crisp surface is ideal for styling! You can have one or two items “pop” on the table top – such as a sculptural object or artistic coasters.

This modern coffee table is perfect for someone who likes modern style but wants a piece that is functional as well.

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modern coffee tablesMoon Shot Coffee Table in Brown-Bronze-Rust, Cyan Designs

The rounded triangle shape of the Moon Shot Coffee Table adds interest to its minimal form. The natural wood finish also adds warmth and a feel of organic modernism while the black tapered metal legs add contrast and keep the table feeling classically mid-century modern in style.

This is a great coffee table for adding simple storage on the shelf below so the tabletop stays free of clutter. Not to mention, the rounded form and visual lightness of this furniture material piece make it perfect for a small space!

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modern coffee tablesParkin Coffee Table, Scout Home

This table is visually light with thin metal legs and crisp 90-degree angles. Its black and white look is versatile enough to match with different tastes in furniture, but we think it would pair perfectly with a design featuring leather and earth tones.

The attached magazine rack is a funky and unexpected addition, allowing you to incorporate a bit of personality to a minimally designed space. It also makes a subtle, tasteful storage solution! And the large surface area is perfect for entertaining (lots of room for guests to set down their drinks) or for the minimalist who is also a proud bookworm.

A sleek stone top adds dimension and contrast with black structure—plus, the marble table top material is super trendy right now! This is definitely a table that feels “avant-garde” and gives a nod to unconventional design. All in all, it’s perfect for someone who loves to entertain or wants to bring an unexpected element to their home with the funky, asymmetrical design.

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modern coffee tablesRustic Modern Coffee Tables

For those who want to balance out their taste for modern design with some more down-to-earth vibes, a rustic modern coffee table might be just the right thing. Modern rustic is a super trendy style right now and a great choice for satisfying all your style cravings. Here are our stylists’ 3 picks for modern rustic coffee tables!

modern coffee tablesFarmhouse Coffee Table, Jamie Young

This farmhouse style coffee table features a classic rectangle shape updated with unexpected modern legs. The metal legs also bring a masculine/raw element, making this table versatile in style—it could be beautiful in an industrial-style space. The sleek cut of wood brings an airiness to an otherwise heavy piece of furniture and it has a timeless honey tone that adds warmth to any space.

We love how versatile this piece is, and can easily imagine it pairing beautifully with a mix of styles or with saturated earth tones. We also like that it’s high off the ground, so you could add baskets underneath for layers and depth, blanket storage, etc.

This table is durable, perfect for a rustic style interior—especially a home with older kids or pets!

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modern coffee tablesHavana Coffee Table, Scout Home

This table has a cool, blocky form that nods to traditional rustic style. Knots and grain are visible in the weathered wood and add an organic element, perfect for pure rustic spaces, but it also works in more modern rustic homes. The natural wood and geometric form are a nice contrasting combo for those who like something unexpected.

Overall, this table is super versatile and the design compensates for the “bulky” wood with the contrast of open space underneath. The shelf adds a place for open storage/decor, and could even double as a place to rest your feet!

This table is perfect for long and narrow living spaces and the sturdy and durable construction means it can hold its own in high traffic areas.

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modern coffee tablesSilas Coffee Table, Uttermost

This table puts a beautiful spin on true rustic and raw material and makes for a show-stopping conversation piece. The lightweight iron frame visually balances the heaviness of the wood, while the two open levels allow for interesting styling options. You could layer on the surface of the wood like a shadow box or simply place styling elements to the glass surface.

There’s definitely an industrial era/factory feel to this furniture piece, but it is modernized with thin legs and the clear glass top. Try pairing it with a linen sofa for some beautiful soft/hard contrast.

This coffee table is a great furniture piece for those who like to display their prize belongings and decor. It would also fit perfectly in an open studio/loft with an industrial rustic vibe.

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modern coffee tablesTransitional Coffee Tables

If you don’t want to go pure modern, consider modern coffee tables with a transitional vibe. These tables have modern undertones with a contemporary edge and tend to be super versatile and easy to style.

Mesquite Coffee Table, Sunpan

This coffee table oozes simple, sophisticated elegance with a nod to modern design. The Acacia wood top and bottom shelves feature a subtle chevron pattern, complemented by an antique brass steel frame. The clean, timeless form and antique frame exude the sophistication of transitional style. You can dress the table up or down depending on how you use the bottom shelf and other elements you include in the room design.

This is perfect for those who want a standout piece with its eye-catching chevron pattern and combo of materials. It is also a perfect fit in a living room with a neutral color palette.

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Round Capiz Coffee Table, Ludlow Living

This Round Capiz Coffee Table is transitional in style with clean lines, a simple round form, and sophisticated sheen. Round coffee tables are perfect for conversational living rooms because you can pull furniture all around it. They’re also great for kids because there are no sharp corners!

We love how this table nods to the glam/chic look with lacquered sheen and capiz shell encrusted wood form. You can also push the look more transitional coastal in style. The dark wood base and the multidimensional off-white covering is a classic pairing and goes with multiple color palettes. Adding a simple piece of greenery would be a beautiful polishing touch to this table—keep your styling simple and let the table do the talking!

This table is great for busy families who want high style—it’s easy to clean up spills because of resin finish.

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Costa Coffee Table, Nuevo

The Costa Coffee Table has a modern look, but is very transitional in its use of simple materials and shapes. The glass top material allows the unique geometry of the base to shine through (literally) as the star of this piece. It also maintains a visually open space despite being a substantially sized coffee table. This look works best if you style the glass top with lighter items, like a tray layered with books, small vases, and small plants.

It’s a perfect table for someone who wants a statement piece in their modern or contemporary living room.

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Eclectic Coffee Tables

Eclectic coffee tables are a great way to show off your inner bohemian in your modern living room. These tables definitely have modern vibes but they also showcase a unique flair. Check out our stylists’ picks for eclectic coffee tables below!

Lincoln Nesting Coffee Tables, Hyde Park

These nesting coffee tables are edgy and fun for those who want a playful element to their living room design. They are perfect for eclectic spaces that lean towards rustic/industrial due to the metal hairpin legs and raw wood top.

The natural shape and live edge teak wood bright the outdoors inside. They are visually light and minimal, perfect for a versatile space because they can be moved/arranged easily. To make them pop even more, set them atop an eclectic and colorful area rug!

These tables act as a functioning art piece that can be used in indoor or outdoor spaces. Just make sure not to overdo it with decor on top—the unique style of the tables speaks for itself!

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Bone Inlay Coffee Table, Baylin

This eclectic oval coffee table is just right for lovers of truly unique “functional art” pieces. Intricately cut and inlaid bone, along with stunning blue resin, line the entire coffee table and the slightly curved cross base make the oval shape more unique. It is definitely a statement coffee table that will pop out in any room you place it in!

To make it stand out even further, consider styling it with minimal, eclectic touches—think small plants, brass coasters, simple trinkets, or a functional bowl. You could even lean into coastal vibes or even go all out with Morrocan/global flair!

The blue is so striking, this table works best in a more neutral space so it is sure to stand out as the shining star.

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Lexa Rattan Bunching Table, Scout Home

We love this fun and whimsical dome-shaped coffee table! It’s super light and airy with a nod to bohemian–70’s eclectic style and can be used alone or in a pair of two. The natural, organic color and shape give any space an earthy vibe. Light styling with plants or a tray would polish the look of this coffee table—though the intricate cage-like weaving requires no further decoration.

This table would look perfect in a casual living room or sunroom lounge or more mid-century style living spaces.

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Storage Coffee Tables

Any good modern living room is as stylish as it is functional—and one of the most important parts of function is plenty of storage! A coffee table that doubles as a secret storage solution is a huge win as far as we’re concerned. Here are our picks for modern coffee tables with inner storage.

Miriam Table, Euro Style

This Euro Style coffee table is perfect for living rooms where you don’t want to compromise on sleek style but also need the extra storage. The two-toned woods and gold plated legs bring added dimension and a touch of chic. The 47” length offers plenty of surface area and the combo of open and closed storage is perfect for both displaying decor and stashing items you want to keep out of eyesight.

Try a minimal approach to styling by adding a small stack of coffee table books in the open shelf, hiding items like remotes/electronics in the drawer and keeping the top bare. This table would be great in any contemporary, mid-century modern, or even minimal living room. And to top it off, the size makes it perfect for entertaining!

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Maynard Lift Top Coffee Table, C2C Home

This lift top coffee table offers an updated take on a classic storage trunk. It’s a substantial form with durable with wood and metal construction—great for living rooms that get lots of use. The lift top and drawers are great for storage and the honey finish adds warmth to any room. It might come in handy in playrooms/basement living rooms where you can store bulkier items like toys, blankets, games, etc. Style it with simple items like your favorite candle, coffee table book, or decorative bowl for a simple and classic look.

This table works well with modern furnishing for a modern rustic vibe or you can even go completely traditional for a cozy, homey feeling.

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Fulton Storage Coffee Table, Ludlow Living

This is the storage coffee table for living rooms where you want to keep the extra storage a total secret. It’s a dimensional, cylindrical table with teak mosaic pieces covering the entire body. The white coloring is versatile and looks like an art piece in any living room! The top lifts off directly to expose storage and the base is wide so it can fit a good amount of stuff. Style the top with a round tray to make moving accessories easy when you need to access the storage inside.

This coffee table is super versatile and would be perfect in coastal, eclectic and classic glam spaces.

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Kid-Friendly Coffee Tables

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to give up your modern style! You might just have to give up sharp corners and glass tops to keep your kiddos safe. Check out these 3 picks for modern coffee tables that are great for family-friendly living rooms.

Bern Large Coffee Table Gray, Hyde Park

This table is made of reclaimed elmwood, which goes well with any color scheme and adds a soft, cozy warmth. The beautifully carved wood drum base is sophisticated and sturdy—meaning it can handle a home with older kids. The smooth round shape makes it great for preventing owies (no sharp corners here!). And it’s large enough for the family to gather around, do homework, or play games.

This is a great coffee table for parents who want high style without sacrificing durability. It’s very versatile and works great for classic, rustic, transitional, and even coastal styles!

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Bates Upholstered Square Coffee Table, Scout Home

This table features a modern take on rustic and timeless style while being 100% practical. The soft base top is perfect for little ones and adds warmth to any living room. The open bottom is ideal for storage—stash away your board games, toys, and kid stuff in easy reach. You can opt to set trays on top of the upholstered top for functionality. And its substantial size makes it great for large living rooms and large families.

This coffee table is perfect for refined, rustic living rooms and for those who want a stylish coffee table but need something that is uber-functional and kid-friendly.

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Barrett Storage Ottoman, Crate & Barrel

This classic coffee table features a versatile dark grey fabric that can pair with multiple color schemes—it would look great with a linen slipcovered sofa or a leather option for a modern yet cozy living space. It’s also soft to the touch and can stand up to both kids and pets with its spill- and stain-resistant fabric.

This coffee table/ottoman is perfect for young kids because it has no sharp corners and is padded all around. It’s also an excellent blend of form and function—the top hinges up to expose storage interior.

This coffee table is just right for the total carefree family home!

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The Dos and Don’ts of Picking a Coffee Table for your Living Room

Picking a coffee table dos

Coffee tables – just like snowflakes and people – come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. It’s great having so many to choose from. But all those options can also make picking a coffee table feel totally overwhelming.

But don’t stress over your coffee table conundrum just yetWe tried on 8 coffee tables in Modsy 3D to show you the dos and don’ts of pairing this living room duo.

Want to try on coffee tables in your living room? With a Modsy design package you can see how all kinds of furniture will look and fit in your exact space. Picking a coffee table has never been so easy!

The Coffee Table Don’ts

Picking a coffee table dos1. Don’t go too large

What makes sectional sofas extra tricky is finding a coffee table that fits nicely into that little nook of space in front.

This coffee table, as lovely as it is, is way out of proportion with our sofa, and we lose our ability to easily move around the space. Next please!

Picking a coffee table dos2. Don’t go too small

The opposite end of the spectrum, a coffee table that’s too small leaves much to be desired.

While the Delfia Coffee Table fits nicely into the space in front, it still feels out of proportion to our sofa and misses an opportunity to make the most out of that precious real estate. Where will everyone put their drinks?

Picking a coffee table dos3. Don’t go too tall

The height of your coffee table is also super important to consider. Too short and you’ll be stooping low to grab the remote. Too tall and you might find yourself constantly banging your knees!

A good – and simple – rule is look for coffee tables about 1 to 2 inches lower than the height of your sofa seat. A quick glance at this pairing, and we can easily see the Clairemont Coffee Table is too tall for our sofa. Next option!

Picking a coffee table dos4. Don’t go too wide

Another sectional-specific problem is finding a coffee table with the right length.

Ideally, you don’t want your coffee table to be wider than your sofa, so look for options with a width less than the distance between the chaise and armrest of your sofa. While we love the Go-Cart coffee table, it juts out past the arm of our sofa and feels awkward in the space.


The Coffee Table Dos

Picking a coffee table dos1. Do break up the angles

Round or rectangular aren’t your only options when it comes to coffee tables. Think outside the box and try grouping a few side tables together in front of your sofa.

This is a great way to break up all the straight lines of a sectional sofa.Have company over? Easily move the tables around when and where you need them. 

Read This Next: 7 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Coffee Table

Picking a coffee table dos2. Do sneak in hidden storage

This coffee table has a secret. What could it be? Hidden storage!

A great pick for households with kiddos, coffee tables with hidden storage make for great hiding spaces to stash clutter in a pinch. Also a friend to small spaces, the wooden top on this coffee table is actually a lid that pops off to reveal gloriously inconspicuous storage.

Picking a coffee table dos3. Do open up small spaces

If you’re in a pinch for living room real estate, it’s a good idea to try an eliminate any extra visual clutter.

How do you do this? Choose pieces with elevated and open bases (like the Avery Coffee Table from West Elm). Mirrored or glass surfaces are another great hack, as they reflect light around your room and will help it feel more airy.

Read This Next: Small Space Hacks for Your Living Room

Picking a coffee table dos4. Do incorporate extra seating

Ok, this one is not really a coffee table per se, but there’s no rule that says you can’t use an ottoman, like this leather option, in place of your coffee table.

A great option for low sofas, simply plop a tray on top to hold remotes or books, and you’ve got yourself a coffee table. You can even use it as extra seating when you have guests over. 

Bonus: Ottomans as coffee tables are also great for homes with young kids or babies. No sharp corners mean no owies!

Need help finding the best coffee table for your sofa?

With Modsy, you can try out as many coffee tables as you like without purchasing a single one. See all your options in an exact 3D version of your room and then shop your favorite pieces knowing exactly how they’ll look and fit. Ready to get started?


No Coffee Table, No Problem – 7 Things You Can Use Instead

If you give a living room a sofa, it’ll want a coffee table to go with it. Or at least that’s what those traditional interior design rules say. And it’s true that sofas and coffee tables are generally the focal point of your living room.

With that, there are many things to consider when landing on the right coffee table for your space. You’ll want to consider the coffee table shape and size in relation to your sofa, as well as the coffee table material, to make sure it blends with your living room’s style. And then there are the lifestyle needs to consider—like if you need a kid-friendly coffee table or one that includes storage.

coffee table ideas

But just because they’re a key piece of furniture in your living room doesn’t mean you have to go for something traditional or expected. In fact, you can get pretty creative with coffee table ideas. There are actually quite a few coffee table alternatives out there to suit your interior design style and your preferences and lifestyle. So, if you’re interested in exploring some alternatives to coffee tables, keep reading for seven of our favorite ideas!

Whether you’re struggling to design a small space, or if you want your living room to be a bit more kid-proof, here are 8 coffee table alternatives that will work in any space.

coffee table ideas – ottoman

1. A Plush Ottoman

Ottomans are an awesome coffee table alternative because they can act as a table but are kid-proof. With soft edges, there are no corners for kids to bump into. And if you still want to style it, add a few of your favorite coffee table books or place a tray on top as a stable surface for drinks! Plus they double as extra seating options so your kids and guests have space to sit!

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coffee table ideas - 2 poufs

2. A Pair of Poufs

Similar to a plush ottoman, poufs are another kid-friendly favorite for living room areas. Two poufs can make a perfect replacement for a coffee table and are just right for smaller spaces and for people who like to entertain. We love that they can easily double as a footrest, side table, and extra seat!

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coffee table alternatives

3. A Bench

Not a fan of using a large table as your centerpiece? One of our favorite coffee table alternative ideas is to use a bench instead. Using an attractive wooden or upholstered bench as a coffee table can add surface space, extra seating, and even additional storage. Talk about a triple-threat!

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coffee table alternatives

4. A Cluster of Side Tables

A coffee table doesn’t always have to be one large table. In fact, one of our favorite coffee table styling ideas, when you want something out of the box, is using a cluster of side tables as a coffee table alternative. This allows you to easily move them when you are entertaining in order to give your guests an easy place to set their drinks.

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coffee table ideas

5. Side Tables With Varying Heights

Two small, mismatched side tables can also be a good alternative for smaller spaces that don’t have room for one large table. Make your space feel less cramped by opting for one short and one taller table. This is one of our favorite coffee table ideas for people who want to make their space feel more dynamic.

coffee table alternative

6. A Storage Ottoman

Need some extra storage? Opt for one of our favorite small apartment furniture ideas: A storage ottoman. It not only acts as a coffee table alternative but also an extra seat and hidden storage. Simply open up the lid in order to store things inside. It’s great for storing blankets, books, magazines or other things you want to keep handy but out of sight.

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coffee table ideas - c-side table

7. A C-Side Table

If you have no room at all, you can try a C-side table in order to maximize space in a small living room. C-tables are small and easy to move; and, because of their shape, they can snuggle up close to your sofa so they don’t take up much floor space. You can also use them as an impromptu desk when you don’t want to leave the sofa to work.

8. A Single Stool

Another coffee table alternative that’s great for small spaces? A single stool. It’s a great pairing with low-profile sofas, as the low height of the stool works well with the lower sofa seat. And speaking of seating—using a stool as a coffee table gives you an extra seating option, which is perfect for small or multipurpose spaces, like a studio apartment. It’s also more affordable than a traditional coffee table, which makes it a great budget-friendly coffee table alternative as well! And if you move and decide to upgrade to a larger coffee table, you can easily use a stool elsewhere in your home.

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These are just a few suggestions for you to use other pieces of furniture in lieu of a coffee table! What are your favorite coffee table ideas?

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