20 Fabulous Coffee Tables + How To Pair With The Right Sofa

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

Who knew that this decorating your home thing was so difficult? Oh, I know. You do. And now, I do too.

You would think something seemingly as easy as choosing a coffee table to go with a sofa would be easy-peasy. But I have no idea what goes with what. How do you do that?

I got the message about making a plan. I bought some graph paper and one of those architect’s scales so that I can get it as close as possible to what it is. Oh, and I got a little template so that I could trace the approximate sizes of the furniture.

I drew out my room.

HELP!!!

Sophie Annatable

 

That’s a very good question Sophie.

 

How do I know which coffee tables look good with which sofas?

 

Here’s my design process when I am coming up with a plan for clients.

 

  • First of all, is always the house, itself.
  • The over-all design concept.
  • Is it young-trad, contemporary, a mix, modern, country, urban?
  • Are the clients more casual or more formal?

Most of my clients tend to be more on the casual side even for their more formal rooms. One reason is that 80% of them were quite young. (when I was taking on clients).

  • Are there any givens that we need to incorporate?
  • What is the feeling we wish to invoke?

 

All of those things help to narrow down the possibilities.

 

This is why having a plan is vital. Otherwise, when you go shopping for furniture, I can pretty much guarantee that it will not be a pleasant experience.

 

After those things are worked out, there are some technical rules of thumb.

 

Well, Laurel’s rules of thumb.

I’m weird.

Apparently.

Well, not super-weird but here goes.

Coffee tables are always smaller than the length of the sofa. We all know that.

But how much smaller?

I read two-thirds of the sofa length somewhere.

That means if we have an 84″ sofa, that the coffee table should be about 56″ in length.

Ummmm… That would probably be the biggest, I would go.

But it depends also on the table and the size of the room.

And also, the table height.

 

 

Now, here’s where I get into quite a tussle (in my mind) with many of the coffee table manufacturers.

 

 

We’ve been through the really big furniture that proliferates in the market-place and the same holds true for the coffee tables– in height, at least.

A lot of the tables out there are 19″-21″ in height.

My idea coffee table height is actually between 15″-17″— 18″ tops.

It’s about proportion. Here’s an example.

I actually really love this coffee table.

Well, I want to love it.

best coffee tables

There’s some lovely detailing here. But when I look at the table head-on, it’s leg-heavy IMO.

 

best coffee tables

 

For an 84″ sofa, I usually do a coffee table of about 48″-50″ long and 24″-30″ deep.

 

There’s usually some wiggle room, however. If the table is very light, it would be possible to go a little larger, but absolutely no larger than about 60″ for an 84″ sofa.

 

What about round coffee tables?

 

I was afraid that you were going to ask me that.

Over the years, I’ve considered starting a company called “The Round Table Company.”

Why? Because there aren’t all that many round coffee tables to begin with and 95% of them suck.

And sometimes one wants a large round coffee table and then, it’s even more difficult.

However, there are a lot of round coffee tables around 36″-40″ and those are great for two-seat sectionals where there is not a lot of room for anything larger. And the round shape is easier on the shins, I find. :]

 

But a 36″ square is fine too. (There’s an example coming up)

Coffee Tables should be about 12″-18″ away from the sofa.

 

What else do we need to know about coffee tables?

 

Well, we have to decide if we need storage and/or a shelf.

Then, we need to decide if it should be more rustic or more formal.

But here’s one coffee table that you are never to do.

 

And I’m probably going to get shat on because I know, I know that many of you have one of these!

But, it’s okay if you do. I still love you!

How do I know?

I call it the Houzz-I’m-so-sick-of-this-coffee-table. :/  (like for the last then years!)

It’s the ubiquitous-trendy-but-already-way-past-its-prime-but-nobody-seems-to-be-noticing-coffee-table.

 

 

Some version of this. Right?

Actually, it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have that stretcher seemingly glued to the floor.

That is just so freaking weird.

But, the wood top that looks like it survived a house fire has had its day too.

That is not to say that we can’t have a rustic wood. I have several coming up. But this is the centerpiece of a not very interesting room. Just my opinion and we know that I’m not short of those.

So first let’s look at a bunch of what I think are mostly classic tables. Some might be a little trendy, but that is unavoidable. And some trends ARE good. I think that a little gold frame coffee table is always classic even if they are trendy now. I’ve been doing them my entire career!

Here’s the table widget. And believe me, I fussed with this thing for way too long. And I can’t control what order they appear in. In fact, if you refresh your page, they’ll appear in a different order. That’s on a desktop. I don’t know what happens on a phone.

 

So let’s take a closer look at some of these favorite coffee tables and their sofa pairings


The 47″ square Blake Raffia coffee table is a splendid choice for this sophisticated super-stylish living room.  The Blake Raffia coffee table also comes in a rectangular version which I’ve done before.

BTW, the side chairs are overlapping the sofa which is a big no-no. If anything they should be set back a few inches away from the sofa.

Oh, and that gorgeous Anya blown glass chandelier is on sale now at Serena and Lily.

And please don’t forget to check out the massive tent sale that’s going on there right now.

100s of gorgeous linens, towels, lighting and more at up to 75% off!

 

Another vignette with the Hanover Sofa from Serena and Lily. And more overlapping.
Obviously, they do this for the photo so that we can see everything.

This time, with a rectangular table. (that’s discontinued) :[

The Hanover is 89″ long. So, any table that’s from about 48″ – 54″ would be fine.

Style depends on the look one is going for.

The new Tanja Trunk table is new from Anthropologie. How fabulous is this?

There’s plenty of storage for things like blankets and pillows or what have you.

It looks quite expensive, but it’s only $998.00

Gorgeous top!

Another beauty I unearthed at Wayfair. They have practically every brand that God ever created and 100s I’ve never heard of. This one is from EXP Decor and they are calling it a handmade Oriental Antique Coffee table. Okay, it’s not a real antique but it’s very well-done for a repro.

 

And get this. It’s only $610.00!!!

 

Holy Moly! Everyone who reviewed it had very nice things to say too. It is only 44″ wide, but since it’s such a statement piece, I think it would be fine with an 89″ sofa. It would be splendid with any sofa that’s at least 60″. I think most of the time there should be about a foot between the edge of the coffee table and the end of the sofa.

 

For a more contemporary touch, I found this narrow 60″ gold and glass coffee table. It is originally from World’s Away, but they are phasing it out. However, I found it at Kathy Kuo for a good price. Because of its light weight, the 60″ table would be fine with 89″ Handover.

 

one kings lane sutton right-facing sectional harbor blue velvet - best upholstery fabricsI’ve been so enthralled with this sofa with a chaise section, but what about a coffee table?

This little bone inlay table is 47 x 16.

And although a little long, because it’s not very deep, I think would be fine.

lacquered round coffee table from Anthropologie

But we could also do a sweet round table like the

lacquered round coffee table from Anthropologie

 

 

I’ve long admired the Spruce Street Sectional for its sleek handsome lines.

The Trestle table is brand new at Serena and Lily. I love the chic coastal look of this room, without screaming BEACH!!!

 

This 35″ square opium table would work nicely for a smaller sectional opening.

 

The Robin Bruce Bristol slipcover sofa is quite large at 110″ and 46″ deep.

So, if you want a real couch potato “bed” that’s great looking, this one should work.

This sofa can take a large hunky coffee table like the Safavieh Opium table

 

 

They are calling this an octagonal table from Brownstone Upholstery, but I count 12 sides. It is quite rustic.

I am always imagining painting things after I get them. But then again, I know… I’m weird.

 

fabulous coffee tablesThis is a table from Sarreid I found on Gilt for only $699.00. What??? Sarreid furniture is not cheap! There is only one of them and it is only $699.00 I could see this handsome large table 59 x 31 x 13 in a casual family room or living room. It would look fabulous with the Robin Bruce sofa.

 

I think that it would also be fine with the 89″ Robin Bruce sofa. It’s modeled on a Chinese bed, but those are usually really huge. I’ve seen some that are seven feet long! Fine for a bed, but pretty massive for a coffee table.

 

 

 

And one more table from Lexington for a large more formal round table. It is 50″ in diameter.

 

Well, I hope that gave some guidance on how to find the perfect coffee table for your sofa!

Oh, and once upon a time, when I was young(er) and dumb, I did a post about how to style a coffee table.

xo,

 

PS: Don’t forget to check out the Hot Sales page.

 

 

Featured this week is the fabulous aforementioned tent sale at Serena and Lily

 

and the ongoing anniversary sale at Nordstrom.

Some items have sold out already.

I’ve hi-lighted a few dozen new things in the Hot Sales page. Gorgeous!

There are also a few new things in the Favorite Home Furnishing page.     

 

  • Elle - August 6, 2017 - 8:51 AM

    Well, you hit the nail on the head AGAIN. I want to replace our coffee table as part of a general sprucing up. It’s one of those rustic Indian reclaimed-wood ones from around 2000, with wrought-iiron trim at the corners. It’s the only thing in our room that can’t pass for antique, and I liked its informality. We put our feet on it.

    But it was bothering me. It seemed too big and too much. I imagined either a tasteful little brass and glass oval or a pretty trunk to add storage. I went shopping. What a joke. I don’t operate that way.I have to slow down and make up my mind carefully, over time. The right coffee table has to find ME.

    In the meantime, I removed piles of books and magazines on our table and it looked so much better! It was all that stuff that really bothered me! The less there is on it, the better it looks. But I realized that the cool Anthropologie trunk you show might be a great alternative. It’s rustic, too, but spiffier and with storage. But I’m in no rush over this decision. Thanks once again for writing the right thing at the right time!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - August 4, 2017 - 12:19 PM

    Great advice as always!

    In this case, you hit the nail squarely on the head; I was off to purchase furniture for my rec room and had a momentarily lapse in judgement. I was actually planning on purchasing a “matched set” of coffee and end tables….. what was I thinking????? Thanks for saving me from myself!!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - August 2, 2017 - 10:23 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    This is the first time I’m commenting, but I ADORE your blog, and your witty sense of humor as well. I want you to know that YOU are one of the main reasons I decided to get up the courage and begin styling (or decorating, if you will) for others. Namely your post: “Three interior decorators with no formal training,” I cannot possibly thank you enough for writing that!!!!!!
    I still have a lot to learn but your blog has been incredibly helpful in many ways, including this post on coffee tables- which I cannot for the life of me decide on one for my own house, lol! I do love quite a few of the ones you’ve highlighted….one day (hopefully soon) I will pull the trigger!!
    Just one question: I noticed the beautiful green drapes in the Serena and Lily photo are hanging quite low…I’m assuming that this must’ve been done to highlight the gorgeous woodwork in the window frame, but everything I’ve read in recent years emphasizes the importance of hanging drapery rods well above the window frame. What are your thoughts on this?
    -SaraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 2, 2017 - 11:29 PM

      Hi Sara,

      Well, this lovely comment just made my day, and tomorrow too!

      It is verrrrry difficult to decorate for oneself. Even Barbara Barry has said that she went with white on white because she couldn’t commit. I doubt that’s true, but maybe at the time it was.

      As for the drapes. You are right and I noticed that too. Here’s why it’s like that. The ceiling in this room is nowhere in sight which means that it’s at least 12 feet high and that window is probably about nine feet high. The largest size the drapes come in is 108″ and they are puddling every so slightly which you can see on the website. and that is why they are hung that way.

      Now, they could’ve fudged that one photo and hung the rod where it’s supposed to be for that shot, I suppose.

      OR even photo shopped it. Technically speaking, as gorgeous as that looks, the drapes should be higher. Alas, they are not custom, so what you get is what you get.ReplyCancel

      • Sara - August 3, 2017 - 5:35 AM

        Well, that makes perfect sense….I was worried that I was missing a new trend, lol! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, you are a gem!!!
        -SaraReplyCancel

  • Pamela - August 2, 2017 - 10:49 AM

    great, informative and FUNNY post. I immediately measured our sofa and coffee table…whew, we’re good. perhaps a post on styling the different shapes coffee tables come in, mine happens to be square and has been dull and uninteresting way too many times. help.ReplyCancel

  • Theres - August 2, 2017 - 10:07 AM

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on using a relatively high (think dining room table height), round table in front of a couch. I love the look, but every time I’ve tried it, it looks like I left a table in the middle of the room that needs to be put away.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 2, 2017 - 10:32 AM

      Hi Theres,

      I’ve never seen that done in a living room. A dining table is 30″ high +/- an inch.

      The only time I’ve seen it is a table with a settee and I think there’s an image in a post here somewhere; not sure.

      But I’d stick to the normal height, coffee/cocktail table height or up to tea table height which is the same as the end/side table.

      More about that tonight!ReplyCancel

  • LouiseR - August 1, 2017 - 6:42 PM

    Outstanding post, as usual! So much great information packed inside. It’s obvious how much work you put into it. When I saw in the title that there was one table NOT TO GET, I instantly visualized the “retro industrial with reclaimed wood and rusty metal legs”! I knew it! I’m so proud of myself, lol. 🙂 I’m a learnin’, thanks to you. Your understated elegant style is growing on me!ReplyCancel

  • Mid America Mom - August 1, 2017 - 11:44 AM

    Wow! I cannot imagine how much time you took to put this one together. I find it harder to select a coffee table than anything else as the look could be right but the dimensions all wrong. Years back we moved into a small apartment from a medium sized home. I was obsessed with storage and function and came across images of a modern round telescoping coffee table (it height adjusted up .. not that silly tilt forward desk with ugly hardware thing). Here I found a table my small kids could use for projects (not kill themselves on a corner too) or as a coffee, or eat at.. BUT . It was modern looking and expensive for us. Oh the power of the internet. I found images of “the one”. Problem it was made at least 30 years before and finding it used ..Sigh. I settled on an ottoman (that doubled as a dining bench) but still looked while thrifting. A small home, 22 hours away, and 3 years later I stumbled across it while shopping for a client. It was in two pieces and crammed in the back room of a used furniture store. It was 1 of 5 pieces of furniture that followed us to this home. Last year I begrudgingly changed it as my kids turned into voracious readers and we needed a shelf. It sat in the garage and finally I let it go. A mother purchased it for her daughters first, and small, apartment. It was a great table and I still lament the loss!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - July 31, 2017 - 7:42 PM

    Hi Laurel.

    Is there a size guideline when placing a table between pieces that face each other but are different widths, such as a sofa and a loveseat. If the sofa is long enough to need about a 50″ table, does it matter that the table would be nearly the size of the loveseat less the arms?

    I currently have about 10 tables in my carts on several different websites. Hard to pull the trigger haha.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 31, 2017 - 8:51 PM

      Hi Nicole,

      Ahhh… well, you’ve hit on one reason aside from not being able to see anything that I can’t give advice. And that is the fact that you are putting a love seat across from a sofa. I can’t see your room. It might be fine, but usually a love seat is perpendicular to the sofa.

      Or else the sofas match each other. Or at least match in terms of scale.

      But assuming it has to be this way for whatever the reason, then you need to defer to the smaller piece. Maybe you could put end tables there to balance it out and floor lamps on either side of the sofa.

      Then, you could go a little larger on the coffee table. I wouldn’t go past the seating area, however for the length.

      And I suggest drawing it out and or putting tape on the floor to see scale before purchasing.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - July 31, 2017 - 1:32 AM

    Laurel, you briefly referred to cat clawing in your post about using white with two perfectly adorable little boys. I have two small French chairs and ottoman going to the upholsters in a couple weeks. I love those chairs, and love the matelasse they will be newly upholstered in. I also adore my kitty. She’s the reason the chairs need reupholstering. I’ve read spraying with a citrus fragrance might be effective, also sticky tape, also aluminum foil (what a lovely look) and a squirt gun. Did you have success with any of these or something you came up with?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 31, 2017 - 8:47 PM

      Hi Andrea,

      Sorry no, I didn’t try any of those things. I should have, but I didn’t.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - July 31, 2017 - 12:44 AM

    Laurel, is there ever a place for tea tables? I guess that’s what they’re called. I kind of like taller tables in front of the sofa so one doesn’t have to lean over to set their drink down. At present I am using an occasional table – I guess that’s what it’s called, in front of my Queen Anne style sofa (those curvy carved legs, you know). The table has curved X wrought iron legs with polished stone top and a little old gold gallery edge. I know it’s too small, but I do like the height, and that’s what is holding me back from buying a real coffee table.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 31, 2017 - 8:45 PM

      Hi Andrea,

      I have done tea tables before. Hold on. You can see them here. https://laurelberninteriors.com/2016/11/23/ranch-home-boxy-low-ceilings-boring-hope/

      I did this room in 2000. We reupholstered the wing chair and foot stool and everything else is new including the tea tables. They were from Brunschwig and soooo expensive, but really lovely.ReplyCancel

      • Andrea - August 1, 2017 - 2:58 PM

        I’m crazy about the tea tables in the link you gave. Your rooms are timeless! Love the idea of two that could easily be moved around if needed. I also recall seeing one in your fabulous and memorable post about Furlow Gatewood. My living room is so small; really more like a parlor or sitting room, and the furniture is a wee bit on the formal side, so I’m moving forward with a more proper tea table than the one I’m using. You give me confidence!ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - July 30, 2017 - 11:47 PM

    Hello Laurel, You have a lot of great tables here and rules/suggestions for arranging them. Yet, another possibility is no coffee table at all–a room can be beautiful without one! They are often massive and often get cluttered with objects. End tables, near-by surfaces such as buffets, and small tray or occasional tables can be used, opening up the room and bringing people closer together.
    –JimReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 31, 2017 - 12:12 AM

      Thanks Jim. It’s true. I don’t have one, but there’s really no room.ReplyCancel

  • Camille McBride - July 30, 2017 - 10:13 PM

    Great post. Thanks. How about a companion to it. “End tables to go with your new Coffee Table”.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - July 30, 2017 - 1:28 PM

    Hello again, Laurel. One additional comment about my mother’s furniture. She was a very stylish lady, albeit not a decorator. She had a very clean lined design sensibility, and although her style is not my style, in terms of looks, her furniture has stood the test of time – in quality and design. But I guess that’s the way they made everything then. None of it is trendy. Many of the pieces have been reupholstered several times over, and each time I see a beautiful new piece of furniture. Mind you, this was furniture that was purchased in the ’50’s and ’60’s, but it is not of the mid-century modern style that has enjoyed such a resurgence as of late. AND it was furniture that was bought at a furniture store, no antiques, or showroom stuff.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 3:14 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Yes, the traditional furniture of the 50’s and 60’s is gorgeous! Smaller in scale and usually with beautiful detailing. Curved backs were very big. This is what I long to return and some of it has but it’s not very common. ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - July 30, 2017 - 1:19 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I have a couple of questions about coffee tables. In the first pic, you said the coffee table is leg heavy. What does leg heavy mean?

    (Personally I have never been a fan of the industrial style furniture that seems to be quite popular now. To me it just looks sort of junky, like it’s one step away from the curb, but hasn’t quite made it yet, but that’s just my opinion. I’m 100% in agreement with you on that one.)

    My second question is, how does one protect the surface of a coffee table? My mom used to have a piece of beveled glass made to fit the surface. (As a decorator, you are probably shuddering at this.) I don’t see anything protective on the tops of these tables, but maybe they are that way for the sake of the photograph. I have always liked the ottoman/coffee table combination, but there you also have the question of protecting a surface, and in this case, an upholstered one. I suppose the answer to that would be a tray.

    My third question is, in some of the photographs the chairs and sofas extend beyond the area rugs. I thought this was a big no-no, but maybe I am mistaken.

    Thanks again for an always interesting and informative post, and I hope you are scheduling some “me time”, and taking good care of yourself.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 3:11 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Leg heavy means that the legs are a little long. Great for a ballerina, but looks out of proportion here. I would’ve lopped a couple of inches off. But still if the room has a high ceiling and the seat of the sofa is high, then this is a great table.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - July 30, 2017 - 12:38 PM

    Hi Laurel- this is great. I am a decorating novice and your blogs and site have been such a resource! Not to mention your posts for the sales. I refer back to all of them like an encyclopedia! This post came at a perfect time! In process of buying two tables… formal living and family room. This morning I was thinking how in the heck am I going to narrow it all down. I’m in Pinterest/houzz/instagram overload! So riddle me this! I have a behemoth sofa in formal living room (92 inches) can I do a 40″ round coffee table? I have 4 kids (under 7) and rectangulars at this point in our lives gives me the shivers!!! Xoxoxo!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 3:09 PM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I can’t say with 100% certainty, but 40″ sounds a little small. Still, it also depends on the size of your seating area. But yes, for a more formal living room, a great looking say 48″ or 54″ round coffee table is hard to come by.

      I just added one I was considering putting in. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s one of the best more formal round coffee tables. The room setting it’s in is horrible, so I cropped it heavily.

      I’ve seen it in person and the finish is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Laura L Showalter - July 30, 2017 - 11:58 AM

    Laurel,
    wow some beautiful examples here, what do you think of large ottoman for a coffee table? I finally gave up on trying to keep the cats off the coffee table, and recovered a very large ottoman to accommodate kitty cats and stuff I actually want on the table. I use 2 large trays for beverages and a even bigger one for books and coasters. Just getting your take on this idea, Oh and I used an indoor outdoor fabric.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 12:02 PM

      Hi Laura,

      Ottomans are terrific and your solution is perfect! I debated including some, but as you can see my efforts to shorten my posts were thwarted as is. But I enjoyed putting this one together.ReplyCancel

  • Rose DiNapoli - July 30, 2017 - 11:33 AM

    I could never figure out how to articulate for my clients (because unbelievably a lot of them are blind to this) the difference between rustic and “wood top that looks like it survived a house fire”…. Can’t wait to use your line! Great blog, as always.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:55 AM

      Hi Rose,

      It just occurred to me that the way they get the wood to look like that is that they actually do put it in some sort of incinerator. lol Not enough to completely destroy it, of course. ReplyCancel

  • Christine - July 30, 2017 - 11:15 AM

    Talk about stress. I had just bought a new coffee table when I received your email: “Coffee Tables and The One to Boycott.” Oh, geez, don’t let it be the one I just bought! So, I hesitantly read through your blog, resisting the temptation to just scroll down and get the torture over with. I finally get to the, “I’m so sick of this coffee table,” and whew—it’s not the one I bought. Not that I didn’t come across it and kinda considered it while I was searching for the perfect coffee table. But i did end up buying one very similar to one that you suggested. I bought a cocktail table that’s gold with a travertine top and elegant legs. It should look fantastic with my off white sofas – correct size and everything. Thank you Laurel, I’m learning from you all the time.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:52 AM

      Hi Christine,

      I’m so sorry for the stress! Your table sounds gorgeous. But as I always say, even if I hate something, if you like it, that’s all that matters!ReplyCancel

  • Dorothy Lee - July 30, 2017 - 10:18 AM

    I found your coffee table choices and reasons for choosing, really interesting. I chose an oval glass topped two-tiered table because my living room is really small. I have grandbabies whose heads I don’t want to get bumped on square corners, the lower level holds books and magazines, and the metal rim around the glass makes a great race car track. Some day, maybe, I will be able to choose a coffee table and follow your directions! Love your website.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:50 AM

      Hi Dorothy,

      Please see my comment to Michele near the bottom of the comment thread. I have a different philosophy.

      This is coming from a mom who survived a son who was a head banger. Yes, that’s right. He intentionally would (without warning) bang his shockingly hard head into mine with all of his might when I was tucking him in bed and then would laugh himself silly.

      This happened frequently between the ages of 2-4 and then he stopped, just in time for me to bring his little brother into the world.

      I used to leave the room in tears because it hurt so badly.

      BTW, if you look at the post I linked to. The “head banger” is now the adorable young man with the trombone. He’s the sickest musician (plays several instruments) that God ever created and he’s the head of a music program at a day camp in Boston this month. So, so proud of him!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - July 30, 2017 - 9:44 AM

    Whoops, I have a table (actually it’s two benches) similar to the one not to get!!! Mine doesn’t have those bars along the floor. I have thought of painting it or perhaps having a top made for it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:36 AM

      Hi Jane,

      It’s okay. It’s the bar across the floor that makes me nuts. In fact, I had a couple of tables without the bar that were on the short list. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, yes! Paint it! Black or an antique gold. Or anything that works in your decor.ReplyCancel

  • Donna - July 30, 2017 - 9:06 AM

    Laurel,
    I caved in to hubbie’s desire for recliners and we got a double recliner “sofa” for the family room. You know the one with the little storage hatch and cupholders between. I did make him choose the least overstuffed, sleekest version of the bunch. Anyhow is there a way to even do a coffee table in front of sofas with recliners build in? Or just give up on the idea that a family room with recliners can ever be a bit stylish? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:34 AM

      Hi Donna,

      Sure, you can do a coffee table. Just allow enough room for when the behemoth decides to recline. Sofa, I mean. Not your husband. haha!ReplyCancel

  • RM - July 30, 2017 - 7:54 AM

    Dear Laurel,

    What do you think about the RH balustrade type of coffee table? We see them everywhere..seems like everyone has their version of it. We want something a little more casual and rustic, but not too rustic, and not trendy. I prefer a smoother finish and not the reclaimed rough look. I was surprised this style wasn’t the one you were going to say was trendy and past it’s prime! Would you include this too in that category? 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Marthajones - July 30, 2017 - 6:06 AM

    Thank you. This was a great help to me because I just purchase a home and I am trying decorate it. I do have a question I started in my Foyer it’s big enough to put a sofa and chairs in so my question is should I add a coffee table or notReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:30 AM

      Hi Martha,

      Well, then it’s like a sitting area in the entry. I had a client once with a huge entrance area.

      Not seeing the space, it’s impossible for me to advise you, however. Best I can do is suggest that you draw it out or put tape on the floor. Or bring something in from another room and see how you like it.ReplyCancel

  • Chris - July 30, 2017 - 4:38 AM

    Question: Is there a rule of thumb for choosing between a coffee table or a larger square ottoman used as a coffee table for a sectional in front of a tv in a den?
    I love that raw wood Safavieh Opium table. I’ve loved opium tables for neigh on 30 years but never had one.
    Can you see on your dashboard how many readers pick which tables to click on? That would be interesting to see which is the most popular! Thanks Laurel XOXOXReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:38 AM

      Oh, I didn’t answer question 1. No rule of thumb. Just whatever one prefers.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:28 AM

      Hang on a sec. Let me go and see… Yes, actually, I can see the number of clicks, although some of the tables have two links if they are in the widget and in the post too. But both of the Anthropologie tables are very popular as well as the Serena and Lily tables. The Safavieh Opium table is always popular.

      The Dorsay table from Wayfair (with the curvy gold x base) is number one for widget clicks. But the painted opium table is not far behind.

      And the glass and gold contemporary table from Kathy Kuo is doing very well.

      The octagonal (how do you say 12 angles?) table has had a lot of hits.

      It’s a little tedious to see because they are all mixed in with everything else. And at this point in the day, there aren’t vast differences between the top 10 or so.

      But over-all, the little round table from Anthro holds the number one spot. And no wonder. It’s well-priced and awfully good looking and a great size for sectionals and smaller sofas or where space is tight.

      BTW, the Imperial coffee table that’s white with classic lines is the worst photo ever. That’s a very lovely table. I did it for a client a couple of years ago and I did the round end table version. (in my portfolio) for another client earlier.

      I was debating adding in the end tables, but as one can see, it’s too much. Even with coffee tables, I’ve only made a small dent.ReplyCancel

  • Michele - July 30, 2017 - 4:21 AM

    Godmorgon from Norway! Timely post as ever, Laurel… have been wrecking my brain trying to figure out what kind of coffee table would work in our house. There are some lovely ideas in this post. And also in your post about coffee table styling. Especially liked the first table there, with the thick , shiny white top on a wooden (?) base, and the extra large ottoman.

    But, as you probably noticed from my posts, living on a farm continuously brings up the question of practicality. All these tables are so nicely styled – but where do people put their coffee?? Or, god forbid, their feet?

    Glass tops give a nice airy feeling – but then you have grubby fingers all over continuously. Any coffee table here should be either solid to the ground, or high enough so that we can easily vacuum clean under it. Not to mention that the legs should be able to withstand the vacuum cleaner banging into them. My family are barbarians when it comes to using coasters and such. They have damaged literally every nice table we have with water and heat rings, scratches, pen marks and so on. I am almost tempted to put in something with a concrete top, just so I don’t have to worry about it.

    Should I put a vignette in the middle, so the borders of the table are free for coffee mugs and plates? Should I put it on a tray so it can be moved – but where should I move it??

    Sigh. I think we could manage to keep our bookcases and hallway table looking nice, but I despair about the coffee table!
    Laurel, do you maybe have any practical tips how to have a nice looking coffee table that also works in a busy household with children and pets?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 11:09 AM

      Hi Michele,

      Oh, Godmorgan means Good morning!!!

      Here me please. And I imagine that I will be referring to this comment since it’ll be near the bottom.

      I raised the two most grimy, rambunctious (understatement) little boys (now huge men aka: barbarians) who ever crawled this good earth.

      And my darling Peaches. (also a boy) Oh, yes and wasband. :/

      Oh wait!!!

      You can see for yourself.

      https://laurelberninteriors.com/2014/10/15/decorating-white-furniture-without-nervous-breakdown-part-ii/

      And I had WHITE FURNITURE and a glass coffee table with a black wrought iron frame. I asked the blacksmith to make the corners extra sharp. ;]

      No seriously. All was fine. I trained them to wash their hands after eating and that helped.

      As for the photos in this post. They are styled to the hilt by a team of photo-stylists. This is not real life!

      I actually love books on coffee tables and one doesn’t need much more. The books make fabulous coasters and look so stylish.

      And BTW, after I had son #2 and started my business when he was only one, I got myself a cleaning lady! Worth every penny! ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - July 30, 2017 - 3:22 AM

    Laurel, you never cease to amaze me. I have the so-called “terminal” degree in English, taught a zillion years, retired, write, and I did not know the past tense of the verb “to sh*t” until this post. I can scarcely wait until the morrow when I can display my newfound knowledge. I just can’t tell you how much I love it! I just purchased another item from your Hot List. I always tell sellers where I discovered their items. Is that necessary?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 10:56 AM

      Hi Gaye,

      lol – well, that’s what my wasband always said and he speaks the Queen’s English. Sit Sat. Shit Shat. :]ReplyCancel

  • Lori Payton - July 30, 2017 - 1:56 AM

    Love the info on coffee tables. I was searching for one for our rec room today. Have a very large L shaped sectional in a narrow room. Very hard to find a coffee table that is long and narrow. I am looking for something simple and elegant and not too trendy. No mirror on top and hate the old burned wood look. So much furniture today looks like it is something that is more suitable for a cottage than an expensive home. I have pieces in our house from Henkel Harris, Harden etc. I bought some of them over 10 years ago and I still love them and was smart enough to buy clean lines even then without a lot of carving..so they still all work. Today everything is metal and not even well done solid brass like my Le Barge coffee table in our living room that is from Italy. I constantly search websites and can’t find much. Thank goodness I have some lovely pieces from years ago that I thought I would replace, but now that I see what is out there…forget that! I can look at things and tell that they are junk and poorly made but that does not mean they are inexpensive either.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 30, 2017 - 2:06 AM

      Hi Lori,

      Have you looked at Chairish? They have terrific tables of all kinds.

      Maybe you need two little tables? ReplyCancel