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How to Choose a Coffee Table Shape

How to Choose a Coffee Table Shape

Next to the sofa, the coffee table is the hardest-working piece of furniture in your living room. It’s part of the decor but also serves as a footrest, a dinner table, and a place to store your latest novels. The right shape can enhance your aesthetic and make the living room more functional for family and guests.

Curved Coffee Tables

Break up Straight Lines

Curved coffee tables are easy on the eyes. The rounded edges soften the look of your living room. Circle and oval coffee tables tend to look lighter, making them a cohesive choice for small living rooms. The lack of sharp corners protects your shins as you’re navigating a tight space, and can also prevent injuries in homes with small children.

Play With Space

When the walkway in front of the coffee table is narrow, consider a kidney-shaped table. The concave edge creates even more room for foot traffic, and the wide top provides space for plates and cherished photo albums to sit without feeling cramped.

Make Curves Feel Contemporary

A trendy organic coffee table that speaks to the desire for living spaces with an easy flow. Create a harmonious vibe for weekend arts and craft projects by pairing the table with other asymmetrical elements. For example, decorative plants, abstract wall mirrors, and rounded accent chairs let your eyes glide smoothly around the space. Or, indulge your rebellious side and create a breathtaking contrast by pairing an organic table with stark, angular furniture and decor.

Geometric Coffee Tables

Add Stability

With their defined edges, geometric coffee tables make a strong style statement. The straight lines and crisp corners balance a living room filled with plush furniture and thick rugs, so you can feel more grounded when you’re sprawled out on the couch or playing with the kids on the floor.

Match Any Aesthetic

Rectangular coffee tables are among the most versatile shapes on the market. You can find models to match formal Edwardian drawing rooms and elegant mid-century modern homes. On the other hand, square coffee tables tend to be associated with contemporary interior design styles. The pronounced symmetry attracts attention and highlights the materials, giving you an opportunity to show off reclaimed wood or gleaming gold metal.

Shake up Your Style

If you like your interior decor to keep you on your toes, use the unexpected angles of a triangular or hexagonal coffee table to bring a simple space to life. One table can look lost against a large sofa; try two nesting tables to reinforce the strong shape and create more space for your favorite large hardcover books.

Choosing a Coffee Table Shape That Complements Your Seating Arrangement

Since seating is the dominant element of most living rooms, it’s important to choose a coffee table shape that supports the style and functionality of your sofa and chairs.

Coffee Tables for Standard Sofas

Whether or not they’re paired with accent chairs, standard sofas pair well with rectangular or oval tables. The width and depth echo the sofa’s general proportions, and you can easily set your morning coffee mug, or evening cocktail glass, down from any spot.

Coffee Tables for Larger Furniture Groupings

These require bigger coffee tables, both for visual balance and to ensure each of your guests has space to put down their cocktail glass between sips. For a room with a sofa and a loveseat, look for a large rectangular or square coffee table. If your seating arrangement has three or four sides, place a substantial square or round coffee table in the center.

Coffee Tables for Sectional Sofas

When choosing a coffee table for a sectional sofa, consider the configuration. Round tables make it easy for your family members to walk to their favorite spots in a U-shaped corner or apartment sectional. A rectangular or oval table slips neatly into the space next to the chaise on an L-shaped sectional so that everyone can reach the popcorn on movie night, even while sitting on the floor. To free up floor space for yoga without compromising TV dinners, try an L-shaped coffee table.

Should Coffee Table Shapes Match End Tables?

Coffee tables and end tables don’t have to match. In fact, contemporary interior design tends to favor mismatched pieces. If you’re an artist in need of a creative space, contrasting shapes can create visual interest, making your room feel more dynamic and energetic for sparks of inspiration. Similar shapes feel more predictable, so they tend to have a calmer, more relaxed feeling that’s perfect for hanging out with family or reading a book in front of the fire. Keep the space feeling current by choosing tables in different materials.

Coffee Tables and Area Rugs

Area rugs can affect your coffee table’s visual impact. Maintain a round coffee table’s serene, elegant aesthetic with a large rectangular area rug that extends underneath your furniture. If you want an animal rug to be the room’s focal point, look for a smaller square or rectangular coffee table. The straight sides and clean corners stand out from the organic edges, drawing attention downward. A rounded coffee table echoes the rug’s curves, creating a more cohesive look that allows a grand fireplace or an oversized painting to command guests’ attention.

Coffee Table Base Shapes

Slim Base

Coffee tables often have base shapes that are as distinctive, if not more so, than the top. In small spaces and minimalist homes, coffee tables with open-frame bases and delicate, barely there legs can help you create a light, airy feeling that makes a compact city apartment seem more spacious. A pedestal base also frees up space under the table, giving you plenty of room to stretch your legs while catching up with either world news or news feeds. When you’re furnishing a studio or guest suite, a corner coffee table pairs perfectly with a club chair to create a space-efficient reading nook for one.

Heavy Base

On the flip side, if you want to make a large living room feel more inviting, choose coffee tables with bigger tops and heftier bases. A drum coffee table’s closed base creates a bulky visual that balances high ceilings and overstuffed furniture, so your friends immediately feel relaxed and centered while stopping by for quick life updates over tea.

Sculptural Base

Medium and large rooms are also opportunities to experiment with bold base shapes. Organic forms, radiant starbursts, and bold geometric frames echo the lines of your bookshelf sculptures and modern paintings, giving the room a chic, artistic vibe that begs to be shown off during intimate cocktail parties.

The ideal coffee table has the right size, shape, and proportion to fit in your living room and work well with the rest of your furniture. To learn about different coffee table factors, see our Coffee Table Buying Guide.