How To Choose Your Coffee Table: Part 1


A space to stash your mags or showcase your favourite vase, home to the remote or a tootsie-rest during the evening news assault. Frequently uncelebrated in its own right, the coffee table can end up an afterthought within your design scheme.

But, whether it’s an understated anchor or a statement piece within your room, it is no longer just a home for doilies. It has a strong influence on the harmony within your living space.

Believe it or not, your table can make or break your aesthetic.

From left: Replica Isamu Noguchi Coffee Table, Soundslike HOME Edito Rectangle Coffee Table, GLOBE WEST Vittoria Round Coffee Table and Dover Mason Brompton Coffee Table, available online at Zanui.


Getting the ratio of coffee table to sofa right is key to creating a balanced aesthetic in your lounge.

A general rule of thumb is that your coffee table should be ½ to ⅔ the length of your sofa. If your coffee table is ⅓ the length or smaller, it can look lost in the larger room. If it’s larger, it competes rather than complements your sofa suite.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken. But it’s a bit helpful hint if you’re keen to avoid that slightly skewy look. 😉

Image source from left: via and


Goldilocks demonstrated the lows and highs of searching for furniture sized “just right” (granted – her methods had a somewhat loose relationship with legality). And sometimes it feels like the search for perfect is never-ending.

When it comes to the table, height is significant. In an ideal world, the tabletop would be no more than 5cm lower than the seat of your sofa. The standard height sits around the 40 – 46cm.

Image source from left: via, and

If you’re a keen entertainer you might want to opt for a taller specimen – say around 50-53cm. It’s easier for your guests to reach to discard their dessert plate and reach for the muscat, sample the quince paste or have a sliver more brie.

Similarly a lightweight option is handy if you intend on relocating it from room to room to accommodate your soirees and dinner parties. Some side and coffee tables also double as additional seating.

Image source from left: via, and via


Seriously consider your room. Take a good hard look at it. Are you rich in space or a little… errr… impoverished? (eep!) Be honest – there are ways to work with each room’s quirks.

The ideal distance from the edge of the sofa to the edge of your coffee table is 46cm. (Precise, isn’t it?) That’s close enough for you to comfortably rest your single malt or your mag whilst still gifting you enough space to stretch your legs. (Apparently).

From left: GLOBE WEST Deco Square Side Table, Zanui Harley Purple Round Side Table, NF Living Zane Stool, Madras Link Patio Decorative Stool and Soundslike HOME Substation Nesting Table Set of 3, available online at Zanui.

The ideal gap between the outer edge of your table and your entertainment unit is 76cm, or 61cm if you have a narrow room.

If you have a smaller room and you’d like the versatility of a larger coffee table space for entertaining – consider a stackable option perhaps in glass. 😉

From left: Phil Bee Interiors Bone Inlay Round Coffee Table, Globe WEST Elle Caja Round Coffee Table, Soundslike HOME Tropica Round Woody Coffee Table Large and SydneySide Baker Drum Coffee Table, available online at Zanui.

And this is just part one. Stay tuned for more tips on how to choose your coffee table!

Featured image source: via and

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.