Coffee Table Styling

Coffee Table Styling
Posted in: Whats Hot, Products

Coffee Table Styling

Coffee tables have been an interior asset since the Victorian era. Although not strictly in the same styles that we see today, ‘tea tables’ as they were then called, were a staple in any regarded household and were often brought into the centre of the room to display the cups, saucers and exotic teas beloved by high society. These tea tables were much higher in stature and would probably be more similar to today’s console tables. However, with the rise of ‘coffee houses’ opening all over London in the late 1600s, coffee soon became the drink of choice and we can safely assume that’s why the tables got rennamed.

It wasn’t until 1938, though, that the coffee table was defined as a “low, wide table used before a sofa.” 

Why are coffee tables called coffee tables?

As mentioned above, coffee tables evolved from the taller Victorian tea table, which was used to display a range of exotic teas and fine china. These tables became known as coffee tables when coffee became de rigueur, acting as a convenient surface to rest your hot drink on between sips.

The perfect coffee table

So, what constitutes the perfect coffee table? Ultimately, that comes down to your personal preferences regarding style, material, shape and size. However, our very own Read Coffee Table was designed to tick all of the boxes.

Entirely artisan-made in India, the Read Coffee Table is a large circular coffee table with a stunning palette of burnished charcoal and dull gold. It has a slimline plinth base which has beautiful ridges that add texture and edge. At first glance, the table is minimalist and streamlined, but the added details and colourway create a more complex and versatile piece that works well anywhere.

Round vs Square coffee tables

When choosing between rounded or square coffee tables, you’ll want to consider both practical and aspirational points. For example, a huge practical advantage of choosing circular over square is no nasty pointed corners to hit your legs on, and lower risk of harm to any pets or small children. However, from an aesthetic point of vew, you might prefer to keep your lines straight and severe. This is a great first question to start with, as it will narrow down your search and allow you to get an idea of what coffee table is perfect for you and your space. Once you’ve figured that out, you can continue to choose your dream table by consulting the guide below.

Styling your coffee table: a definitive guide

Coffee tables are an interior investment that will define your living space and act as a centrepiece or focal feature for all to admire. They also provide ample opportunity for seasonal styling with books, sculptures, candles and much more - they’ve come a long way since their coffee pot days. Here, you’ll find our answers to some of the most frequently asked coffee table styling questions. Read on for expert advice on everything from what coffee table works well with a leather sofa to the best coffee table books.

Is a coffee table necessary?

A coffee table is a great addition to social spaces and is a convenient perch for drinks, remotes and other essentials. It’s also a focal statement that cements your style. Whether or not you need a coffee table will come down to one simple deciding factor - space. If you’re working with a large social area that has a generous footprint, you’ll easily be able to add in a table without it impeding access to the sofa or overpowering the room. However, if you’re furnishing a studio or have quite a small lounge, you might be better off opting for a stylish side table instead.

How big should a coffee table be?

The size of your ideal coffee table will again come down to personal preferences and the size of the space you’re working with. Available sizes differ between brands, with coffee table widths ranging from anywhere between 50 to 90cm. To plan out what size will work for you, you should measure your space and perhaps place a paper template down to ensure that you will have enough clearance to walk around it, but without placing it too far away from your seating so that you have to stretch to reach. You want to hit it just right for a comfortable experience.

Should my coffee table be higher or lower than the sofa?

For ergonomic comfort, you should aim to keep your coffee table lower than your seat, but only by a few centimetres. Avoid anything that sits 10cm lower or higher than your sofa, because not only will this look impractical and odd, it will also make for an uncomfortable experience. 

What’s trending in coffee tables?

Coffee tables, like everything else in life, are subject to trends, styles and different eras. Our Serenity is a classic example of a Mid-century inspired coffee table, while the Maven is a strictly contemporary marble and metal number. At Where Saints Go, we encourage our shoppers to invest in timeless, iconic pieces based on their own preferences. 

What coffee table works with a leather sofa?

Natural wood is a great option alongside leather, which is why our Destiny Coffee Table is a great contemporary all-rounder that works well anywhere. If you want to incorporate some metal into this look, then the layered Trinity is an ideal choice.

What coffee table works with a fabric sofa?

The design of coffee table you choose will ultimately come down to personal preference. However, when styling a fabric sofa with a coffee table, you can either play it safe with the all-black versatility of the wooden Haven, or go for something slightly bolder and deeply luxurious in the form of the metal and marble Maven. If your fabric texture or pattern is busy, opt for a more simplistic coffee table. On the other hand, if your sofa fabric is fairly plain, you can dress the room up with a busier coffee table.

What should I put on my coffee table?

You’ve arrived at the million-dollar question. What you put on your coffee table will be a tangible reflection of your personal style and interests. The most popular choices include vases, sculptures, tissues, candles, coaster sets and books. 

What are coffee table books?

The coffee table book is (usually) a glossy hardback volume of high-quality images accompanied by sparse text. This type of book is the ultimate luxury accessory and has been used to convey wealth, intrigue and culture in people’s homes for centuries.

Interestingly, the first book to be used as an accessory to interior design dates all the way back to the 16th century, when French philosopher Michel de Montaigne lamented that his works ‘only serve ladies’ who wanted to display his books in their ‘parlour windows’ to give off the impression that they were intellectual, well-read and of a higher social status.

Fast-forward to the present day, and these types of books are still coveted around the world, used much for the same purpose as de Montaigne’s works all those years ago.

Are coffee table books outdated?

No. If you look at any inspirational interior pieces by Architectural Digest or Vogue, you’ll soon find that the coffee table book supremacy continues to live on. 

How to choose coffee table books

There is quite literally a coffee table book on everything - you should choose yours based on your own personal interests and preferences. Popular topics include fashion, travel, cars and art. We suggest having a good look through the Assouline range for inspiration.

Coffee tables with storage

Combine the architectural allure of a coffee table with the convenience of storage. Many models will have separate shelving, compartments or drawers built-in to the design for this purpose. Popular choices include the Richmond, Trinity and Zenith