Sometimes the coffee table is the last piece of the living room, chosen after the seating. Select the right coffee table and the parts line up, pick the wrong one and no matter how you try, the puzzle is not completed.

It is because the coffee table is the anchor piece that stabilizes the room.  It’s the furniture that usually, but not always, that sits in the centre of your seating arrangement, and takes centre stage and it’s the piece where you can showcase your curated collection reflecting your personality.  Try not to neglect this anchor to your room.

Here are some tips for you:

Work with your space, Measure, Measure and Measure
You will want to have the edge of the sofa, or chairs to the edge of the coffee table about 18 inches, which will be comfortable enough to reach a your drink or put a book down, but enough distance to stretch out your legs.  Far too often you will see rooms that leave too much distance between the seating and sometimes not enough room.
To work with this guideline of 18 inches, arrange your furniture seating, and then place your table in this area and measure.  If there is too much of a gap, your will want to re consider your coffee table.
If you are purchasing a coffee table, again measure in from your furniture seating area, now you are ready to determine the size of the coffee table you will need.  Some of my clients even use even use painters tape on the floor to help them visualize the size required.

Measure for traffic flow
You will want leave about 30 inches from the outer edge of the coffee table to the TV stand or the book case or other large objects.

Lastly Measure for the Right Height to ensure balance
Aim for the flat surface of the coffee table to be about one or two inches lower than your sofa seat.  Many tables are 16”inches to 18” high. If you have a higher sofa, consider a slightly taller table.

Tom Harvey of Treehouse Interiors, in Kelowna, also advises: “Ideally a coffee table will be no more than 2/3’s the length of your sofa and definitely do not extend the coffee table part the arm of the sofa”.

Balance and Contrast your Style
Try not to overly match your sofa style and colour tone.  In my experience, this is where things can go side-ways.  Many people will think if they have a dark leather sofa in brown they need to match the table with an equally dark and heavy piece.  What usually happens is that the room becomes un-balanced.  You have created a dark heavy hole where your furniture is sinking.  Instead, try to strike a balance between your sofa and coffee table styles.  If you have a plush, solid-coloured sofa try a glass on a pewter frame.  If your couch is slim and more streamlined, your’re fine with a chunkier table, maybe the one with a thick wood top.

Glass and or Metal Coffee tables
Conversely, think about glass tables as they are less bulky than wood, but still provide you with the same surface space.  It’s ok to put your drink down on a glass surface.
If you’re room has a lot of wood in it already, a metal table or a glass table with metal base will breathe new life into your room and is an excellent complement.  Don’t mix metals as it can become dated quickly and try to insure your purchase quality.  These tables can vary significantly in cost, but if you look closely, you will see why there is difference in the price.

Wood Coffee tables
Nothing warms up room more that wood, but it is heavier look.
It grounds the space and adds texture where you may need it.
Use a wood table in a room that has the space.

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By Louise Lambert
Westside Weekly, Nov 5, 2016