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How To | Find the Perfect Coffee & Side Tables with these 3 Tips

Coffee tables silently steal the show in your living room, and side tables are their partners in crime.  They seem simple at first, but you will come to notice that are actually the center for all activity.  You sit around the coffee table, prop your feet up on it, place your best pieces of literature on it, adorn it with decor to match your style or the current holiday season, and sometimes use it as a dinner table.  As such, the style of coffee table that you choose is of the utmost importance.  Style alone won’t make a coffee table great for your space.  These professional tips will help you to choose the best coffee tables and side tables for your home.

Determine Use

The first step in choosing the best coffee table for you and your family is to be realistic about how it will be used.  A coffee table for your family room will serve a very different purpose than that of a coffee table for your formal living room.  For your family room, a coffee table will need to be extremely durable.  You will need it to withstand the gnawing of a toddler with new teeth, the crayons of a kindergartener, the feet and coaster-less cups of a teen, and more!  Tip: a coffee table with an easy to clean surface and without pointy edges is perfect for a family room.  An upholstered, rounded, or stain-proof table would be perfect for a family space.

A more formal area where you invite guests and where children rarely play could house a more luxurious coffee table.  A sleek and modern black marble coffee table like the Toronto Square is a versatile and minimalist design that can compliment many living rooms.

Determine Size

The length, width, and height of your coffee table should be in proportion to the furniture pieces surrounding it.  If they are not proportional, your living room could feel either empty or cluttered.  A modern, low-seated couch paired with a traditional coffee table made for taller couches would make your living room setup inconvenient and uncomfortable.  How do you determine what size table you need?  Follow these simple tips to figure it out:


The height of your coffee table should be the same height or 2.5-5 centimetres (1-2 inches) lower than the height of the seat of your couch.  For example, this wood coffee table is 38 cm high.  It should be paired with seats with heights ranging from 38 cm to 41 cm.

Side table heights should be either the same height or 2.5-5 cm lower than the arm of the chair or sofa near it.  A small side table like the Scandinavian style Joshua 1 Drawer Side Table would pair perfectly (45 cm high)


The length of a rectangular or oval table should be roughly ⅔ the length of the couch that it compliments.  There is more room for a difference in length with square and circular coffee tables.  Square and circular tables that stand alone should measure about half the length of the sofa that they complement. Tip: pair two square coffee tables together, or group circular tables together to reach your desired length.  Pairing coffee tables together also allows you to easily change the layout of your living room.

Determine Style

You can purchase matching coffee tables and side tables to compliment the style your living room furniture.  The unique Jackson round side table matches the Jackson coffee table.  They are a good-looking pair!  A modern couch has a low seat height and this two-toned table set is the perfect style to compliment it.

Tip: instead of using matching table sets, use tables that reflect the same style.  A modern marble coffee table with a gold base would pair well with a solid, sculptural, all-gold side table.  A concrete coffee table with a wooden tabletop surface work well with a table with inverted materials.  Pair it with a side table made of a concrete tabletop and a wooden base.  This will create an intriguing juxtaposition and an interesting design.

The styles, shapes and sizes of coffee tables and side tables are limitless.  It is up to you, and possibly your designer, to choose the correct tables for your space.  The search could be long and difficult, or you can simplify it by following the rules outlined above.  The quicker you are able to narrow down the necessary requirements, like the length and height, the sooner you’ll be able to choose a colour and style that compliment your space.  The sooner you choose your tables, the more time you’ll have to enjoy them in your space.  Happy coffee table and side table shopping!