Design Process / Picking The Right Coffee Table

This year I’d like to include more blog posts about what my thought process is when designing rooms. I’ve learned a lot over the past year (and I’m still learning!) and I’d love to pass any knowledge or new ways of thinking about design onto you all!

I’ve been thinking about what type of coffee table to get for a while now. We were originally waiting because when our now toddler was first starting to walk, he had a tendency to hurt himself on any and all furniture- so it was just easier to not have one! Now that he’s a mature one-and-a-half year old (LOL), he has a little more control over his body and the only foreseeable issues are him 1.) climbing on top of it or 2.) pushing it out of the living room. BUT he has to learn appropriate behavior somehow, right?! So keep reading to see what I’ve been thinking about throughout my coffee table search!


important factors when picking my coffee table


*general rules of thumb:
-you should leave about 12-18” of space between coffee table and any seating
-height should be same as sofa seat or 1-2” lower

MY FILTER: 28” - 32” + ROUND ( I decided on round because this space is on the smaller side and round would make for easier flow of traffic)

*as with any design “rule” - these are just meant to guide you in the right direction, there will always be exceptions to the rule!

My style is very neutral. One thing I already knew was that in order to keep neutral or tonal rooms from feeling boring was to incorporate different textures. However, something that I kept forgetting to keep in mind was that in addition to texture, contrast is also very important in a room! I realized this when I couldn’t put my finger on why I wasn’t happy with my living room- it wasn’t because it needed any color, it’s because it needs something to break up the tans + whites. Contrast can also be bringing in a new material or mixing wood tones. I’m also not just looking at how the coffee table will look in the living room. Our dining room opens up to this space, so I’m keeping in mind the different colors and tones of wood that are in there.

MY FILTER: White, Gray, Brown

I don’t want to spend a ton on a coffee table, but I also would rather spend a little more on the “right” one than settle for a cheaper one that I just end up getting sick of in 2 months. I’ve been filtering for coffee tables under $300, but ideally would like to keep it under $250.

Another thing I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind is the weight of the coffee table (but this is not make or break). Our son is absolutely insane, and it would just make life easier if the coffee table was too heavy for him to push out of the room. I joked with my husband that it can’t be on the edge of heavy where he can sort of push it, because then it will just end up making him stronger haha! #boymomlife

*this post contains affiliate links


Sadly, after searching high and low… there weren’t many options for smaller coffee tables in my price range. I did however find a TON that I loved that were way too big… so if you’re in the market for a coffee table that’s 35” wide or bigger, you’re in luck! So anyway… for me, it really came down to two different tables - and one of the tables had two shades of wood I was considering.

You can see table number one in the photo above. I love this shade of wood, and I think it’s one that could compliment a lot of different furniture! My main concern is that when just looking at the living room, it’s not enough contrast and would just fall flat.


The shape of this second coffee table grabbed my attention right away, but I wasn’t totally sold on either of the two colors right away. I was worried the dark one would be too dark with the dining room furniture and side chair (my number one interior design pet peeve is a room with ALL DARK BROWN FURNITURE)! The “natural” wood color they offer really comes off as orangey/yellow on the website. I tried finding other photos of it through google but really had no luck. I suspect that it’s not actually that color in real life, but I’m not sure I want to take the risk of having to lug it into the store to return it if I don’t like it.

When I first started writing this post, I was still deciding on which one to buy. Since finishing though, I’ve pulled the trigger on one! Which do you think I went with?! I’m excited to show you all, and maybe a coffee table styling post will be coming in the future!