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!

Neutral-Boho-Modern-Living-Room

DESIGN DECISIONS:
important factors when picking my coffee table

FURNITURE WEBSITES MAKE IT SO EASY TO FIND YOU’RE LOOKING FOR- THESE ARE WHAT I’VE BEEN FILTERING ON FOR MY COFFEE TABLE SEARCH…

1. SIZE / SHAPE
*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!

2. COLOR
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

3. PRICE
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

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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.

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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!

KITCHEN STYLING 101

Since I painted our backsplash and I actually like our kitchen now, I've been researching the best way to style counters to make it look even better!  I put together some of my favorite tips and ideas -- you should save your counter space for a combo of items you use on a daily basis and also your prettiest kitchenware!


1.) LEAN ART, RECIPE BOOKS, OR CUTTING BOARDS.
I love leaning wood cutting boards against backsplash - they're beautiful and functional!  Art is an unexpected touch in the kitchen- and it doesn't have to be a picture of spoons or something kitchen related! Recipe books - especially ones with fun covers - look great stacked or leaning against backsplash!
2.) GROUP RELATED ITEMS ON TRAY OR CAKE STAND.
Grouping smaller items together helps your counter from looking cluttered.  I personally have my most used spices + cooking oils grouped together on a small cake stand.
3.) STICK TO A COLOR PALETTE.
Sticking to a color palette of 2-3 colors not only makes it easier for you to decide what to use, but it's easier on the eye.  Texture and different materials will add interest- ie: woven baskets, wood accents, and greenery.
4.) PUT EVERYDAY ITEMS INTO GLASS CONTAINERS.
If there's something you use a lot, like flour or pasta, empty it into different sized glass containers and label them!  We used to have ugly bright orange baby formula containers out because of how much we use it - I emptied it into a glass container from IKEA and now it's decor!
5.) WHEN IN DOUBT - KEEP IT SIMPLE!
You shouldn't have every square inch of your counters covered with stuff.  Put some space in between your decor to give it room to shine!  Nothing is worse than a cluttered looking kitchen!

via Studio McGee

via Studio McGee

5 SIMPLE THINGS TO MAKE A ROOM FEEL COMPLETE

It doesn't matter what room you're designing - there are five things you can add that are pretty much guaranteed to make it feel more pulled together and complete.  If there's a room in your home that doesn't feel quite right, go through the checklist and see if you're missing anything!

1.) Window Treatments.  I firmly believe that window treatments can make or break a room!  The right drapes can make your windows appear larger and more dramatic.  Beyond just aesthetics, window treatments obviously control the amount of light coming into a room and provide privacy when needed.  There are plenty of options available to help you achieve the look you want.

2.) Plants.  Whether real or faux (I prefer faux), every room needs a little bit of greenery.  If you have an empty corner that needs something decorative, chances are that an artificial tree will fill that space perfectly!  There isn't a room in my house that doesn't have some sort of greenery.

3.) Art.  Wall décor is something I struggle with BIG time.  However, once I do finally choose what to hang up, it instantly makes the space feel cozier.  Art is usually the last piece of designing a space, but it is really important!  Scale is key here - most people tend to choose art that is too small.  Always go bigger than you think you need.

4.) The Right Area Rug.  I have become an area rug-aholic!  I think every single room can benefit from area rugs- sometimes even multiple!  Area rugs help define a space, pull together a color scheme, and add texture.  Don't be afraid to add an area rug on top of wall to wall carpet either!

5.) Lighting.  This is more than just overhead lighting- it's the right pendants in your kitchen, a cool floor lamp in your living room, or stylish sconces in your office.  Even if you think your overhead lighting is sufficient, a well placed table or floor lamp will add to the overall ambience.