How to choose the perfect side or coffee table for your living room
Learn all you need to know about choosing the perfect coffee table for your living room
Finding the perfect living room side or coffee table
A side or coffee table is a must-have item for the living room, but how do you choose the right one?
With so many choices available, it’s hard to know where to begin, when you have to think about size, shape, material, types of legs, colour and so on. How do you intend to use it? To hold a lamp, magazines, knick knacks, or merely as a decorative item?
We take a look at what you need to consider when choosing a small table for your living room, combining function and form, and we finish with 5 stylish examples to help you choose your perfect piece.
What to consider when choosing a side or coffee table
The three main things to keep in mind when choosing a coffee or side table for your lounge are:
- A fit with your décor
- The style you’re after
It goes without saying that having a small table close at hand is always useful, whether it’s as somewhere to place objects that make up part of the living room décor, or as a handy surface to set your glass, cup or book down when you’re relaxing on the sofa or in an armchair.
Besides this practical aspect, when it comes to furnishing a living room, side and coffee tables are a fantastic decorative addition. If chosen wisely, they can bring together the entire room in a consistent, harmonious look. Or, if you choose a statement table, it can bring flair and creativity, transforming a neutral environment.
Every piece in the Salvatori side and coffee table range has been created with the idea of combining functionality and elegance. From single-coloured wafer-thin surfaces in neutral tones to striking geometric patterns and monolithic celebrations of glorious hues of natural stone, what links them all is stylish, contemporary design and the very best of Made in Italy values.
What to avoid when choosing a side or coffee table
A word of caution when choosing a side or coffee table. It’s easy to get carried away, but there are two things to avoid:
- Anything that is too discordant on the eye
- Tables that clutter the space
The aim should always be that the table fits in every sense with the environment it is placed in. It should not detract from the overall look by dominating or jarring, and likewise, it should not present an obstacle for moving around, nor mar the fluidity of the room. This is also where you need to think about the shape of your side or coffee table, as if you do have limited space, you certainly don’t want to be catching yourself on a sharp corner every time you pass.
Pictures are almost always more powerful than words when it comes to interior décor, so let’s take a look at 5 examples of different styles and shapes of small tables, and see if we can find the perfect solution for your living room!
Making your choice based on the available space
Let’s start with the space in which the table will be inserted. It needs to be placed so that you are able to stretch out your legs in comfort, but close enough that you can reach it from your seat, if you want to place your coffee cup or wine glass on it, for example. You should also be able to pass between a chair or sofa and the table with ease, so the general rule of thumb is to leave at least 60 cm between such pieces of furniture.
In a small living room, it’s almost always best to choose a small table and preferably with smooth edges, avoiding a thick chunky top. Thin surfaces will help make the environment feel lighter and less cluttered.
In this photo, a pair of Dritto coffee tables, with their unusual base in dark metal and extraordinarily thin top in Bianco Carrara marble, are an elegant addition to the living room. Placed side by side at a strategic distance from the sofa, they are both functional and decorative, with the combination of square and circle creating a pleasing aesthetic effect. Completing the look is the Urano floor lamp, Archimede mirror and a feature wall in our Chevron texture in the soft, creamy shades of Crema d’Orcia limestone.
Choosing the right height of side table
Another aspect to think about is the height of your side table, because it’s not a given that it should be low. Of course, this depends on where it’s going to be placed. If it’s in front of the sofa, then it makes sense that it’s low enough to stretch your legs out on, but beside an armchair or near a door, it will almost certainly be more useful at elbow height when seated.
For this living room with its pared-back décor, Salvatori has chosen a small, high table, placed just far enough away from the chair to fill the space next to it, but still within arm’s reach. The Pietra L05 side table is the perfect size and shape, providing a handy surface at the right level, without cluttering up the space. Pairing Bianco Carrara marble with a slender dark metal stem, it is totally at home in this environment, in harmony with the Pliss cabinet, which adds depth and interest with its textured facings.
The dark tones of the Gravity paperweight, Omaggio a Morandi decorative bottles and Fontane Bianche modular trays provide the perfect touch of contrast to the white marble, to create an elegant, airy environment.
Choosing a side or coffee table by style
As we have already mentioned, the wrong coffee table can completely distort the balance or look of a room, so the way to avoid this is to choose a piece that matches the overall décor style. For example, in a lounge in classic tones, a wooden table is most likely to work, whereas in a minimalist or industrial style space, something with metal elements is an ideal choice.
This photo shows just how finding the right table for a room can elevate the entire space to something special. With its deceptively simple, clean lines, the combination of light-coloured wood and marble and the lowslung legs, the Span coffee table could have been designed with this Oriental-style living room in mind.
The vast windows allow a lovely muted light to filter in, setting the mood of serenity, further aided by the neutral colour palette of the floor in Silk Georgette® Stone Tatami, interspersed with contrasting inserts in honed Pietra d’Avola.
The intrinsic calming essence of natural stone is also transmitted via the Urano lamp and the Pietra L10 vase which contains the perfect finishing touch in the form of cherry blossom, in homage to the beautifully understated and contemporary Japanese theme.
Choose a coffee table by colour
Furnishing a living room entails a host of rules if you want to achieve a stylish, harmonious look. If you don’t have a particular style in mind, a basic rule is to opt for a colour scheme that creates a sense of cohesion and in such a case, choosing your coffee table by colour absolutely makes sense.
Where strong or distinctive colours have been used on the walls or floor, it’s especially important to choose a table that works with these, so as to create continuity, and avoid a discordant effect whereby it seems that the different décor elements are fighting with one another for attention.
This image illustrates the point perfectly. The striking dark and white floor combination of alternating Bianco Carrara and Pietra d’Avola tiles is echoed in both the Proieizioni coffee table with its base in inky black Nero Marquinia and top in Bianco Carrara, while the white window frames and dark bench seat repeat the contrast, creating a space that is anything but bland, yet feels stylish and calming.
A coffee table that makes a design statement
A side or coffee table is also a great opportunity to make a design statement in your living room with an eye-catching, original piece.
This is particularly relevant in a pared-back, neutral space, where the right table can not only inject a real touch of flair and personality, but can also showcase your impeccable taste when it comes to choosing pieces that are a little different from the run of the mill, safe options.
Being daring doesn’t have to mean, however, that you sacrifice elegance and style, as this modern living room with its distinctive Ta_Volo® coffee table demonstrates to perfection. With its sliding brass bridge encasing a slab of gorgeous Bianco Carrara marble, it is extremely practical and a real attention grabber, but without disturbing the harmony of the room. It works perfectly with the delicate tones of Silk Georgette® limestone in classic honed finish on the floor and in Plissé on the wall and facings of the Balnea wall-mounted modular drawer unit.
Other design elements include a Dritto side table, Intarsi wall art, delicate Mono vases and Kilos bookends , all coming together to create an elegant modern living room that simply oozes understated luxury.