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New Grange Entertainment Stand, Canal Street Coffee Table, Cottage Road Side Table

The complete guide to living room tables

They’re living room must-haves: coffee tables and side tables. They can be the bookends of the sofa or the centerpiece of a space. So how do you choose ones that are right for your living space and needs?
 
Thanks to some of our favorite bloggers, Liz Fourez, Shannyn Allan and Colleen Ludovice, we’ve got the complete guide to selecting living room tables.
 
1.     Function: What are you using it for?

It’s called a coffee table, but we all know it’s more than that. Ask yourself these questions when considering the function of your coffee table:  
 
Do you need to store remotes, games, magazines or newspapers?

Edge-Water Lift-top Coffee Table
Hidden storage in the Edge Water Lift-top Coffee Table gives plenty of room for
board games and books. Photo courtesy Bob Vila

Will you be eating in the living room or using the table to set drinks on?

Soft Modern Coffee Table
The faux-marble finish top of the Soft Modern Coffee Table resists heat, stains and scratches so it’s safe to set your cup of coffee or tea on. Photo courtesy: Colleen Ludovice

Are you using the living room as a workspace?

Edge-Water Lift-top Coffee Table
Photo caption: The Edge Water Lift-top Coffee Table also makes a perfect “hidden home office”
in the living room. Photo courtesy Must Have Mom

Will you be kicking your feet up and relaxing?

Soft Modern Coffee Table, Eden Rue Side Table
Make the Soft Modern Coffee Table your go-to for kicking back and getting cozy.
Photo courtesy: Colleen Ludovice 
 
EXPERT PICK — COFFEE TABLE: Shannyn of Frugal Beautiful chose the Carson Forge Lift-top Coffee Table because she loves how it hides clutter and keeps food out of the dog’s reach!

Canal Street TV Stand
 
Side tables give you options for setting down a beverage, switching on an extra reading light and storing blankets, books or magazines. 

Cottage Road Side Table
Photo courtesy: Liz Fourez

EXPERT PICK — SIDE TABLE: Shannyn of Frugal Beautiful uses the Carson Forge Side Table on one end of her sofa because it offers a compact solution for storing an extra blanket and has a functional slide-out shelf for extra space.

Carson Forge Side Table
Photo courtesy: Shannyn Allan 
 
 
2.     Shape and size: What fits your space?

Consider if a round coffee table allows for a better traffic flow in the living room or prevents people from bumping into sharp corners. 

International Lux Round Coffee Table
The glass top of the International Lux Round Coffee Table keeps the living room looking open and spacious. Photo courtesy: Faith Towers

If your living room is large, a bigger coffee table (or even a pair of smaller tables) can act as a focal point to anchor the room. Another idea: Use an ottoman as a coffee table. It creates a soft and warm surface for kicking up your feet but can function just as easily with a tray on top.

Beginnings Large Storage Ottoman
The Beginnings Large Storage Ottoman paired with a decorative tray has hidden storage for blankets. Photo courtesy: A Grande Life

EXPERT PICK — COFFEE TABLE: Colleen of Inspired to Share chose the Soft Modern Coffee Table because the oval shape allows for ease of movement and the smaller size fits the scale of her sofa.

Soft Modern Coffee Table, Eden Rue Side Table
Photo courtesy: Colleen Ludovice

When it comes to side tables, look at how much space you have. Consider if you can fit two end tables on each side of the sofa. A round side table adds softness to a room, whereas a square or rectangular side table grounds a space.

EXPERT PICK — SIDE TABLE: Colleen of Inspired to Share uses the rectangular Eden Rue Side Table to fit in a tight space between her sofa and swinging sunroom door. The size is just right for the height of her sofa, and the open shelves offer opportunities for storage and styling. Not to mention, that geometric pattern? Love. 

Eden Rue Side Table
Photo courtesy: Colleen Ludovice
 
3.     Style and material: What fits your design and décor?

You know your style, so whether you’re glam, rustic, modern or more traditional, pick the table that suits your personality. 

International Lux Round Coffee Table
Going for glam? Try the International Lux Round Coffee Table. Photo courtesy: Monica Benavidez

If you want a cozy feeling, a coffee table with wood accents adds a warm, natural element to a room. 

Soft Modern Coffee Table
The faux marble and walnut finish of the Soft Modern Coffee Table give it a cool contemporary vibe. The Image courtesy: Bruno Bornsztein

International Lux Round Coffee Table
A glass table with a metal base, like the International Lux Round Coffee Table, creates a light and airy feeling that makes a room feel bigger while highlighting a cozy shaggy rug underneath. Photo courtesy: Melissa Johnson

Soft Modern Multi-Cart
Make a bold style statement with a colorful wheeled cart paired with fabric storage bins, like the Soft Modern Multi-Cart. Photo courtesy: The Scrap Shoppe

EXPERT PICK — COFFEE TABLE: Liz of Love Grows Wild picked the rustic wood finish top and industrial metal legs of the Canal Street Coffee Table because it offers versatility, fitting in with a mix of refined styles.  

Canal Street Coffee Table
Photo courtesy: Liz Fourez

There’s a little more room to play with style for side and accent tables. Consider mixing and matching styles, colors or finishes for an eclectic and modern feel, or match your end tables for a more traditional look. 

Soft Modern Round Side Table, Soft Modern Occasional Chair
The Soft Modern Round Side Table paired with the Soft Modern Occasional Chair makes a simple living room seating space. Image courtesy: Megan Brooke Handmade

EXPERT TIP: For styling a coffee table, Liz from Love Grows Wild likes to start with a tray as her base. Wood, metal, glass, woven — pick a style that suits your décor. Then add books, picture frames, candles, flowers or pottery to give it a casual, cozy look.

Canal Street Coffee Table
Photo courtesy: Liz Fourez

EXPERT PICK — SIDE TABLE: Liz of Love Grows Wild loves the Cottage Road Side Table because it’s finished on all sides so it can be used in the middle of her room between two upholstered chairs. She adds a small vase of flowers or greenery to breathe a little bit of life into the space.

Cottage Road Side Table
Photo courtesy: Liz Fourez
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