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How to Choose the Right Size & Shape Coffee Table for Your Living Space

November 15, 2021

How to Choose the Right Size & Shape Coffee Table for Your Living Space

Est. Reading Time: 7 Mins

Many important elements make up a cozy and stylish living room design. 

After you have chosen a comfortable seating arrangement, whether it be a sofa, sectional, chair, or a combination, the next step is to choose a coffee table.

The coffee table is an essential piece of furniture in the living room as it ties the seating arrangement together and offers a practical surface to place drinks, snacks, or a good book. 

Although necessary, choosing a coffee table isn’t always easy. With so many sizes and shapes to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which coffee table best suits your space.

At La-Z-Boy, we have over 90 years of experience selling quality and comfortable reclining furniture, but our selection goes beyond the iconic recliner chair. Through partnerships with manufacturers such as American DrewKincaid, and Hammary, we offer a range of occasional tables, including coffee tables, to complete any living room design. 

In turn, many of our clients ask us for advice on choosing a coffee table of the right size and shape to complement their living room arrangement. 

With expert advice from Zeina Badawi, an interior designer at La-Z-Boy Kanata, this article will outline all the considerations when choosing the right coffee table, including size, shape, material, and placement.



In This Article...

  1. Coffee Table Size (Width, Height & Length)
  2. Coffee Table Shape
  3. Coffee Table Material & Weight
  4. Coffee Table Placement


Coffee Table Size (Height & Length)

When it comes to the size of your coffee table, first access the scale of your room and the size of your seating, whether it be a sofa, sectional, or chair. 

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It is a good idea to measure your space and determine how much room you have for a coffee table before beginning your search.  

Check out the article How to Measure a Room for the Right Furniture for helpful tips!

Coffee Table Width

According to Zeina, the ideal coffee table is two-thirds the width of your sofa. Regardless of the shape, she recommends proportioning both pieces under this scale.

Coffee Table Height

For ideal comfort and aesthetic appeal, a coffee table's height should align with or be within 2-3 inches of the sofa seat height. The closer the match in height, the better the overall effect.

If the table is too tall or too short, it won’t be practical or stylish.

Coffee Table Height


Coffee Table Length

It is important to consider your space and the traffic flow in your living room when considering the length of a coffee table. 

You want to ensure that there is enough space for your family and guests to walk around the table with ease.

As a rule of thumb, leave 17 inches of space from each end of your coffee table.

Coffee Table Length


Coffee Table Shape

When it comes to choosing the perfect coffee table, the shape can make all the difference. With options ranging from rectangular and square to round and oval, it can be difficult to know which shape best complements your living room.

As a general rule of thumb, it's a good idea to select a table shape that complements your seating arrangement. 

Each shape has its own unique advantages, so consider which type of seating you have and choose accordingly…

Oval & Rectangular coffee tables pair nicely with sofas.

Round & Square coffee tables look great with sectionals or larger furniture groupings.

Round coffee tables are especially well-suited for placement in living rooms with sectionals featuring a chaise, as well as in rooms with accent chairs or smaller furniture groupings.

Coffee Table Size & Shape Guide

Remember that these suggestions are just recommendations, not hard-and-fast rules. Choosing the ideal coffee table shape for your living room depends on a variety of factors, including the size and layout of your space, as well as your personal preferences. 

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So don't be afraid to get creative and consider different shapes and arrangements until you find the perfect fit for your home.

Rectangular Coffee Tables

The rectangle coffee table is the most common shape for a reason: it pairs seamlessly with traditional, standard-sized sofas and provides ample surface area for decor or beverages. 

This classic design is versatile enough to complement a wide range of living room styles and configurations, making it an excellent choice for many homes.

Rectangular Coffee Table


Square Coffee Tables

As previously mentioned, a square coffee table pairs nicely with a sectional or large furniture arrangement.

The square nicely fills the empty space in the middle of a sofa with a chair or a sectional configuration.

With this being said, square tables can also be creatively paired with a traditional sofa. 

While the length and width of one square may appear small and awkward in proportion to the sofa, two squares side-by-side look great, creating a balanced and cohesive look. 

Two squares not only double the surface area but also offer more visual intrigue than a familiar rectangular coffee table.


Round Coffee Tables

Similar to a square table, a round coffee table also works well when paired with a sectional, as it fills the space in the middle of the configuration nicely.

In comparison to a square coffee table, the round shape has a more continuous and smooth look to it. 

Not to mention, a round coffee table lends to smoother traffic flow as nobody has to worry about bumping into sharp edges. 

Round Coffee Table

Given that a round table offers less surface area than a rectangle, you may consider supplementing the seating area with side tables. 

Further, you may also consider using two round tables, side-by-side, like the squares or two round nesting tables. In fact, a circle is a versatile shape that you can have fun playing around with. With soft edges, you may even stagger the round tables for a more interesting design and varied walking space. 

You may even pair one large table with one or two smaller tables.

round coffee table


Oval Coffee Tables

An oval coffee table combines the best characteristics of a round coffee table and a rectangular coffee table.

An oval coffee table is a versatile choice that pairs well with both sofas and chaises, as well as traditional sofa styles. Like round coffee tables, the oval shape lacks sharp edges, making it a kid-friendly option that's also practical for households with pets. 

For extra peace of mind, consider using an upholstered ottoman as a coffee table, providing a soft and safe surface for children to play around while still serving as a functional piece of furniture.

An ottoman in leather or La-Z-Boy iClean fabric is not only safe for children, but spills and crumbs are easily cleanable.


Oval Coffee Table


Abstract/Organic-Shaped Coffee Tables

Finally, there are coffee tables on the market that come in abstract shapes made of stone, metal, glass, and wood.

Coffee Table Organic MaterialsCoffee Table Absract Shape

Abstract shapes inspire movement in the living room design as they give off a dynamic look and sense of fluidity. 

Not to mention, this type of coffee table can appear quite interesting and add dimension to the room. 

Given that abstract shapes come in unique forms, it is difficult to recommend what type of seating arrangement it best pairs with. 

Simply analyze the size and shape of the coffee table and consider the size and scale compared to the sofa.

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Coffee Table Material & Weight

Aside from size and shape, the material and type of coffee table you choose can also have a significant impact on the overall feel of your living room. 

According to design expert Zeina, it's essential to consider the "weightiness" of the coffee table in relation to your other furniture pieces. 

The material and weight of the table should complement the rest of the room, creating a sense of proportion and balance that ties the space together.

For example, a retro and narrow sofa should be paired with a coffee table of similar weight and proportion. Something heavy looking, even if it is the right size, will throw off the look and balance of the room.

In contrast, a big, bulky, and plush sofa is best paired with a heavy and sturdy-looking coffee table. A dainty coffee table would look underwhelming next to a sofa of such stature.


Coffee Table Placement

Once you have found a coffee table of the correct size, shape, and material, you should also consider placing a coffee table in your space. 

Ideally, the coffee table should sit in the center of an area rug, with the seating arrangement placed around it. According to Zeina, this is not always possible, depending on the room's shape and overall furniture layout. 

If the table cannot be placed in the center of the area rug, ensure that the table lives at the center of the conversation area, says Zeina. There should be 12 to 17 inches between the coffee table and the seating. This creates comfortable legroom and makes it easy to reach for your drink.

sofa side-01 copy

For more information on furniture placement, check out 8 Practical Tips for Arranging Your Living Room Furniture.


What's Next?

Now armed with all the necessary information, you can select the perfect coffee table for your living room seating arrangement. 

Whether you opt for a classic rectangular table, a sleek and modern round option, or something in between, just remember to consider the size, shape, and material carefully to ensure that it complements your space and fits your needs. 

At La-Z-Boy, we understand the importance of finding the right coffee table to complete your living room. 

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That's why we offer a range of coffee tables in various shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your space. 

Our design consultants can always assist you and show you our entire coffee table selection at any of our Ottawa or Kingston locations

And if you want to take it a step further, we offer complimentary design services to help you make the most of your space and create a cohesive look throughout your home. To ensure a stress-free shopping experience, you can even schedule an appointment with our design consultants online ahead of time. Visit our website or give us a call today to get started.


Related Links:

How Much Does a Coffee Table Cost?

Best Furniture Stores for Coffee Tables in Ottawa

Ideas for Decorating your Living Room: Tips From a La-Z-Boy Designer

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