Coffee Table Inspiration and Ideas


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There is probably no piece of furniture I dislike more than coffee tables. Now I’m in the market for TWO coffee tables – one for our TV room, one for our living room, and I am STRUGGLING. Do you ever feel like you’ve overshopped for an item?  Like you’ve compared so many different options they’ve all started to blend and you’re not sure what you want at all any more?  That’s the rabbit hole I’ve been dealing with as my desire for something pretty conflicts with my need for something practical, and nothing quite seems to physically fit in my rooms with their challenging measurements.  Here are a few of my issues, my inspiration, and some things I actually like!

For whatever reason, the proportions, practicality and finishes of coffee tables never seem quite right. Also, despite so many couches these days being low-slung with seats 15” or so off the ground (our couch seat is just shy of 14”), coffee tables haven’t caught up with the trend and generally sit much higher at around 18”-20”, such that you can’t put up your feet comfortably, and visually they just look uneven. Obviously not a problem on the level of solving world peace or anything, but irritating.

In our long, narrow keeping room it would be wonderful to have a long oval coffee table to create some different shapes in the room. Thus far I’ve really struck out in this department. There’s plenty of mid-century ‘surfboard’ style coffee tables that actually do sit low, but I think one of these would look out of place in our room. We’ve already managed to mix in a mid-century oval rosewood table as our dining table in that room, as well as some shell chairs and an Eames lounger. More mid-century would really be pushing it in our antique space. Here’s a photo of the room with mid century touches as a reminder:

You can see the mid-century dining table in the background.  Right now we have a hand-me-down Henredon Ming coffee table.  It’s not as long as I’d like, is deeper than I’d like, and is very dark.  Overall, though, it’s a pretty good place holder because it is indestructible and not overly large for the space.

My absolute favorite coffee table that nicely mixes modern and traditional is this one from Shoppe Amber Interiors:


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There’s another of similar design in the cover image, also from Shoppe Amber Interiors. Apparently they make these, and I have a serious design crush on them. I love the use of classic Persian rugs on the streamlined brass base! Plus, having a rug as an ottoman would bring in beautiful pattern but allow me to have a more neutral rug in the room. It would also be great to have an ottoman where we could put up our feet when lounging.

I would buy one of these in a second were it not for two things: first, the fact that I’d have to have one completely custom made since the as-is measurements don’t work for me (not exactly cost-effective), and second, I think this beautiful piece of furniture would be murdered by my toddlers jumping on it, eating popcorn on it,building their forts with it, etc. SIGH.

Moving on …

A nice vintage trunk would be ideal in my space. It would add a traditional element, and also provide some storage space. This one is beautiful, with lovely brass detailing:


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Sadly, the measurements of trunks can be tough, because they are often too high for my purposes. Now, this cool, art deco style table actually does have pretty ideal measurements:


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It might be a little too much bling, though?  I also have reservations about vintage trunks generally because we have a number of them back home in Colorado (dome top style, not suitable for tables) and the interior paper and interior generally can really smell and develop mold, simply because these trunks have been shut for long periods of their history. Not being able to give a sniff in person makes me nervous.

These cube wood tables would add some earthiness to the room, and with two the measurements could work for me:


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The wood patterns here are lovely, though I’m torn as to if I like the drawers or not. I don’t like the look of the drawers, but I love the practicality.

A pair of these could look really nice, and also provide some lounge-y comfort and extra seating:


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Because they’re leather I am concerned about the toddler wear-and-tear possibilities. All it takes is some spilt milk and there could be a real issue. I know leather gets a “patina” with time, etc., but dark spots and cup rings are not what I consider patina. But so beautiful! And comfy!

While not traditional, I really like this coffee table:


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The burl wood is so pretty, and the parsons-style design simple and straightforward. Measurements aren’t ideal for me, but I think it would work well in our room (if only it were shorter).

This is a great vintage option:


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The wood color is beautiful, the price reasonable, the patina lovely, but the measurements are not ideal. Also I’m a little concerned in person it might look too worn? I’ve been burned before by online vintage shopping when I can’t actually see the piece before I buy it!

So, I’m still searching. If you’ve found any beautiful, useful coffee tables for yourself, I’d love to hear about them in the comments …

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