Friday 24 February 2017

Creating the perfect coffee table combination

The wrong coffee table can ruin your sitting room, so follow Emily Westbrooks' guide to creating the perfect entertaining space

Certain Scale - sleeper coffee table.
Certain Scale - sleeper coffee table.
Strictly Styled - start with a few classic coffee table elements.
Heavy Weight: Echo coffee table at Littlewoods.
Tray Top: John Rocha silverware tray.
Cosy Candles - ceramic printed pot from Penneys.
Storage Standard - Fruit boxes from Tiger Stores.

Coffee tables are the afterthought of the living room; once the perfect sofa has been chosen and a rug laid down most of us lose steam. Creating the perfect coffee table combination is one of those interiors decisions that we all get wrong fairly often. The wrong shape, the wrong scale, the wrong colour…

Coffee tables are the afterthought of the living room; once the perfect sofa has been chosen and a rug laid down most of us lose steam. Creating the perfect coffee table combination is one of those interiors decisions that we all get wrong fairly often. The wrong shape, the wrong scale, the wrong colour…

But the right coffee table pulls those other elements together, creating the perfect spot for entertaining friends or kicking back on a week night. Here, we guide you through how to choose a coffee table, and how to deck it out so it functions best in your living room, giving you the perfect space to entertain, relax and enjoy.

Certain Scale

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Scale is perhaps the trickiest decision when it comes to a coffee table, and you're often faced with Goldilocks options that are too big or too small. As a general rule, you should aim for a coffee table to be at least half as long as your couch.

Buy it: Sleeper coffee table, €500 from DFS

Storage Standard

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If you've opted for a coffee table with a shelf or two underneath, which is a great option for small spaces, make sure to pick up a few cute boxes to store less attractive bits. Or stack pretty books and magazines on those shelves so they're close when you have a quiet moment to flip through them.

Buy it: Fruit boxes, €6 from Tiger Stores

Heavy Weight

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The second major decision involves the visual weight of your coffee table. Put simply, a coffee table with thin legs and lots of space underneath will seem lighter and can give your room a more spacious feel. A more blocky coffee table can have the opposite effect and is a better choice for a large room or one with high ceilings. As a compromise, we love this table with pull out seats stored underneath.

Buy it: Echo coffee table, €185 at Littlewoods Ireland

Cosy Candles

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Whether you're entertaining friends with a casual meal on the couch or spending a quiet night watching Game of Thrones, candles are essential for added atmosphere and can add a little pizzazz to the top of your coffee table even when they're not lit. We love candles that come in extra-pretty vessels like this tribal print candle from Penneys.

Buy it: Ceramic printed pot, €4 from Penneys

Tray Top

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The trick for keeping your coffee table functional and free of clutter is to employ a tray for odds and ends. Candles, television remote controls and trinkets can all be corralled into a pretty tray so you can keep them close at hand without allowing them to take over or look disorganised.

A circular tray like this silver one from Debenhams adds visual interest and will contrast nicely with a rectangular or square coffee table.

Buy it: John Rocha silver wire tray, €35 from Debenhams

Strictly styled

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Coffee table styling isn't rocket science, but there's certainly a fine line between a cluttered coffee tabletop and an interesting and inspiring one - both for you and for guests you might entertain.

Most people start with a few classic coffee table elements: candles, perhaps a tray, and books. You should also consider your coffee table a good place to add interesting objects collected over time or travels that might spark interesting conversation with your guests. Rocks or a hunk of driftwood from a beach walk add interesting natural elements.

Finally, pay a little thoughtful attention to the books or magazines you display; you're better off displaying books you actually enjoy or at least aspire to read!

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