It may feel like the last addition to the room after you have chosen the wallpaper and installed the seating, but a coffee table can be the bigger statement. Anyone with small children will know that there's no option for a few artfully arranged books and objets, but they can still be used for vital storage, putting your feet up and playing games or doing Lego.
Coffee tables come in all shapes and sizes so take the time to think about what you want from it before you buy one. In a small room, it's worth considering a clear glass or acrylic one, which won't dominate the space so much. If you'll be resting cups of coffee on it then only go for the antique look if you are disciplined with coasters. If you've run out of storage, look for one with drawers in the sides to hold games, paper and pencils. If it's mostly going to be empty then you can have one with a lid that lifts up so it will be easy to find what you need. All that considered, here are some of the best that are around at the moment.
1. CHALKBOARD COFFEE TABLE, £239.79
This blank wooden table has nicely turned legs giving a slightly more traditional feel, but you can write all over the top. Good for reminders and spur of the moment games of Hangman.
Hidden Art Shop (020-7729 3800; www.hiddenartshop.com )
2. LOOP, FROM £399
Fabulously retro with a bit of storage too. This unit comes in either an oak or white finish to add a modern touch to a traditional room. Or alternatively, it will fit in well with a more contemporary looking space.
Amode (0845 527 9697; www.amode.co.uk )
3. GEM, £449
A toughened clear glass table with an internal shelf and brushed stainless steel feet. There are no visible joints as it's glued together and will give the impression that objects are floating inside. A table that is both practical and makes a statement.
Habitat (0844 499 111; www.habitat.net )
4. HIGH-GLOSS FOUR BLOCK, £245
Contemporary table with a sliding top allowing for storage underneath. Also comes in a smaller version. Or check out their Pivot table, which comes with a stool attached underneath that swings out and makes an extra seat.
Dwell (0845 675 9090; www.dwell.co.uk )
5. ILLUMINATING COFFEE TABLE, £2,000
Customised to your own design, this coffee table will bring the nightclub to your sitting room. You can switch the light upwards into the room or down towards the floor. If you pay extra you can have a design on the top as well.
Suck UK (020-7923 0011; www.suck.uk.com )