Providing a handy surface for books, mugs, magazines and remote controls, the trusty coffee table is one functional furniture piece we couldn’t live without. But beyond its obvious practical appeal it also has the ability to bring the room together, creating an important focal point – and a sociable one at that.
With modular seating and corner sofas as popular as ever, a circular coffee table can work wonders: wrap your L-shaped settee around it for the full effect. If you’re short on space, however, you’d be wise to opt for a classic rectangular piece that sits snugly in front of your two-seater, without encroaching on your limited square footage.
Look for a coffee table with extra storage space if you’re drowning in clutter. This could be as simple as a shelf that sits below the table top, effectively doubling the surface area, or one with hidden nooks for books.
Think about height, too. We found a number of designs that are particularly low-sitting. These have a relaxed look and feel, bringing a laid-back aesthetic to modern living spaces, while taller designs can bring a more formal element.
Our round-up of the best coffee tables includes designs from the mid-century inspired to the Deco-fabulous and the clean-lined and contemporary. In testing these, we looked for top craftsmanship, style and functionality.
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Oliver Bonas Iggy green and gold metal coffee table
Offering sassy style with shrewd functionality is this Art Deco-inspired piece from Oliver Bonas. The two-tiered metal coffee table comprises a sturdy four-posted frame and two removable circular trays, making it one entertainment-focused furniture piece. We loved its versatility and its multi-use design.
The top matte gold tray creates a stylish surface while the bottom tray, which matches the frame in a dark forest green, is ideal for books, mags, or even a house plant to bring sculptural interest. It also makes an arresting contrast.
Made Moreno coffee table, natural cane and glass
Crafted from a mix of natural rattan, metal and glass, Made’s offering is all about Seventies-inspired bohemia. It is a relatively low sitting furniture piece – and that matches its laid-back aesthetic.
The table’s clear glass top creates a sturdy surface while showing off the swirling cane underneath, and the slimline black metal frame offers a pleasing contrast, bringing it up to date with a cool, contemporary edge. We loved this craft-driven statement coffee table: fun, sociable and relaxed.
Rosalind Wheeler Clune coffee table
In a triumph of form and function, this industrial style coffee table not only looks the part but offers a generous surface, storage space, and even a handy, detachable serving tray. The tray top is made from manufactured wood but makes a good walnut imitation with its rich grain and warm, homely hue. This sits atop a sturdy black wire cage that forms the base of the piece and doubles as a home for easily accessible books and magazines. The coffee table makes a striking centrepiece in the living room and we loved its multi-functionality.
Homescapes urban coffee table with 2 nesting tables, natural
Modular furniture is having a moment and so it seems right that our coffee table should be equally adaptable. This trio of pieces works well for sculptural interest but it can also be separated to suit your needs. The two smaller tables can be used individually or as nifty extensions to the main unit. And when not in use, they slide in, fitting perfectly neatly underneath. With table tops handcrafted from 100 per cent solid mango wood, and charcoal coloured metal frames, this is a streamlined and multi-use coffee table with a cool, industrial edge.
John Lewis and Partners + Swoon Sartre marble coffee table gold/green
This is one glamorous coffee table that plays to both the metallics trend and Art Deco influences. Heavyweight in feel but lightweight in look, the circular table is made from a mix of materials: marble, mild steel and cast aluminium. Its tactile top features a striking contrast of green and white marble – the natural stone is separated by a sleek gold metal inlay – while the slender frame echoes the disc-shaped top as it loops around its trio of legs. Refined, elegant, and on the right side of glitzy.
Maisons du Monde Rockefeller black and brass corrugated metal coffee table
The Rockefeller is a sculptural and contemporary piece that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art gallery. Combining the glamour of the metallics trend with the raw edginess of industrial chic, it is beautifully designed to take centre stage in a fashion-forward living room. The cubic coffee table is made from a corrugated metal, which has been painted a muted brass, while the top of the unit in black metal has a textural, rusty finish. We loved its black voids, which both break up the lines of the wavy brass and create nifty storage spaces for books.
AM:PM Théoleine large retro-style coffee table in solid walnut
For fans of mid-century modern, this is one beautifully crafted coffee table that would give the original Danish furniture pieces a run for their money. It’s made from solid walnut with a shiny polyurethane finish and echoes the classic aircraft wing shaping from the period.
This one can be paired with the smaller Théoleine coffee table, which acts as a pull-out piece, but it works equally well on its own. The warm walnut, with its natural swirling grain, is further accentuated by the table’s curvy lines and super smooth finish. A modernist beauty.
My Furniture Ravello coffee table
This is another coffee table with design roots in the mid 20th century. Here, strict rectangular shaping is met with a mix of muted metallics and rich walnut. The frame is crafted from steel with a brass electro-plated finish, while the wooden top is made with walnut veneers and features chic geometric patterning.
We loved the way the wood grain is perfectly matched up to create a striking diamond design while highlighting the wood’s natural variances in light and shade. This one proves practical too, with its metre-long surface.
The verdict: Coffee tables
Oliver Bonas’s Iggy green and gold metal coffee table is stylish, affordable and multifunctional. We loved the way both surfaces could be used as handy serving trays – particularly the stylish gold top. While it borrows from Art Deco design it’s brought up to date with its sleek, contemporary lines. We also loved AM:PM’s Théoleine large coffee table. A beautifully made retro-inspired piece with instant wow-factor.
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