Making your Side Tables and Coffee Table Work Together

Your side tables and coffee tables are an integral yet often overlooked aspect of any living room. A matching set of tables will inevitably introduce uniformity into the room, but keep in mind that side tables and coffee tables can still create a cohesive appearance even if they are not identical. Read on as we explain the various elements of mixing and matching these two living room elements to create a space that is both unique and workable.

 

Working with Sizes and Heights

The general guidelines relating to the respective sizes and heights of the various functional pieces in your living room are as follows:

 

  • Aim for your side table to be 5cm lower than the height of the armrest of your sofa. This is considered the optimal height difference for drinks to be rested on a side table.

 

  • Similarly, aim for your coffee table to sit 5cm lower than the height of the seat of your sofa. This measurement is designed for those people who allow others to rest their feet on the coffee table.

Project: Minyama, Sunshine Coast

Of course, as with any guideline, these measurements do not need to be strictly followed. A variety of side table and coffee table options exist that don’t fit these guidelines but still meet the dual goals of functionality and aesthetics.

 

A perfect example is an ottoman or decorative stool, which can be doubly employed as a place to rest either feet or a drink while taking up less space yet potentially offering a unique storage solution.

Experimenting with Different Styles

As long as you’re intentional with your styling choices, it won’t matter whether you choose a high contrast look or a matching vibe for your side and coffee tables. While a matching set can be an easier choice, the downside is that they will set the style and tone of the room firmly in place. Other pieces in the space – such as your sofa and other décor items – will need to fit the tone as set by the matching table set, otherwise, the look won’t be cohesive.

living room look 14

Alternatively, by playfully (yet intentionally) choosing different styles for your side and coffee tables, you can set a broader theme for the room that will allow greater flexibility when introducing other pieces.

 

The Importance of Weight

Rather than physical weight, consider the visual weight of your furniture pieces. Choosing tables that all have a blocky or solid appearance can weigh down the room too much, while visually light or slimline furniture can leave the space looking ungrounded. Try playing around with a mixture of blocky and slim pieces to create a space that is neither too heavy nor too light.

Hampton style home decor

Consider Shape

Similar to visual weight, it is vitally important to consider the shapes of the intended pieces in your living room – both to aid in the flow of the room and to add visual interest. A room full of straight-edged tables can make the space feel overstimulated and blockish, while rounded side tables tend not to pair well with a round or oval coffee table. Intentionally mixing and matching different shapes can even out the aesthetic of the room.

Mixing and Matching Materials

When it comes to the materials with which your coffee and side tables are constructed, there are two workable options – either choose vastly different materials or opt for the same material. Anything else – such as materials that have a similar but not-quite-the-same appearance can make the room look confused and unintentional.

Opting for timber leaves you free to mix and match different finishes and tones, while the choice of metal will give you the leeway to play around with silver, brass, and gold.

An exception is the intentional styling of marble or stone with timber or metal. Provided that the overall colour palette remains in harmony, this paring can be surprisingly effective.

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