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Small Space Coffee Table Solutions

Hi everyone.  I am sorry I have been MIA here and on social media.  I have been crazy busy trying to get this place habitable!  If you follow me on Instagram you can keep track of what is happening.  It is coming together slowly but surely! I originally published this article in 2015 while searching for a coffee table for a client. This post has received a lot of traffic, and the ideas are still relevant,  but the pictures and examples were outdated.  I thought it was time to give it a rewrite. Not everyone has a massive space that calls out for an equally massive coffee table. If you are looking for a small coffee table, there are a lot more interesting options out there for smaller versions.  You can cut down a vintage table,  or repurpose a chest or trunk.  The opportunities are endless. How do you make a small space live large? Fool the eye by creating the illusion of more space. Let’s take a look at some small space coffee table solutions.

The obvious solution is to pare down the size and keep the design monochromatic. This Minnesota living space by Rehcamp Larson Architects obviously calls out for a small-scale coffee table.  Note the large prints and oversized ceiling light make the room seem larger than it is.  They added the simple brass coffee table and open-footed ottomans so as not to crowd the space. You can see more of this beautiful home on One Kind Design here.

minnesota home by rehcamp architects

The uber-talented Shea McGee used an ottoman from their Target collection to anchor this small living space.

Studio McGee living space

This timeless living space featured on the cover of Phoebe Howard’s book Room by Room proves how much bang for the buck one can get out of a small space. Phoebe used a small white coffee table to anchor this sitting area creating the illusion of more space than there actually is.

phoebe howard living space with white coffee table

Clear materials have less visual weight. Designer Lauren Christine Henno used a small lucite coffee table in this small living space so it would be functional without looking cluttered.

christine lauren henno design

Christina from Greige Design’s space is probably not small (we can’t see the rest of the room) She placed a vintage box under her lucite coffee table in order to ground it to the rest of the room.

christina from Greige living room

Try combining two small side tables. The two together have more negative space than a large coffee table.

Though we can’t see the rest of the room. I am guessing this space designed by the talented Thom Felicia is narrow. These rustic stump tables make a statement without overpowering the small space.

thom felicia living space

I love how Beth Webb used two of the coffee tables from her collection for Arteriors in this space.

beth webb arteriors coffee tables

Anything with an open base creates the illusion of space.

My pal Mary Ann has limited space in her San Francisco Apartment (just like me). Her coffee table has an open base with a shelf. If her coffee table were solid this space would seem cramped.

classic casual home coffee table

Anything glass or mirrored requires less visual space.  My friend Julie Taylor from TG Interiors, timeless blue and white living room appears larger due to the combination of the mirrored coffee table and the mirrors on the wall.

julie t g interiors living room

The all-white space of Olivia Chantecaille’s New York apartment combined with the lucite end table and mirrored coffee table makes the space open and airy.

Olivia Chantecaille new york apartment


When shopping for a coffee table you might find these tips helpful.

tips to Remember when shopping for a coffee table

I hope you found this revamped post small coffee table solutions helpful. You might also enjoy this oldie but goodie Project Design Post, How to Style a Coffee Table, or our more recent post Eight Tips for Styling the Perfect Coffee Table. You can also check out my Pinterest board Coffee Table Styling for more helpful ideas.

Reader Interactions


  1. Karen B. says

    A large home or small, you manage to inspire me and give me ideas to use in my own home. We downsized nearly 4 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I hope you can find joy and comfort in your new (temporary?) home. I love to feather my nest so our move has opened doors for new ideas and decorating. It’s great.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Karen

      You are my encouragement! I think we are going to like it here once we get it fixed up. Who knows we may never want to move!

  2. Wren says

    I like almost all in the selections that you show, especially the mirror topped table in Olivia Chantecailles apt. I recently did a few things in my living room to bring some new life to it including a new coffee table, round of rattan and glass and I’m pleased with my choice. Every time I see your posts, it makes me want a new house to start over with. Guess you’ve got that going on!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Wren

      Well I certainly have a new house to begin again. I think we will enjoy the challenge.

  3. home before dark says

    Great ideas. Love the way Mary Ann’s living room is evolving with more texture. But, as I have said, with that view, you could dump sand in the middle and throw some pillows around and it would look like a beautiful day at the beach! I recently made my living room smaller so that I could make my kitchen larger. My coffee table is my late MIL’s round oak pedestal table. It had been her breakfast room table, and it later got a haircut for the family room. In the den/library/dining room I used a rectangular ottoman to do double duty. One of my favs was a toolbox that had been on a prairie schooner. Being from Oklahoma, it did sing to my heart. In the remodel I gave it to my contractor who has a cabin in Colorado. The patina on that thing was simply astonishing. At least it got to go further west than Kansas!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Patricia

      I always love hearing about your creative ideas. I know your home is beautiful and would be right up my alley. Mary Ann does have incredible views. It also helps that she knows what looks best in her space. She always brings the outside in, and doesn’t fight that beautiful view!

  4. CathlEen P. says

    I love this post! Thank you. The thing I don’t like about coffee tables (as in the Phoebe Howard design) you included is that when a person with long legs sits on the sofa, the solid (rather bulky in my mind) coffee table can be a blockade visually as well as just plain uncomfortable for long legged guests.
    I love some of the round nesting coffee tables that allow 2 coffee tables to work as one table when completed nested or extended when partially nested or completely separated and used as needed in 2 areas of a room. (Pottery Barn and Arhaus offer this style coffee table).
    There are also narrow, long rustic coffee tables (think contemporary, farmhouse or mountain home) that are artful and help to complete a setting without taking up a lot of space.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Cathleen

      I love all the options available these days. It is important to have the right one for the right space. You are absolutely right!

  5. Joanna says

    When I moved into my current home, I had a coffee table very similar to Mary Ann’s in style and size and even though our living room is fairly large, the square shape was not pleasing to the eye. I gave it to my son & his wife and found a rectangle one, wood with glass in the top, reeded sides and casters. It just suits the space and furniture arrangement better, plus it showcases the beautiful area rug.
    I love the antique mirrored one in Julie Tailor’s living room. Just gorgeous!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Joanna

      I am not so sure my coffee table is great in this new house but I will live with it for a while! Lucky son that god your old one!!

  6. Auriel W says

    awesome ideas as we move from 6,500 sq ft to 3,000. This was very helpful. Thanks for reposting!

  7. Debra Phillips says

    this was a chalk full inspiring and informative post cindy! of course one can have two coffee tables adjacent to each other but different sizes, alas, i never thought of it. good to have friends with high design abilities!

  8. Leslie Harris says

    This is such a perfect post for me Cindy. As you know our rooms in the new place are so much smaller than my previous home and I need all the tips I can get! 🙂

  9. Karen says

    Thank you for this. I remember when you asked what topic we might enjoy hearing about and I believe I listed this as one that can be perplexing, especially in a small space. There are some wonderful examples here and I'm inspired to tweak some things in our family room this weekend.

  10. Jeanne Henriques says

    Great selections here Cindy! I wish you were in Saigon with me yesterday. I was on a furniture tour…so many possibilities for coffee tables and more. Lots of clever ideas. You would love it. Really like the first photo, I have been toying with stocking up on rice baskets to cover a large wall space over our kitchen island at Tahilla. It will be one of those space that you do not look up to very often and I thought the rice baskets would be fun. I would hardly ever have to clean them…big bonus! xx

  11. Kris @ Driven by Décor says

    Love this post – such great tips and inspiration. It's got my wheels turning about what to use when I redo our family room. I just love the clear Wisteria coffee table (and those dark bookcases!).

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