The coffee table trends of today are a million worlds away from the classic idea of a coffee table that we’re used to in the center of our living rooms. Instead, we’re spotting structural, artistic statement pieces of furniture that tie the room together, using color, material, shape in new and interesting ways.
The coffee table is a key piece of furniture with real purpose too. ‘We think of coffee tables like dining tables, as heritage furniture pieces that get passed down through families and generations,’ says Emily Brown of Emily Lauren Interiors. ‘Often, seating arrangements are centered around a coffee table in rooms where we create memories with countless conversations and gatherings. We use our coffee tables to display our favourite books or collected pieces from our travels that are meaningful to us and tell our stories.’
Whether it’s material, curved edges, color or build, our coffee table can hold a lot more presence than you might initially think, and is a design opportunity to be harnessed. Read on for the interior design trends and the experts’ take on the latest coffee table looks.
Oonagh is an interiors writer and editor with a lust for the decorative elements of the home. With connections to the interiors industry experts, she has her ear to the ground when it comes to finding trends and is passionate about sharing them with Livingetc readers.
What are the key coffee table trends for 2023?
The latest in coffee table trends really reflect our change in pace of lifestyle, and what we now demand from our living spaces in a post-pandemic world. A coffee table – as a connecting piece of furniture in our living rooms, with myriad purposes, is part of this phase of adapting. No longer are our coffee tables basic four-legged tables for putting a cup of morning coffee, they can have a lot more function as proper tables, places where we eat and work. They are places for displaying art, perhaps they are pieces of art in themselves, or ways to extend and highlight the architectural details of the home.
So what are the latest in coffee table looks that we are coveting for our own homes? Read on for some beautiful living room furniture ideas set to become a staple in 2023 and beyond.
1. Beautifully-veined marble
Marble is a material that is seriously popular at the moment. From marble kitchen countertops to cladding for bathroom walls, it adds an elegance and sleek finish. But, marble is also creeping its way into our living spaces. In this home, designed by Austin-based Emily Lauren Interiors (opens in new tab), the coffee table was custom designed for the space.
‘We used a marble remnant from a sink we designed in the family’s powder room,’ explains Emily Brown of Emily Lauren Interiors. ‘The table has three legs that meet in the middle, instead of the standard four legs, adding an unexpected shape that looks different from every angle.’
The impact of the elegant veining of the marble coffee table is the addition of visual texture and movement, and where this space is sparse in color, texture and pattern gives a dramatic flourish to the room.
2. Architectural styles
Use your coffee table as an opportunity to tie your home together, mimicking materials found throughout the home, shapes or patterns, creating a visual focal point that is relevant to the overall scheme and gives a cohesive feel.
This coffee table was designed specifically for the home, by Carter Williamson Architects (opens in new tab). ‘You will notice that the base matches the base of the dining table, and we chose to use the concave timber mouldings that reference the curve of the slot void over the living room,’ explains Ben of Carter Williamson. The coffee table also slots nicely into the light beaming down from a rounded skylight.
‘The marble top was a offcut from the marble used in the kitchen, so really, the coffee table is linked to the overall architecture and design of the home.’
‘To quote Eliel Saarinen “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context — a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan”. Therefore, there has always been an interest in designing beyond the standard four-legged table.’
3. Monobloc forms
Another popular look is the monobloc, where a great block of hard material – typically made of concrete, marble, or stone brings a structural feel to a room and acts almost as a plinth. This can bring a real sense of gravitas to a room and emphasize a central point for which to gather round.
This design from Ali Lahlou is all about contrast, tying the room together by highlighting the softness of the soft furnishings, grounding the space with a focus on nature, all using the marble blocks sourced from MENU (opens in new tab).
‘These coffee tables gives a contrast between a cold natural material on top of a warm material – the wooden floor and rug,’ says Ali. ‘They are different than regular coffee tables too because of the height and length. They give an aesthetic and minimalist aspect to the space.’
The use of coffee tables as a form of plinth also gives a real focus on what you place on top, here displaying coffee table books, a tea set and a candle as coffee table decor like works of art in a gallery.
4. Curved designs
The trend for curves in all pieces of furniture and decorative interiors is also extending to our coffee tables, with rounded architectural details working to soften any sharp corners and bring together a specific area of the home. Where you might have curved archways, rounded worktops, or a curved sofa that curves elegantly along a straight wall, you might want to extend the theme with a rounded coffee table.
‘The coffee tables (Circula Large and Circula Low Coffee Tables by BluDot (opens in new tab)) are sophisticatedly simple and work together to ’round out’ the space,’ says Ian Wrightson of Wrightson Stewart (opens in new tab), who designed this room.
‘The Curved Sofa and Kidney Shaped Stone Coffee Table were designed in conjunction, allowing them to sit perfectly together. The soft rounded corners and gentle curved shapes feel very tranquil in the space – allowing us to be slowly drawn into the room.’
5. Geometric nesting tables
The trend for nesting coffee tables that cleverly slot a smaller table under a larger sized coffee table is both aesthetically appealing, tasteful and artistic, and is a clever design feature that can save you valuable space in the home.
Go for a more modern look by picking a geometric triangular shape that can fold into themselves, like this from Goddard Littlefair (opens in new tab).
‘Completely taking away any perception of a coffee table always being rectangular or square is liberating and immediately opens up a more creative approach to styling a space,’ says Jo Littlefair of Goddard Littlefair. ‘Choosing striking or unusual furniture shapes can become a focal point within a space, it allows you to bring some personality in whilst retaining elegance and style. A geometric/triangular style of coffee table is particularly effective in a space that may lack colours and consists of straight lines, as this provides interest and depth.
‘Triangles feel contemporary and fresh and, by combining several together, provide the opportunity to create something unexpected and playful while retaining a pragmatic nature.’
6. Black finishes
Black is a popular choice as a dramatic accent color across the home. From cool black kitchen ideas, to matt cabinet and drawer handles in the bedroom, black is sophisticated, sleek and versatile – working across a variety of color schemes.
Black adds real emphasis to the focal point of the room too. ‘Black finishes have become increasingly popular and work especially well against a neutral background, working as an accent colour while acting as an anchor to the overall scheme,’ explains Jen and Mar of Interior Fox (opens in new tab).
To ensure a black or dark coffee table doesn’t overpower the space, consider a slimline frame that allows the floor to show through, or play around with the height and shape of the items you choose to display. ‘Figuring out height and shape will help the surface feel more dynamic. Our top tip; keep it simple. Introduce greenery, a favourite scented candle and a small stack of coffee table magazines for a look that feels both stylish and relaxed.’
7. Multifunctional pieces
The home is evolving, and with that, our interiors are evolving with it. Our homes are spaces that fluctuate – they have become our offices, places where we are looking to seek sanctuary, and rooms are not as rigid in function as they once were.
Enter the multi-purpose coffee table. The likes of Furl (opens in new tab) create coffee tables that convert into a full height dining table, cleverly leaning forward to create space underneath and sides for you to sit comfortable on a chair or sofa. Great for eating and working at as a living room home office, and ready to be folded back to a coffee table at your convenience.
8. Brutalist materials
Coffee tables that remind us of nature and take an unusual shape are not the typical coffee table we’re used to in the home, but going for a Brutalist look, with raw material exposed such as this design used in a room from Sarah Barnard (opens in new tab) can really bring an unusual, sculptural element to the home. It not only creates a place for which you can set your possessions, and acting as a real focal point in the room.
What should I display on a coffee table?
Our coffee tables have evolved into places for storing and displaying our most treasured possessions in an artful way. The coffee table is often at the center of a space that connects people as they sit in adjacent seating, helping the flow of conversation by acting as the center of attention.
‘More and more, we are relying on our living spaces to connect us, and objects on the table may end up serving as a conversation starter, a mood enhancer, a platform to showcase personal interests and collections, or a display area for the things we wish to use to connect to those gathered around the table,’ says Lisa Kahn of Finding Sanctuary by Lisa Kahn Designs (opens in new tab).
Books are a great piece – acting artistically with a beautiful front cover, and showcasing our passion. ‘There is a beauty in the visual impact of a pile of oversized, hard-cover books,’ says Lisa. ‘When stacking books on your coffee table, stack three and place within reach.’
Candles are another great coffee table addition, bringing a warmth and glow to a room, as well as fresh flowers and plants, adding color, height and an item that embraces nature.
‘I also love a beautiful box on a coffee table – it gives us a place to store some of the clutter (think remotes or coasters) or to conceal a treasure you want to reveal upon closer inspection (think a deck of special cards or a poem),’ says Lisa. ”Fine box-making is an art form. There are so many wonderful boxes made of wood, crystal, mother of pearl, raffia. The materials are endless.’