Is a coffee table necessary ?

sandesurfJuly 30, 2012


You always see coffee tables in front of the couch, but in a small room, is it really necessary?

I guess I'm asking because we don't have a table in our living room, but wonder if we should. ?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, in a very tiny room, maybe not, but your room doesn't look that small to me and IMO a coffee table would be a good addition.

I usually don't like it when someone asks a question about one specific thing and responders then make comments about other things they don't like in a room, but here I am doing it. In addition to a coffee table, if it's in your budget I'd suggest getting end tables that coordinate a bit better. You seem to have a tiny dark end table next to the sofa and a much bulkier, light colored table next to the recliner, and to my eye they really don't work together.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We got rid of our coffee tables... and we don't miss them at all.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A coffee table is not necessary. If you don't like them, or one wouldn't work in your room, there's no need to have one.

On the other hand, people do need places to put things down. A glass, a bowl of snacks, a book, a magazine, a remote. In your picture, you have plenty of end tables, so it doesn't look like you need a coffee table. If kids play in there, or teens hold video game fests, not having a coffee table gives you more space.

My SIL has both a living room and a family room with no tables at all. There is simply no place to set down a drink except the floor. And with three very active children, that's asking for a spill.

I find my visits there uncomfortable, because I have to clutch my glass in my hand all the time. She sets out snacks in the kitchen, but wants people to eat them in the living room (to get out of her hair while she cooks--completely understandable), but again, you have to hold everything in your hands at all times.

A coffee table is one way of providing a surface to put things on. End tables are another. A sofa table behind a sofa is yet another. My brother has a sofa with a small table/shelf thing that hooks over the arm of the sofa.

Rooms can look good, but they also have to work for the way you live in them.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

In our family room we have 2 flip top ottomans. Softer on the edges for running into, a place to put our feet up...and a place to put drinks or snacks. And storage to boot.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Let's not forget too, that coffee tables are a great place to put your feet up on :)
We have a coffee table in our living room. I sit on the sofa and use it for my feet while I read. DH has an ottoman for his club chair.
Downstairs in our finished basement, I never got one. We had girl scout meetings and many sleepovers down there and we would just have to keep moving it.
So, I agree with the above. It depends on how you want to use the room.
I could see a coffee table as a nice addition to your room. Ditto to matching the end tables better or maybe moving the light wood one else where on the other side.
I love Annie's idea (she does come up with really good ones!)of the flip top ottoman.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Of course coffee tables are not necessary. However, I really like them and cannot imagine not having one (or two as I have 2 conversation areas in my LR). Aside from a handy place for food and drinks and putting one's feet up they are another place to decorate! Love doing simple coffee table vignettes.

I think this could be another one of those "if you have to ask, you likely don't need one" questions. So do you really need one? Or do you only think you 'should' have one?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In a room like yours, I like the idea of a pair of small things that you can keep together in the traditional configuration, and then pull around as needed for drinks, snacks, or putting up feet. Soft ones with pretty trays on top are appealing.

Look through this collection to see if a pair of any of these would appeal to you. I like the straw ones in your scheme, but some of the upholstered ones with legs would be nice, too, and not fill up your space visually as much as the blockier ones would.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ottomen

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your traffic pattern is probably in front of the sofa....and a coffee table would be in the way.
I think you need to rearrange your room and get a coffee table.
A coffee table provides a place to put your drink, or a tray of cookies or your feet, the remote and a newspaper. I think a room is pretty un-inviting without.

My mother had a severe dislike of coffee in her den (family room) there was a huge 35 inch round ottoman that held the paper, remote an ask tray, cup and saucer etc. In the living room there was a tea table....which is just a tall coffee table!

Without a coffeetable only the person sitting at on end of the sofa and in the big lounge chair have an easy place to put their glass, remote, their phone, reading glasses etc.
Think about how many people use that room...if it's just 2 of you and you have your own spot....and guests are entertained in the living room....and you are comfortable....then you don't NEED a coffee table....but a small one would look nice.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

I think your room is big enough but you don't need one for coffee table functions since you have other tables. I have a nice vintage one. It kept getting moved by a certain frequent guest (an older relative) to be used as a foot rest, often with a nice throw pillow to cushion the feet. I couldn't handle that and replaced it with some storage ottomans.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, thanks for the responces!
I should explain that this is our vacation/retirement home, which we only get to a couple times a month, for a weekend. The reason for those small end tables is explained in this picture. As you can see, a coffee table would be in the main walkway. We have ALWAYS had coffee tables in our home, but it is nice to have that space open. Our couch reclines, so we do have a place to put our feet up. But, I enjoy shopping, and since this house is pretty well finished, I was looking for something else to shop for! LOL
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oopps, here's the picture!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a reclining couch so we do not have a coffee table. Sometimes, I miss it and then when DH clutters up his end table with junk, I am grateful we don't have one. I think it is a personal preference.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are so many things that are not necessary including coffee tables. I think it is a matter if you want one or not.

If the flow works better without one then I think you should leave it as is.

It is nice you have a getaway place!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like having open spaces on the floor to lie down, exercise, cut material, play with dogs, etc. and that open area is appealing. However, when sitting, I do like a place to prop my feet so I would want a coffee table for that if nothing else.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My daughter's first apartment was small and there really wasn't room for a coffee table. I had a long (52") bench in a distressed barn red that went beautifully in front of her red and cream ticking sofa. It was big enough for the remote, her phone, a kindle, the mail......and of course, a cup of coffee in the mornings. :)

Either two small ottomans or tuffets for your feet or one longer, narrower piece would be perfect in front of your sofa, IMO. It would drive me mad not to have a place for my feet, at least!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nope, not necessary at all! We don't have a coffee table in our great room, although I do have one in another room. Just make sure you have side tables. We each have our favorite seat - with places for our feet.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

Given the reclining sofa, a coffee table would only get in the way. You might consider pulling the sofa and the club chair forward, away from the wall to make the grouping a little cozier and put the traffic flow behind the sofa...hard to tell if there's room for that though from the pic. Other thing you might consider is an area rug to anchor the conversational cluster.

Another alternative to a coffee table or side tables is a C shaped table which can be slid in to cover the center sofa seat when a table is needed, and slid out of the way when seating is needed.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, everyone!
Annie, thanks for trying to help. This was an odd room to try and furnish. It is pretty small and all the doorways/walkways didn't help. I see what you're saying, but there really isn't room. The walkway from the front door is inbetween the club chair and big chair. Can't put them closer together and still have a walkway. I like the rug idea though!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

flymom65, You're DH sounds just like mine! lol

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went with out one for 20+ years and did not miss it at all. My mom got a complete set, end tables/coffee table back in the day. When I thought about your question I remembered hers is now in front of the big picture window, used as a plant stand, mostly. Room size and need make a difference. My husband made one for his mom once upon a time. When she died we got it back. I love having it and it does make my room seem more grown up.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Replace fan/light combo with light?
I have a Broan fan/light combo in my laundry room....
Is this a great statement or a great ugly mess?
Hello to all I could use your input here I have a mid...
Family Room - Tiling the Fireplace
Moving at typical glacial speed, I am now turning to...
Wood filler when sanding isn't possible
My toilet paper holder is attached to my vanity. I...
Photoshop Help with my exterior remodel!
Help! I want to remodel the exterior of my house. I...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™