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Displaying auxiliary living room knick knacks and trinkets may not have been the coffee table’s original primary task, but it’s certainly become a common criterion for them. When coffee tables first came about, they were a niche solution for coffee and tea houses, providing more accessible surfaces for beverages. Their original designers didn’t imagine having a living room space that would eventually collect remotes, vases, coasters, extra blankets, and more. However, now a coffee table without added storage may as well be missing a leg.
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What the Experts Say
Extra storage is always nice. Whether you’re in an apartment or a more spacious home, there are always those pesky things that need a place to stay organized that don’t need to be out in the open. Diana Farberov, a professional interior designer based in Brooklyn, recommends coffee tables with bonus storage to at least mitigate some of the unsightly living room necessities that would otherwise create clutter and disarray in your space. It’s one of her secrets to keeping a tidy home.
Even if you’re not in desperate need of more storage space, a coffee table with the added bonus (or room to grow) will never be a bad call. Farberov does warn that coffee tables with additional storage often take up more room. They’re bulkier than those without and can leave a tight space feeling even tighter. It’s important to make sure the proportions of the room make sense with a larger coffee table.
There are other options for added storage as well. Chests and ottomans can be great options. Farberov still opts for a coffee table to bring some dimension and depth to the space, but if you’re tight on space a chest or ottoman can add some functionality. Cleveland recommends ottomans if you’re in need of comfort or kicking your feet up, but if you’re using your sofa as a second dinner table, she recommends a storage coffee table with a hard-top surface.
“Important” is subjective when it comes to interior design and specking furniture solutions like coffee tables. What’s important to a small studio dweller may not be as important to a family of five living in 4,000 SF. The answer truly depends on your needs as someone who occupies the space.
Cristina Cleveland, New York-based interior designer and creator of the Interior Design Style Quiz, says she lets function drive her designs. For her, storage coffee tables make sense if there are daily-use items that you need within arm’s reach or you’re a parent in need of an extra toy drawer. However, if you’re prone to junk drawers, it might be best to rid your space of the items rather than store them.
Mid-Century Storage Coffee Table
$649.00 – $674.00 $572.90 – $599.00
This Mid-Century Storage Coffee Table offers multiple storage options. The drawers work for concealed storage of all the items that don’t need to be out on display, per Farberov’s recommendations, and the bottom ledge doubles the surface area for more sightly items. The acorn finish also makes it versatile and easy to use in most spaces.
BEST FOR LARGER ROOMS
Trunk Concrete Storage Coffee Tables
Farberov loves this coffee table from CB2 for its deep storage capacity. This is a wooden option finished in white lacquer to give it a more sleek and modern look. As Farberov mentioned, some of these storage coffee tables come with added bulk and this is a prime example. If you have the space, this is a great addition, particularly if you’re looking to brighten up the space.
BEST MINIMAL SHELVING
Folsom Rectangular Coffee Table
For an extra storage space that’s just as much a part of the design as serves a home’s function, the Folsom Rectangular Coffee Table from Pottery Barn fits the bill. The hollow opening created by the veneer frames creates a shadow box effect. Because this is an open concept, you’ll end up placing more aesthetically pleasing items in the bottom tier, but it’s still a great option for extra coffee table books, neatly folded blankets or other decorative items.
BEST ROUND STORAGE COFFEE TABLE
Volume Round Storage Drum Coffee Table
The Volume Round Storage Drum Coffee Table comes at Farberov’s recommendation. She chose this one for its capacity and depth. It’ll hold everything from board games to blankets with ease. The circular design works with the bulk. It’s less of an eye sore than some other storage coffee tables on the market.
BEST SMALL STORAGE COFFEE TABLE
Carta Side Table
The Carta Side Table made this list because it’s not only compact and great for tight space, but it also features additional storage. It’s great for organizing the remotes and electronic manuals that don’t otherwise have a space to call their own. Because of the size, it can be shifted around a space for what makes the best sense. If in need of more storage, consider doubling up and using them as one double-wide adjustable model.
BEST SLIM PROFILE STORAGE TABLE
Topia Oval Coffee Table
Farberov offers this Topia Oval Coffee Table from Lulu and Georgia has an option for a slimmer-profile coffee table. It trades in the bulk for a sleek drawer nestled right under the primary table surface and an open shelf at the bottom as well. You get the benefit of a space for hiding the messy living room items and the chance to style the nicer ones below.
Pro tip: If you need more concealed space, but only have open shelving, consider buying containers that fit your style, the open shelving, and also hide the items you don’t want out on display. Think about crates, tins, or any other items that have a lid or opaque sides.
MOST DRAWER SPACE
Pismo Reclaimed Wood Rectangular Long Low Coffee Table
If you have the space, but still need more storage, this coffee table offers two large undermount drawers in a profile that’s still sleek. The lighter option is more of a driftwood-look, which fits most modern decor without stealing the show. It also leaves plenty of room for surface-top styling. This serves as an anchor point for large living rooms with a lot of seating.
BEST OTTOMAN STORAGE
Colten Leather Round Storage Coffee Table Ottoman
While ottomans aren’t every designer’s favorite, they are often one of the most practical living room storage solutions. Interior Define offers a host of fabric options, so you can pick one that matches your furniture the best or stands out on its own. If you’re still looking for a hard-top surface for drinks, opt for a small tray that rests on the ottoman as well. If you have the room, you can combo this with a coffee table to maximize storage space.
BEST TRUNK STORAGE
The Designer Wheeled Trunk
Trunks are the Hannah Montana of coffee table options, the best of both worlds. They add a ton of rustic character to a space alongside maximum storage capacity. The textured finish with leather accents is sophisticated. This trunk also sports two wheels, so maneuvering furniture around or rearranging the space stays easy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Tables
Which coffee table is best for me?
The idea of “best” is subjective. The best coffee table for your living room set up isn’t the same for someone else. The best coffee table is one that fits in your space without overcrowding clearance and egress space. The best coffee table is also one that combines form and function, supplying you with the storage space or surface area you need to live comfortably in your space.
How big should a coffee table be compared to a couch?
While there isn’t a specific size restriction for a coffee table in comparison to a couch, best practice suggests that your coffee table shouldn’t extend past the top of your couch seat cushions. This makes the coffee table the most usable. In terms of overall area, make sure there’s at least 2 feet between the couch and the coffee table for easy access in between.
How to Style Coffee Tables with Storage
When it comes to actually styling a coffee table with storage, it doesn’t differ much from styling any regular old table. First start with what physically fits in the space. Coffee tables with storage can often come with added bulk so consider its scale, especially if you’re working with a tight squeeze.
With regard to styling what’s on and in your storage coffee table, Farberov suggests keeping the smaller, more aesthetically pleasing items out on display (on top or in the open shelving of the coffee table) and hiding all the less attractive everyday items in concealed storage. The unseen items include the blankets and coasters that don’t add visual interest to the space on a regular basis.
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