These alternatively-shaped coffee tables are a genius pick for a small living room – here's where to buy the best ones

If you're looking for a coffee table for your small living room, make sure it's one of these three shapes

A living room with coffee table
(Image credit: Studio Alexander Fehre)
Quick Menu

When it comes down to picking the perfect coffee table for a smaller living room, it's all about the shape and how it sits within the room. Selecting the perfect shape coffee table can help a small living room come together, while going for something too large or obtrusive for the space can leave your room feeling all the more cramped.

Think tall, two-tier coffee tables, with extra room for storing those coffee table books, and nesting coffee tables - which are super flexible and perfect for slotting together and storing to the side when not in use. I also love a side table used as a coffee table. While they're not strictly a coffee table, you only need the smallest of space to create your coffee table vignette, and a small side table sat against your sofa can work perfectly as a spot to place a glass of wine. These are the best shapes to go for when looking for living room furniture for smaller spaces.

These are the best coffee table shapes for small living rooms – and where to buy them

Best two-tier coffee tables

Best nesting coffee tables

Best side coffee tables

What shape of a coffee table takes up less space?

When it comes to coffee table shape, square vs round coffee tables is the common debate. But really, there are so many varying factors that affect which shape is right for you, and which will take up less of your space. Think about the size and shape of the room and mimic this when picking your coffee table. 

A long and narrow room might benefit from a long and narrow coffee table that can sit close to flush against the wall. A round coffee table can give the illusion of taking up less space in a square box room. Overall, large square and rectangular shaped coffee tables can give the impression of taking up more space as their sharp edges bring a harshness to the room.

‘Living room and living room furniture are so often squares - think of sofas, carpets, and cabinets - a round coffee table is a way to create balance between the lines of the room,’ says Ophélie Doria of Space Factory. 'You need to be able to circulate around the coffee table.'

How far from the couch should the coffee table be?

When it comes to living room coffee tables, the perfect coffee table is also about how and where you place it. The proximity to the couch is super important. Too close and the space can feel claustrophobic and restricts leg room - especially not great if you've got a sharp-edged coffee table that might cause a couple of leg bruises. Too far and you won't be able to easily reach the surface. A general rule of thumb is to place the coffee table around 14 inches from the sofa.

Another thing to consider when looking at distances and measurements, is the size of your couch or seating area compared to your coffee table. 'A good rule of thumb is to select a coffee table roughly half the length of your couch,' says Alla Yaskovets of O&A London.

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.