I think a lot about coffee tables. They're an an important part of decor, both decorative and functional. Essential for a house you actually want to live in. 'Every home needs a place to put you mug,' the designer Bethan Gray said to me recently, neatly summing up the essence of what a well designed space needs to be.
It needs to work for how you actually live.
And so, in the living room, it's not just the sofa and the lighting that takes up all my brain space, but I'm always considering various coffee table trends too. The best ones, to my mind, have curved edges, look a little bit vintage, and are easily sealed so glasses can be put down atop them.
These seven are the ones I love the most, that I dream about as I'm doing up my house. And I've also included some suggestions for where to buy similar for yourself.
1. This organic/modern coffee table in Vancouver
The dining room of this house in Vancouver, designed by PlaidFox Studio, made the cover of Livingetc's June 2022 issue.
'Isn't it delicious?' I remember saying to our creative director when we first tried it with the logo and coverlines. It's a blend of modern curves and 80s throwback Memphis-style colors, mustards and teals and reds.
The house also just so happened to include all my current favorite living room trends in its other spaces too - the curved white sofa, the plumply rounded footstool, and that coffee table with giant globes for feet. I really wanted to get a similar one for our snug and my husband said no - I still don't know why and it still rankles me almost every day.
I also found this coffee table at Lulu and George, which provides that same hit of an organic shape, its solid wood actually - I think - a little softer and therefore kinder on the eye than the glass top.
2. The tapered base of this coffee table in Portland, Oregon
The kitchen of this warehouse apartment made the subscriber cover of our March 2022 issue. Designed by Jessica Helgerson, it had a statement light and a wonderful way of decorating with grey.
You could say the same about this apartment living room which also has a corner light (v on trend) and a round wood coffee table with a tapered base that has a little piece of my heart. I love a tapered base you see - on a dining table, a console, or on a coffee table. So much more elegant and design forward than four legs which, let's face it, is what my parents would have.
3. This vintage coffee table in Sydney
Years ago, I bought a shearling denim jacket from a vintage store in San Francisco and was then stopped shortly after by a bartender in London who asked me where it was from. 'Ergh, typical,' she said, when I told her. 'All the best things are vintage.'
That was my reaction to this coffee table, featured in the house that made the main cover of the March 2022 issue of Livingetc. It's the mostly white living room of interior designer Caitlin Parker-Brown and as I was scanning the copy to see where I could buy her wonderful coffee table I saw this quote. ‘The vintage coffee table is a piece we bought when living in Toronto. We loved it so much we shipped it home with us,’ Caitlin says.
Sigh. It would have been perfect in my living room, the texture of its white surface just interesting enough to feel detailed and layered.
4. This angular coffee table in London
Excuse the festive styling - this apartment was featured in one of our recent Christmas issues. And this coffee table was the main reason I wanted to feature the home.
Firstly, I love marble coffee tables anyway, so it was an easy sell. They're smart and luxe and lovely and elevated and add a hint of grandeur to decor. But I was really into the sharp edges of this one, the way it seems to cut across the open plan living room, zoning the space, inviting you to rest your champagne coupe on it. The essence of what all good coffee tables should be.
5. This luxe green marble coffee table in New York
It's no secret on the Livingetc team that I'm a huge Noa Santos fan - the New York based interior designer makes super-smart schemes which, in his words, always have the sensibility of a spa.
He's right - his blend of polished stone with concrete is monastic, and this living room from our September 2021 edition is no exception. 'Green marbling is so dramatic,' he told me recently, which could also apply to the wonderful staircase that just peeks into shot.
Noa Santos also told me recently he likes to mix the high and low, saying 'you do need surfaces you're not afraid to put drinks down on.' La Redoute is the ideal high/low trove - browse its rugs while you're looking at this table, too. The jute ones are perfect.
6. This stripy modern coffee table in LA
I actually think about this stripy coffee table by Patricia Urquiola for Artemest at least five times a week. Or, more specifically, I think about the clever use of color in this room, and how this quite tricky-to-style-really table feels cohesive thanks to how every shade in its stripes is picked up at least once elsewhere.
You can see the entire house by LALA Reimagined here, and it's my dream home - the sort of space you feel comfortable enough to curl up casually in, but that is wonderful enough that you want to wear nice clothes while doing so.
Admittedly this isn't cheap but if your're looking for the ultimate statement piece then this is very much it.
7. This glass coffee table in Milan
I'll let you into a secret - this was actually my first choice of cover image for our October 2022 issue. The styling of this apartment in Milan is me to a tee - decorated to perfection by Valentina Moretti, the architect and Creative Director behind design practice Studio More.
From the rounded white accent chairs, to the modern - with hint of mid century - coffee table it's elegant and welcoming and all the things I want Livingetc to stand for right now. Ultimately I got out-voted - the cover is chosen by committee who take a lot of factors into account, and I am happy with the eventual choice - but I do still think about the coffee table, and how chic its smoky glass top is. A lot.
The smoked glass of this affordable table as the same vibe as the one in Milan, a 1970s cocktail parlour aesthetic that happily goes from day to night.
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The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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