The coffee table, typically small and low, is a side table, a table encircled by chairs or a table placed in front of a sofa. It is generally a must-have for the home, finding favor in living spaces across the land. Of course the term “coffee table” is somewhat erroneous, as such tables fulfill a myriad of functions, including: displaying large tomes and magazines, presenting drinks and canapés, acting as a repository for remote controls, spectacles, smartphones, laptops and tablets. Added to this, the coffee table is too the perfect table on which to serve coffee.
With the vast array of coffee tables available to consumers, this article offers 20 modern and contemporary everyday coffee table designs, each with an aesthetic quality, long-lasting value, inherent honesty and practicality.
621 Side Table
The 621 Side Table was designed by Dieter Rams for Vitsœ and is a quintessential expression of equilibrium, utility and longevity in design. Handsome and modest, the 621 is available in two sizes and makes the perfect coffee time companion.
Image © 2015 Vitsœ.
Airy Coffee Table
The Airy coffee table was designed by Cecilie Manz for Muuto. Described as “light and floaty”, its thin frame offers the impression of a tabletop that is floating on air. Airy is a family of tables available in several sizes.
Image © Muuto.
The Block Table (shown in dark grey) was designed by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen and is a veritable modern-day hostess trolley. Block is moved around using one of its four handles, each a natural extension of four shapely ash wood legs. Serve guests (and oneself) everything from drinks and hors d’oeuvres to coffee and pastries.
Image © 2015 Normann Copenhagen.
Bølling Tray Table
The Bølling Tray Table is a classic. Designed in 1963 by Danish architect Hans Bølling, this round wooden table with wheels is the epitome of midcentury modernist Danish design. As confident assuming centre place as it is sitting by one’s side, the Bølling Tray Table is a functional piece that features two reversible trays (allowing the user to vary colors).
Image © Brdr. Krüger.
The CIRKEL side table is elegant and contemporary, striking for its large round tabletop balanced upon neat and trim legs. Available in two sizes, the version shown has a removable top for storing items. CIRKEL was designed by Hamburg-based designer Milia Seyppel.
Coffee Table Two
Coffee Table Two from British manufacturer Another Country is a cleverly crafted synthesis of the more traditional country kitchen form with a contemporary design aesthetic.
Image © Another Country.
E1027 Side Table
Eileen Gray’s E1027 Side Table was designed for her E-1027 summer house at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. Born in 1878 in County Wexford, Ireland, Gray was one of the early pioneering modernists, a woman whose work was unprecedented and notably avant-garde. Her E1027 Side Table is without question a 20th century classic, to be enjoyed with coffee and an excellent chair.
Image © 2015 Aram.
The Elephant Table was designed by Anderssen & Voll for Wrong for Hay. A three-legged solid oak table, its form is clever and playful.
Image © Wrong for Hay.
The Fat Fat tables were designed by Patricia Urquiola in 2004 for B&B Italia. Nesting and stackable, this cluster of tables is both versatile and poetic. Each table is made up of a steel tray supported by a steel frame.
Image © 2015 B&B Italia Spa.
Touted as a “Nordic reinterpretation of a familiar French café classic”, the oval Flux Table, with its rounded wood slats and narrow metal legs, is inviting, prepossessing and rather evocative of the charming cafés to be found in many Parisian neighborhoods. The Flux Table was designed by Jonas Herman Pedersen for Danish brand Skagerak. It is shown with the companion Flux Chair.
Image © Skagerak.
G&T Carve Occasional
The G&T Carve Occasional, designed by British designer Bethan Gray, is a graceful and alluring coffee table. It features a hand-polished solid marble top, carved to leave a perfectly proportioned rim, and a solid wood base.
Image © Bethan Gray.
The Hoof Table was designed by Samuel Wilkinson for &tradition. Offering a fresh approach, the leg ends of the Hoof resemble those of a hoofed animal. The Hoof Table, made from solid oak, is painted in its entirety before being cut back to reveal its natural grain.
Image via Nest.co.uk.
KK66870 Round Coffee Table
The KK66870 Round Coffee Table is a quintessentially elegant and gracious piece. Designed in 1943 by Danish architect and furniture designer Kaare Klint (heralded as the founding father of modern Danish furniture design), this round coffee table incorporates a square shelf, perfect for housing design volumes and magazines. Interestingly, Kaare Klint did not believe in the concept of a coffee table, instead drawing “small tables with space for pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarettes, ashtrays and matches… [later realising] that space for cups and glasses was needed, too.” (Source: Rud. Rasmussen’s Snedkerier).
Image © Rud. Rasmussen’s Snedkerier.
MK98860 Folding Table
The MK98860 Folding Table was designed in 1960 by Mogens Koch, a Danish architect and furniture designer. Part of a series of folding furniture, the folding table is practical and portable. Perfect for serving coffee in smaller living spaces and on pleasurable day trips.
Image © Rud. Rasmussen’s Snedkerier.
Monkey Side Table
Madrid-born Spanish designer Jaime Hayon is the Pedro Almodóvar of design. Hayon’s works are everything from exuberant to grand, functional to meticulous, artistic to bizarre. His Monkey Side Table for BD Barcelona is a case in point. Made using solid architectural concrete, the Monkey Side Table is wonderfully quirky and charismatic. Enjoy a coffee with this lovable sidekick.
Image © Hayonstudio.
The Pig Table was designed to real pig scale by Swedish design group Front for Moooi. Audacious, ostentatious, playful, peculiar, brilliant and mad, the Pig Table is a perfectly idiosyncratic example of Moooi’s design genre.
Image © Moooi BV.
PK61 Coffee Table
The PK61 coffee table was designed by Danish master craftsman Poul Kjærholm. The table’s modern minimal aesthetic is timeless, enduring and classic, imbued with integrity, gravitas and finesse. It is available with four different table tops: slate, marble, granite and glass. The base is made of satin-brushed stainless steel.
Image © Republic of Fritz Hansen.
Risom Amoeba Shaped Coffee Table
The Risom Amoeba Shaped Coffee Table was designed in 1943 by Jens Risom for Knoll, the first collection ever designed for and manufactured by the company. With its Scandinavian curves and appeal, Risom’s works helped establish Knoll as an early provider of modern design in the USA.
Image © 2015 Knoll, Inc.
TURN side table
Pared back, functional and aesthetic, the casual TURN side table, designed by Maigrau, combines a thin round tabletop with a slight turn of its cone-like table legs. Maigrau, established in 2007 by two industrial designers, offers a collection of German manufactured products with Scandinavian flair.
Image © Maigrau.
The Turning Table by German designer Theresa Arns functions as both a table and storage receptacle. The storage container is opened by rotating the lid (the table’s top) around one of the legs.
Image © Menu A/S.