Taking centre stage in any sitting-room setup, a stylish coffee table has the ability to bring the room together while proving a practical piece of furniture.

Its basic function is, of course, to provide a handy surface for remote controls, magazines and mugs (even minimalists have these), but some designs come with hidden storage or a shelf that doubles the surface area and keeps living spaces pleasingly free of clutter.

With modular seating and corner sofas increasingly popular, a round coffee table adds a sociable element: wrap your L-shaped settee around a circular table for the full effect. If you’re short on space, however, you could opt for a classic rectangular coffee table that will sit snugly in front of your two-seater.

Think about height when choosing a coffee table. We found a number of designs that are particularly low-sitting. These have a laidback appeal, bringing a luxurious informality to modern living spaces.

Our round-up of the best coffee tables comprises a variety of styles, whether you’re looking for a striking contemporary piece with sculptural flair, or something a bit more homely and timeless in design to show off your favourite art books.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Made Dotty round coffee table: £149, Made

With its overtly retro design and shrewd functionality, Made’s offering is a cheery little furniture piece that’s also our most affordable coffee-table pick. We loved the way the three colours complement each other – the dark-stained wood is offset with muted shades of salmon pink and petrol blue – in an understated pop of colour that doesn’t distract from the natural wood top. The circular trays are supported by skinny, mid-century-inspired hairpin legs, giving the piece a lightness of form. The double trays proved handy for that extra bit of storage and, overall, the piece feels reliably sturdy.

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Content by Terence Conran groove coffee table: £316, Content by Terence Conran

Clean-lined and contemporary, this rectangular coffee table forms part of Content by Terence Conran’s groove range, which celebrates the designer’s trademark simplicity in form and functionality. Crafted from pale oak, with a contrasting, angled charcoal frame, the table offers a cool Scandi feel with a mid-century twist. We loved the dimensional groove detailing on the lower shelf – useful for keeping bits and bobs in place – while the top is beautifully smooth to the touch. At 120cm in width, it sits neatly in front of a standard three-seater sofa.

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Sweetpea & Willow opera coffee table, large: £525, Sweetpea & Willow

This statement of a coffee table will bring drama and opulence to any living room. At 80cm in diameter, the circular piece demands some space, so team it with a sprawling L-shaped corner sofa to award it pride of place. With its powder-coated finish, the bright, light brass is tastefully muted, making this an ideal choice for fans of shiny surfaces and the soft industrial trend. We loved the contrast of the black metal legs in an uninterrupted and angular structure. The coffee table sits low, offsetting the glamour with a casual appeal.

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Rose & Grey natural webbed coffee table: £280, Rose & Grey

This is a coffee table of contrasts: the smooth surface against the textured rattan; the perfectly circular top supported by sharply angled trapezium legs... it’s these opposing elements that make this contemporary furniture piece a stand-out. Crafted from pale sungkai wood, the coffee table is low-sitting and boasts an impressive diameter, making it a practical piece with plenty of surface area. As with any pale-wood furniture, it brings a sense of Scandi calm, along with a hint of boho in its woven rattan detailing. Design-led and daring in its shaping.

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John Lewis & Partners + Swoon Emerson coffee table, grey: £349, John Lewis & Partners

Part of an irresistible collection of key pieces from luxury furniture maker Swoon, in collaboration with the high-street giant, this two-tiered coffee table is characteristically glamorous. Crafted from MDF, wood veneer and iron, the circular top boasts an arresting visual texture with mismatching wood-grain sections separated by Deco-inspired gold, geometric lines. There’s pleasing geometry in the rest of the piece too, with its gold tripod frame that supports a smaller shelf underneath – ideal for books and magazines, while keeping the top tier clear for your coffee.

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Maisons du Monde nest of three Long Island coffee tables: £324, Maisons du Monde

We’ve seen a rise in the demand for versatility in furniture pieces with modular seating increasing in popularity. It’s only right, then, that our coffee table set-up should be equally adaptable. This trio of tables works well as a sculptural centrepiece but can also be separated to suit your needs. Crafted from FSC-certified solid fir, this one scores high on sustainability. The smooth, natural wood is offset with stark black metal frames, imbuing it with a chic, industrial aesthetic. Designed with entertaining in mind, these extendable tables will hold quite a spread on movie night.

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Tikamoon Bonnie sheesham coffee table: £329, Tikamoon

A wonderfully warming furniture piece crafted from sheesham wood, this low-sitting coffee table is contemporary yet timeless in design. Its striking visual texture comes from the swirling natural wood-grain – made even more apparent by its dark varnish. It is a sturdy unit that’s set on neat black metal legs in an inverted tripod shape. Best is the hidden storage compartment that’s ideal for tidying away the magazines and remote controls. Simply slide the upper section across to reveal a handy drawer that spans the width of the table and keeps the naturally beautiful wood clutter-free.

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Emily Marlin medium coffee table: £692, Emily Marlin

Handcrafted from jesmonite with a powder-coated solid steel frame, Emily Marlin’s arresting coffee tables are the design lover’s choice. A masterclass in modern simplicity, they can be mixed and matched with different-sized tables in “classic” or “darkside” – black on white or white on black. For added glamour, copper fragments can be added, as well as custom colours to the bases. Weighing in at 26kg, the medium coffee table is a hefty piece of furniture, and one that offers understated cool. Just shy of £700, this one’s undoubtedly an investment piece, but it already feels like a design classic.

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The verdict: Coffee tables

Made’s Dotty round coffee table is great value for money and offers a retro charm that stays on the tasteful side of pastiche. It wouldn’t look out of place mixed with original mid-century pieces, in fact. We loved its colour contrasts and double-tray design. On the pricier side, Sweetpea & Willow’s opera coffee table is a shining beacon of glamour in any living room set-up. A true statement piece.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.