Coffee tables are the centerpiece of almost every living room, but despite their prominent positioning (and near-ubiquity), they aren’t always the most useful – or stylish – pieces of furniture. The good news is, your coffee table can be more than a remote-rest and clutter-catcher. Especially if you’re working with a small space, or short on storage in your living room, a multi-function coffee table (or just one with lots of built in storage) can turn that boring default piece of furniture into a workhorse for your space.
Modern Coffee Tables With Integrated Magazine Holders
The vast majority of coffee tables are nothing more than tables: just a flat surface with maybe a little touch of style to help pull together your living room set. But that means even small tweaks to the design can make them a whole lot more functional. Personally, I love the look of modern coffee tables that are bent and curved to create a built-in magazine holder. This is especially nice if you actually use your coffee table for serving coffee or food. An integrated magazine rack will let you quickly stow books and magazines… while still keeping them on display. Bonus: the shape of these tables is fun and funky, too!
Simple Solution: Add Some Drawers
Of course, small changes aren’t the only ones you can make. If you need a serious boost to your storage, look for coffee tables that have built-in drawers. Again, it’s a simple change, but can turn a decorative piece of furniture into a highly functional one. Whether you’re storing spare game controllers, manuals, pet toys or treats, or even part of your media collection, the large, closed drawers of this kind of storage coffee table can really help you cut down on the clutter in your living room. Especially if the drawers are solid, you can hide all manner of messy odds and ends inside, and no one will be the wiser!
Added Storage Can Also Be Display Space
Of course, if you’re like me and apt to forget something exists the moment it’s hidden away in a drawer, you can also find coffee tables with built in storage that dual purposes as a display. These aren’t so good for, say, your spare extension cord and a few packs of batteries, but are great for any collection you’d like to invite your guests to see, but not necessarily keep out on the tabletop 24/7. This look is ideal for combining decorative and functional – storing things like wine bottles, photo albums, or even spare dishes (if you’d like to be able to bust out the wine and cheese on command!).
Combine Shelf And Drawer Storage
All this sounding good? Look for coffee tables with multiple types of storage. Half drawer/half shelf is another pretty commonly available configuration, and offers a nice balance of hidden and displayed storage. I like this setup because it offers a combination of junk-drawer-style storage, with shelves that are great for stowing books or magazines. They also make a good spot for more commonly accessed items you don’t want cluttering up your tabletop, like spare remotes or controllers, coasters, and so on.
Updated Industrial Cart Style Coffee Tables
For a while there, vintage carts were on everyone’s must-have living room design list. And to be fair, the look definitely has it’s merits: not only is it a great way to add a vintage industrial flair to your space, but the built-in wheels make them more mobile than most coffee tables, which is perfect if you have a futon or sleeper sofa and need to make space. That said, most of them don’t offer much in the way of storage. If you like the look but want to get a little more mileage out of it, look for ones that (at minimum) have a built-in shelf, or, better yet, baskets or cubbies for added storage.
Mix And Match Storage Features To Meet Your Needs
If you aren’t sure what type of storage to choose, remember these options don’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, mixing and matching is often your best bet. A combination of shelves, cabinets, baskets, cubbies, and so on will make your coffee table more flexible in terms of what and how much you can store in it. Before you start shopping, think about what you’d like to store in your new coffee table (and how hidden you want it to be), and look for features accordingly. You also want to consider how much effort you want to put into using the storage, and how often you’ll need to access items. It’s easy to toss odds and ends into a storage basket, but not always easy to find them later!
While many coffee tables are purely decorative, it isn’t hard to find one that can add functionality to your space. Especially in a small or high-traffic living room, having even a little bit of extra storage can really help keep your space looking tidy without any extra effort.