The wheel gets a ton of credit. I see why, of course. We go from A to B to everywhere because of it. But what’s interesting about the wheel (if you think about it), is that it’s not necessarily the object that deserves the applause—it’s the shape. Without its curves, a wheel wouldn’t be the powerhouse tool it is. Which brings me to my point: Sometimes the biggest transformations come in the simplest curve of a line. Take the humble coffee table. Swap a rectangle or square one for a round version and your living room suddenly inherits a flow. It’s that ease of impact that inspired my search for any and all coffee table décor ideas out there.
But before we get to any styling tips, I want to explore the how-tos behind the round version of this living room staple. When is it ideal to choose curved edges over their 90-degree counterparts? And is a round (or even oval) coffee table great for any space?
Not so much, interior designer Meghan Basinger replies to the latter. “It really is only appropriate in certain situations,” the founder and principal of Stevie Interiors tells me. “You have to think about the room, the big picture, and take into account the other main pieces.”
In an effort to make the most out of the curved line trend (that’s right, they’re huge in 2022 décor), I tapped Basinger for her tips for when to choose soft edges over hard. And, of course, the best décor ideas for any round coffee table. Here’s her take.
Feature image by Ashlee Fox
Image by Nicki Sebastian
The Best Room for a Round Coffee Table
A round coffee table is best suited for a space with a sofa and chaise, or a full sectional sofa. These types of sofas, which generally take up more space, have a lot of hard lines, and therefore a round table softens the look, says Basinger. “It just fits nicely into the little nook” and adds a flow.
Another ideal setting is when you want to design a more formal sitting arrangement. Basinger loves situating four cozy living room chairs around a larger round coffee table, creating an intimate spot for cocktails, conversation, and even game night.
Image by Molly Culver
The Unexpected Benefits of a Round Coffee Table
When there are little ones running about, a round coffee table can be a bit… kinder. “We have clients with young children who are often falling and hitting the corner of the table,” she says. Of course, if it’s a square or rectangular shape, that doesn’t always feel so great!”
How a Round Coffee Table Works in Smaller Homes
It’s perfect for when room is limited, believes Basinger. “It’s really great if you don’t have a lot of space because round coffee tables generally tend to be smaller and don’t take up as much space as a square or rectangular coffee table.” For packed apartments, such as urban studios, look for a round option with a glass top, which she says, “gives off more of that airy feeling.”
Keep Scrolling for 3 Tips That’ll Help You Style Your Round Coffee Table Like a Pro
#1: Layer It Up
This goes for whether you’re styling a coffee table or a bookshelf, says Basinger. Think in terms of different heights and textures and layer those atop the table. “A stack of coffee table books. A vessel with either fresh or dried florals. And maybe another object, like something vintage or brass candlesticks.”
Image by Michelle Nash
#2: Think In 3s
Steer clear of overly decking out a round coffee table. “I always tell people to avoid a bunch of clutter,” suggests Basinger. “It should be intentional.” You can accomplish this by keeping it to three sections, which creates a balanced look.
Image by Danielle Sabol
#3: Keep It Tonal
For a streamlined look, keep everything in the same hues or complementary tones. And again, play up the varied heights and textures. This keeps the look clean and uncluttered.
What About Oval Coffee Tables?
Yes! exclaims Basinger, who loves to pair an oval with a simple sofa sans chaise. This adds the flow of a curved edge with a bit more length. Basinger also suggests leaning into the funkier, quirkier round coffee tables out there, some of which boast thick bases, concrete details, and even funkier shapes. Whatever it may be, straying from the hard edges will take you on a décor adventure. “The rounds have a little bit more fun.”
Image by Michelle Nash