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What are the Pros and Cons of a Long Coffee Table?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Pros of a long coffee table include making a large, boxy living room look narrower and having a good space for displaying a row of accessory pieces. Some cons of choosing this type of table are limiting the space for walking around it and creating too minimalistic or plain of a look for some rooms. Before decorating, each individual living room should be carefully analyzed in terms of the right scale and shape of coffee table that would best complement the space.

A long, thin coffee table, especially one that's dark inside a white or lighter colored room, can visually narrow a big, square living room. This can be an advantage, as it can make the room appear cozier yet still spacious. Plus, in a large room, a long coffee table will still allow plenty of space for people to walk around it without bumping into other furniture.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

On the other hand, if the living room is small or narrow, longer coffee tables are often impractical as well as unattractive. The space to walk around them comfortably is usually limited and this can make a small room feel very cramped. Also, a coffee table as long as the sofa doesn't leave space on either end. Surprisingly, a small, square coffee table that does leave space in front of a sofa on each end tends to give the illusion of a larger living room.

Another disadvantage of a long coffee table is that it won't usually fit with a sectional sofa because of its length. This type of table also won't work with a small sofa or love seat if it's longer than the seating. Yet, while a longer coffee table may only look attractive in front of a large couch, if it's a bench style piece, it can double as extra dining room seating in bigger homes.

Whereas the space on square or round coffee tables tends to become filled with clutter, this is less likely to happen with a long style of table — especially one with objects displayed in a row. The available space for extra items becomes even more limited in that case, so a great advantage of a long coffee table can be a neater look. A row of statuettes or other decorative pieces may easily appear dwarfed by a wide furniture piece, while a long, narrow coffee table often gives such sculptures just enough room to be displayed attractively.

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      Woman holding a book