Thursday, July 31, 2014

Double up: Using two small coffee tables instead of one

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I got to tour the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. The rooms of this fantastic mansion had all been converted to small theaters where magicians dazzled us with their acts. The tour guide told us a (probably apocryphal) story about how the owner first toured his new mansion, drink in hand. Every time there was a pause on the tour, he'd go to set his cocktail down, then point to the area and say, "We're going to put a bar there." And yep, there were tons of bars scattered throughout the house. I think some of the dazzle from the shows was more because of the bartenders than the magicians, now that I think of it.

In your tiny home, you might not have room to put a full bar anyplace you'd like to set down your drink. But you've gotta have someplace to put it, right? Whether it's a martini or a mug of coffee, the space in the middle of your living room, that place where couch, chair, and TV converge, needs to have a surface that can hold a drink or two. But the key is that it doesn't have to be big, and it doesn't have to be a single piece, either.

Having two (or more!) small tables in lieu of one large coffee table is a great solution for a small space. Even with two separate pieces, they often take up less space, and they're more easily moved and reconfigured should you need to change things up.

Matched Sets

Having two identical tables is the cleanest, most formal way to try this trend. Surprisingly, it's also one of the easiest. Many side tables come in pairs, so it's pretty foolproof. (Finding complementing tables can be more of a challenge, as we'll see below.) Just be careful of buying any ol' side table, though; they're often higher than a coffee table, which can make it feel awkward. You have to be able to comfortably put your feet up, after all!

Different Sizes

The second-easiest method is to pick two of the same table, but in different sizes. You can nest these tables, pulling out the inner table if you need more surface space, or you can place them next to each other, creating a more dynamic look with their different heights.


If your apartment is already a mish-mosh of Craigslist finds, go with it! Embrace an eclectic, bohemian vibe with mismatched tables clustered together to form your informal coffee table. Finding two tables that work together while retaining their own personalities can be a challenge; try contrasting shapes, heights, materials, and colors – but not all of those at once. A coat of the same paint on wildly different pieces could be just the right amount of cohesion needed to make your room look thoughtful, not messy.

Even More

Of course, why should you limit yourself to just two coffee tables? If you've got the space, fill it with however many you like! This also allows you to use smaller pieces, like garden stools, crates, or even large suitcases.


  1. This is what we ended up doing with two cheap Ikea Lack tables we got as placeholders until we found a coffee able we loved. turns out this is way more practical in our small apartment because they're light enough move around when we need more floor space and will sit side by side as one bigger table when we need more surface space

  2. I love the concept of Mismatched tables. It looks so great. Thanks for sharing very creative and unique idea.


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