Modern Coffee Tables: Finding the right place to set your... A few things to consider while shopping for modern coffee tables: How it will be used. Is your modern coffee table going to be a grand masterpiece or a practical centerpiece? Is it going to live up to its name, covered in cappuccinos? Are propped up dirty socks allowed or might it just as well be cordoned off behind velvet ropes? Thinking about how the table is going to be used will guide all other decisions Material. Modern coffee tables made of glass are good for small spaces as they can be deceptively large without taking up a large visual footprint. A heavy wood can create a weighty feel that can cozy up a room, especially in rooms with high ceilings. Conversely, go for a colorful metal or plastic in your modern coffee table to energize a space. Shape. Often the shape of a modern coffee table mimics the lines of the corresponding seating: seating with soft, round lines lending themselves to circular and oval modern coffee tables and seating with angular lines are a good match to square and rectangular modern coffee tables. Size. A good rule of thumb for the size of a modern coffee table is loosely half the size of your sofa. A standard height for a modern coffee table is 16-18 inches or 1-2 inches lower than the seating it's near.