Many of my organizing clients live in somewhat small homes, so I'm always appreciative of furniture that serves a dual purpose—and coffee tables are an ideal place for adding some storage.
This coffee table from RKNL provides storage in a subtle way, with a space that could store magazines, TV remotes, etc.—the kind of things an end-user is likely to want at hand when in the living room, great room, etc. But this would probably be a horrid table for someone with small children, who would gleefully pull everything off that shelf.
This Gus Modern wireframe coffee table makes everything stored totally visible. I can see this being used to store things like lap throws or a child's stuffed animals—if these are things that would be used in the same room as the table. There are bumpers on the bottom of the frame to protect hardwood floors from scratches.
On the other hand, there are a number of ways to keep the items in storage totally hidden. This coffee table from Cummins Design does it with two drawers.
The Chiva coffee table from BoConcepts has a lift top which provides access to the storage compartments; the raised top could also turn this table into a dining space or laptop work surface. One minor inconvenience: End-users would probably want to remove anything placed on the lift-up sections before the tops were raised. And if there were small children around, I'd want to investigate how easy it was to lift and lower the lids; could little fingers get hurt?
Another way to hide the storage is to use surfaces that slide apart, as these coffee tables from TemaHome do. Again, if children are around, the end-user would want to make sure this table wouldn't cause any damaged fingers. Note that this coffee table will take more space than some other designs, since there needs to be room for the top sections to move apart.
This table from Vig Furniture provides three levels of compartmentalized storage. The dividers help organize the contents, but would be even more useful if they could be reconfigured to meet the end-users specific needs.
Trunks such as this one from Restoration Hardware are yet another way to provide totally hidden storage—and yet another one where child safety would need to be considered. A large trunk could provide nice storage for things like out-of-season bedding. Because lifting the lid will mean removing everything on the coffee table, this kind of product would work best for things the end-users don't want to access on a regular basis.
Some coffee table designs address more specialized needs, such as this restored flat file from Casa Wabi Sabi. These are obviously nice for drawings, maps and other such items.
Some end-users might want the display feature of that last table without needing the flat files, and there's where shadow box coffee tables come into play. I suggested this type of table to one of my clients who had a collection of rocks and shells hidden away in a drawer; she got the table, and loves having her collection readily visible. This one, from Applewood Furniture + Decor, has a sash window motif.
For end-users who would just like to keep a few magazines handy, there's the Mag Coffee Table from the Ali Sandifer Studio.
This coffee table has storage space for file folders; it would work well for end-users who use their coffee tables as their workspaces, and need a few files close at hand. However, since coffee tables are usually in areas where visitors are entertained—and since the table drawers do not lock—this would not be a good storage space for any files with confidential information.
Photo by Takumi Ota
And for end-users who could use many different compartments to stash some stuff, there's the Kai table from Naoki Kirakoso, designed with Takamitsu Kitahara.