Coffee tables have been a living room essential for decades. They function, not only as a surface for coffee and books, but as a centerpiece of the room that ties together the decor. Because they’re constructed in a variety of styles, finding the right one sometimes can pose a problem.
To make the search easier, this guide offers shopping tips and suggestions for some of the best coffee tables by category.
- BEST OVERALL: TANGKULA Coffee Table Lift Top
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Greyleigh Cainsville Coffee Table with Storage
- BEST LUXURY: AllModern Rubin Coffee Table
- BEST NESTING: Wrought Studio Leatherman Extendable Sled Tables
- BEST MODERN: Wade Logan Luther Floor Shelf Coffee Table
- BEST MID-CENTURY MODERN: Wade Logan Madilynn Trestle Coffee Table with Storage
- BEST FARMHOUSE: Laurel Foundry Isakson Trestle Coffee Table
- BEST INDUSTRIAL: Zipcode Design Winnie Sled Coffee Table
- BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Joss & Main Skoog Wooden Coffee Table
Popular Types of Coffee Tables
When shopping for the best coffee table for your living space, consider the table type that suits both your lifestyle and budget. Here’s a summary of the top coffee tables on the market.
Glass Coffee Tables
A glass coffee table is a popular design because it helps create a feeling of openness. Glass tabletops give way to the architectural design of the table’s base, or they can showcase the family’s favorite treasures. While beautiful, remember that even tempered glass can break more easily than other materials and that glass requires regular cleaning to remove fingerprints and water rings.
Wood Coffee Tables
Wood coffee tables are the most common type of coffee table. Weathered wood can add warmth and softness, while sleek finishes add a contemporary, elegant touch. Wood-legged tables are generally quite sturdy, so if you’re shopping for a small space, a wood table with high-quality construction also can serve as seating. Many tables are constructed with manufactured wood, which means the top layer of the product is solid wood, while the inside is pressed board, also known as MDF.
Metal Coffee Tables
Industrial-style metal tables offer both function and factory—think work benches or industrial-type storage constructed with metal and wood. While some coffee tables are built exclusively with metal or steel, on most of them, metal is used as a frame or incorporated as trim with another material, such as wood, glass, or marble.
Marble Coffee Tables
Marble coffee tables offer elegance and formal appeal. In addition to aesthetic appeal, marble is noted for its durability against stains and scratches. Marble also offers design versatility. Coupling marble with other materials, such as metal or wood, can contrast or soften its appearance. White marble is a popular choice to brighten a living area or create a natural contrast against darker-colored furniture. Marble coffee tables vary in price depending on size and quality. If a marble coffee table is too expensive, faux-marble options also are available.
Storage Coffee Tables
For space-saving solutions or simply to reduce clutter, storage coffee tables are an option. The storage compartments come in various styles: open shelving, sliding drawers, and hidden compartments. Newer versions have lift-top panels, so you can use the table as a work or study space or as a dining area to enjoy dinner while binge-watching television. Some lift-top versions even have hidden storage compartments below the panels.
Nesting Coffee Tables
Nesting tables are a creative option for those looking for a table for a small space or who need versatility. With two or three tables in the set, nesting designs allow the tables to nest together for a space-saving modern look. Use them separately for magazines, flower arrangements, or beverages and snacks when entertaining guests. Nesting table sets come in round, square, and rectangular shapes with stone, wood, or glass tabletops.
Coffee Table Sets
Coffee table sets usually include a coffee table and matching end tables and/or stands. Some sets may even include a sofa table or TV stand. When furnishing a room from scratch, a set of matching tables may be an option. In some sets, the pieces can be purchased separately, allowing the addition of tables as the budget and space allow.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Coffee Table
Think of a coffee table as the anchor of the living room. When shopping for the best coffee table, look for a coffee table that will complement both the living space and your lifestyle. In addition, consider family size and living space, as well as decor preferences.
When looking for a coffee table to complement existing decor, pay close attention to size. Along with the size of the room, also consider the size of the sofa and the placement of the other furniture. The average coffee table height is around 18 inches, but, more importantly, the table should be within 2 inches of the sofa’s seat height to balance the space and enhance function. Ideally, place the coffee table 12 to 18 inches from the sofa and 7 feet from the TV.
Coffee tables come in almost any shape imaginable. The most common shape was originally rectangular, but geometric designs are becoming more popular. Round coffee tables and square tables also have gotten more popular; they work especially well in smaller living spaces.
A coffee table’s weight varies by its construction. Heavier materials are often associated with higher quality tables. If the table is made with solid wood or quality marble, it will weigh on the heavier side. Less expensive designs made from particle board or metal might be lighter, but they also are often less durable. Weight is a concern if the table must be transported upstairs or when the space is so small that the furniture must be rearranged frequently.
Considering lifestyle needs helps narrow down the most important features for each individual. In a sophisticated, modern room, a minimalist table may be the right addition. However, avid readers or those who work from home may find a table with storage and a lift top serves them better than an ultra-trendy design. Look for a table that either complements or contrasts with the current design. For example, if the other furniture in the room has legs/feet, consider a table with different-size legs or a table with no legs at all.
No matter the style, a coffee table can make a statement. Also consider the balance between the new coffee table and the existing living room furniture. Some of the more popular coffee table styles on the market today are mid-century modern, industrial, cottage/farmhouse, modern, contemporary, and the more traditional Parsons table.
Anticipate how the coffee table will be used to gauge the level of versatility required. A coffee table can be used for much more than simply as a drink or magazine holder. Use a coffee table for storage, additional seating, a bookshelf, display case, or simply as a design feature.
Our Top Picks
After researching coffee table trends and reviews, here are the top picks by category.
Style meets function in the TANGKULA Coffee Table. Its straight lines exude an elegant vibe, but the highlight of this table’s design is its generous storage space. Below the tabletop, a divided design provides space for books, storage baskets, or novelties. For consumers who work or study from home, the table has a lift-top panel for typing or writing. Under the lift top, a hidden compartment hides a laptop or other electronics.
The table’s pneumatic lifting rod ensures effortless adjustment. It comes in a brown finish as well as white.
Affordable coffee tables don’t have to be cheap or out of style. The sleek yet rustic design of the Cainsville Coffee Table brings the right style at the right price. Constructed with high-grade manufactured wood, the table comes in several finish options: slate gray, barnwood, gray wash, driftwood, rustic oak, and dark walnut. The steel frame has a powder-coated matte black finish that offers a pop of contrast to the wood’s finish. You can use the bottom shelf for books, collectibles, or storage boxes and baskets.
The Rubin Coffee Table’s design is simple, yet elegant, with subtle geometric turns. Use either the top or bottom tier to display books on art and travel, or leave both spaces open for a more contemporary feel. The table’s base, which is crafted from stainless steel, is available in high-polish gold and steel finishes. Both the tempered-glass tabletop and bottom tier are mounted to the base for added stability. The table is available in two different sizes.
These Leatherman nesting tables are a simple, chic combination of mid-century design and industrial decor. The hand-crafted nickel frame comes in blackened bronze or brass. The table has a tempered-glass top and an open base that creates a bright, airy space that can also serve as a storage area for baskets. The smaller table slides partially or completely under the larger table, so it can be used only when needed.
The Luther Floor Shelf Coffee Table makes a dramatic statement. The table is constructed from manufactured wood, and the high-gloss lacquer makes the white finish pop. The unique curl feature creates interest and extra shelf space. It contains three tiers to showcase arts and crafts, keepsakes, or photography books. The table’s support poles have a chrome finish for a modern touch.
The Madilynn Trestle Coffee Table is a conversation starter. The table features a center tempered-glass focal point that showcases four open cubes that can house collectibles, books, and other decorative treasures. The curved base gives the table a modern feel. Both sides of the table have sliding storage drawers with silver-tone hardware to reduce clutter such as remotes and coasters. The table is also available in a dark walnut finish.
The 2-inch-thick tabletop on this Laurel Foundry Isakson coffee table is built with solid and manufactured wood given a faux aged treatment. Choose from gray, black, brown, and oak finishes. Clean-line black metal legs in x-crossed designs complement the rustic design, supporting a smaller lower shelf. Homeowners can complete the look with a matching end table (sold separately).
Keep the decorating game effortless. The Winnie Sled Coffee Table has an industrial yet aesthetic appeal. The thick, rectangular top comes in either a black oak or a canyon gray finish for a stylish, natural touch. It’s composed of medium-density fiberboard with a wood veneer. The table’s contoured legs are made with powder-coated metal. The table’s open base complements a bare floor or an area rug.
Acacia wood is a favorite for outdoor spaces because it resists cracking, and the wood’s natural knots and grain color offer a natural element. Skoog’s Wooden Coffee Table simple design adds function without overwhelming the space. The naturally stained finish blends nicely with most patio decor. It’s weather-resistant, but the manufacturer recommends applying teak oil as needed to protect the table’s finish.
FAQs About Your New Coffee Table
How and where to place a coffee table may seem intuitive, but a few unwritten rules apply. If you’re a bit uncertain as to where to put your coffee table, keep reading to find some of the most common questions consumers ask when shopping for and placing their new coffee table.
Q. Where do you place a coffee table?
Your coffee table is the focal point of living room decor, and, as such, it should be placed at the center of the furnishing elements.
Q. How far away should a coffee table be from the sofa?
Place your coffee table within 12 to 18 inches of your sofa. Items on the table will be easily accessible to everyone on the sofa.
Q. How tall should a coffee table be?
Your coffee table should mirror your sofa’s height, within 1 to 2 inches, for optimal comfort and flow.
Q. How do you decorate a coffee table?
A coffee table is a reflection of the home or apartment occupant’s personality—it’s the ideal space to showcase interests and hobbies with books, souvenirs, and collectibles. However, more minimalist personality types may want to keep the coffee table clean and free of clutter.