Coffee Table Buying Guide

What’s it Used For

A coffee table isn’t just a decoration, it’s got a use and a purpose, and when purchasing you should be aware of your needs for the room. Are you just using it to hold drinks? Pile books and reading material? Eat dinner while enjoying some movies with your family. Maybe eating dinner alone? How many people does the coffee table need to accommodate? All of these questions and more lock in to what you need out of your coffee table. Asking them allow you to find the best coffee table for your needs.
This goes for everything from the shape to the size of the coffee table. You have to decide on a large coffee table or a small one. Maybe you want to store objects and blankets within it and get a lift top (which works for eating dinner too!). You can get drawers, glass tops, mission tables, showcases. Think of what you want in your living room and you’ll instantly know which direction to go with your coffee table research.


Size is probably one of the most important factors when it comes to purchasing a coffee table. You need to consider your room proportions figure out what will work in your living room. This should be done without even browsing coffee tables for purchase, measure out how high you want it and what kind of footprint you want it to take up. With these you can easily figure out which coffee tables will work and which will be disastrous before you even leave your home.
You’re going to want about 2 to 3 feet of leeway around the coffee table on all sides or else you’re going to find yourself stubbing toes and knocking shins in the night. Save the pain, measure beforehand. With this knowledge you’ll not only create a stylish room, but a comfy one so you can easily live in your living room.


You’d think that for the most part shape is merely a subjective decision on what would look best for your coffee table in the living room. But honestly shape massively affects your walking room just as much as the size of a table. Circular coffee tables tend to work better with sectional sofa sets and love seats. Rectangle coffee table works best with a standalone sofa. Round tables allow for easier navigation around from one side to the next, but harder navigation next to it. Rectangular and square coffee tables do the opposite, with easy to navigate sides, but difficult corners. You can use the layout of your room to make the decision or go for beauty over function and opt for your favourite.

Quality and materials

When it comes to furniture you’ll quickly find that quality and price are frequently related. Sure you can go for a cheap coffee table, but you’ll quickly find that it’s made of low quality wood that’s hardly sturdy. Definitely stay away from particle board and if you’re on a budget, look to walnut, treated wicker, reed-wood, or bamboo furniture. Decide what material you want for your coffee table.
Maybe you want to buy a granite table or an oak one. Choosing between stone and wood is a good first step. They follow the same rules about quality and price. If you make the choice for a wooden table you’re going to want to worry about the type of wood. As your price range goes up, you’re going to want to opt in for real solid wood, you can find any coffee table style with this construction and get a piece that will be sturdy and last your family a long time. If you cheap out on the wood you’ll find that the table stains easily and is much more likely to break from minor stresses. Be sure to check out the pine coffee table guide to see the strengths and weaknesses of that material.
Stone tables have some cleaning issues, you’ll want to use them more as a decorative piece than a nightly dinner table. Stone tables have high durability, a distinct look, and many natural earth tones that work with many designs. But you’ll need to use coasters and may have to get your table sealed yearly for an additional cost.
If you’re purchasing in a store be sure to verify that the wood has been cut with the grain and that the lines in the wood follow the edges of the piece, otherwise you’ll find that it will splinter and be a lot less sturdy. Check the quality of the stone and see if the sealing is done properly and uniform. If you’re shopping online, definitely be sure to read the reviews and pay attention to quality and craftsmanship that other purchasers received. When I bought my first piece of furniture online I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see it before I got it. However with proper measuring and review checking I quickly found out that that fear was unfounded.