Coffee Tables Buying Guide

It's not entirely clear when or where the first coffee table came into use, but it's certainly a ubiquitous piece in today's homes. In a living room in particular, a coffee table can elegantly show off a decorative centerpiece, or it can be put to use holding drinks, snacks, a collection of remote controls, or -- of course -- coffee table books. With all of these uses, it's no wonder there are myriad styles and materials for these indispensable pieces.

Types of Coffee Tables

Types of Coffee Tables

Here's an overview of the vast range of coffee tables, from the basic versions meant to humbly hold items within close reach, to the scene-stealers with unusual designs or unorthodox materials that grab attention as they perform their tasks.

Simple

The simplest design for a coffee table is a rectangular surface measuring about 30 inches wide and 40-48 inches long—the size you choose depends on the size of your sofa. If you have a long sofa, you need a longer coffee table so the people seated on the end cushions can reach it. Coffee tables can be made of wood (or a woodlike material such as particleboard and veneer), metal, glass, stone, or a combination of materials. As for shape, a coffee table can be a square, rectangle, circle, oval, or any design, as long as it's in proportion to the seating pieces grouped around it.

shop Simple
Better Homes and Gardens
$99.00 $97.88

Better Homes and Gardens River Crest Coffee Table:Mixed-material aestheticPowder-coated, metal frameTray-top designAssembly requir...ed1-year limited warrantyAssembled dimensions: 41.5"W x 22.5"D x 18"H (105.41 cm x 57.15 cm x 45.72 cm)Model# 418308 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$109.00 $105.00

Better Homes and Gardens Rustic Country Coffee Table, Antiqued Black/Pine Finish:Country styleFixed castersAntiqued black/pine fin...ishAssembly required41.339"L x 23.504"W x 18.504"HModel# 412720 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$229.99 $199.00

Better Homes and Gardens Preston Park Coffee Table, Dark Oak:Small storage drawer holds remotes and coastersLarge lower storage sh...elfDark oak finish with textured metal side framesAssembly requiredCoordinates with other pieces, all sold separately (1735196PCOM, 5050196PCOM, 5054196PCOM, 5279196PCOM, 9631196PCOM, 9835196PCOM)Dimensions: 43.9"W x 21.97"D x 19.96"H (111.5 cm x 55.8 cm x 50.69 cm)1-year limited warrantyModel# 5056196PCOM read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$79.00

Better Homes and Garden Steele Coffee Table: Complements the Steele CollectionLarge open lower shelf for display and storageEspres...so finishContemporary designEasy to assembleDimensions: 40"W x 20"D x 14"H (101.6 cm x 50.8 cm x 35.5 cm)1-year warrantyModel# BH46-021-399-01 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$101.92 $99.00

Better Homes and Gardens Maddox Crossing Coffee Table, Cognac:Complements Maddox Crossing CollectionSturdy wood constructionDimens...ions: 43"L x 23"W x 18"H (109.22 cm x 58.42 cm x 45.72 cm)Model# BH46-021-199-02 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$98.52 $85.34

The Better Homes and Gardens Coffee Table adds a beautiful touch to your space. With the elegant cherry finish, it can easily fit ...in either a traditional or contemporary home. Plus, this coffee table includes a large drawer for convenient storage of remote controls or other items within easy reach. It also includes a lower shelf for open storage for items such as magazines or photo albums. This cherry coffee table will add style and sophistication in the living room or family room of any home. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$159.00 $95.88

Mercer Coffee Table, Vintage Oak:Versatile 2-shelf coffee table with storageSturdy steel frame constructionVintage oak finish and ...hand-rubbed metalEasy to assemble and cleanDimensions: 43"W x 23"D x 18"HModel# BH45-021-399-01 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$137.03

Better Homes and Gardens Flynn Coffee Table, Pecan:Mid-Century StylePecan colored finishSolid Wood Legssmooth gliding drawerPair w...ith other items from the Flynn and Reed CollectionsAssembly RequiredDimensions: 38.00"L x 19.00"W x20.00"H (96.52 cm x 40.005 cm x 76.2 cm)Model# BH1602119913 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$149.00

Better Homes and Gardens Crossmill Collection Coffee Table, Weathered:Traditional styleReclaimed, re-purposed finishSlide-out top ...designConcealed storage under topFinished on all sides for versatile placementAssembly required1-year limted warrantyDimensions: 40.512"L x 20.079"W x 21.575"H (102.9 cm x 51 cm x 54 cm)Part of the Crossmill CollectionModel# 416413 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$99.00 $94.80

Better Homes and Gardens Reed Coffee Table, Pecan:Mid-Century StylePecan colored finishSolid Wood Legs and stretchersPair with oth...er items from the Flynn and Reed CollectionsAssembly RequiredDimensions: 40.00"L x 23.75"W x18.00"H (101.6 cm x 0 cm x 0 cm)Model# BH1602139901 read more

Home Decorators Collection
$399.00

Featuring rustic styling and vintage details, this truly unique coffee table from our Maldives Collection offers an interesting lo...ok that will instantly refresh the look of your home. Designed to appear like a vintage trunk, this coffee table offers convenient storage space for blankets, throw pillows and other necessities. Order yours today and bring convenience and rustic appeal into your home. Expertly crafted of solid, sustainable hardwood for years of lasting beauty. A rich walnut finish completes the warm, inviting look. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$269.00 $239.00

This coffee table from our Oxford Collection showcases its simple-yet-elegant design through its straight lines and brushed pewter... hardware. Its lustrous finish makes it perfect for almost any living room decor.This coffee table is made with high-quality materials like the solid wood frame and hardwood veneer. These help to ensure that this coffee table will remain a part of your living room design for years to come. With 4 storage drawers for everything from magazines to coasters and remote controls, this cocktail table is sure to be a welcome addition to your living room furniture mix. Order today. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$239.00 $166.99

Perfect for entertaining or just enjoying an actual cup of coffee, the Provence coffee table features an elegant curved leg design... and scrolled footwork. Select this stylish coffee table today and add a finishing touch to any living room or den. Choose from a array of color combinations with gently distressed solid colors. Crafted from hearty poplar wood. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$229.00

The wide surface area of this coffee table make it excellent for holding magazines, home decor and even your guests' drinks. The s...leek appearance and curved legs add style to this modern piece. Buy yours now.Features a glass top.In a popular dark pewter finish for long-lasting beauty and added protection. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$379.00 $349.00

Bring a sense of adventure to your living room decor with the Trunk Coffee Table. Inspired by the steamer trunks of old, this char...acter-rich table actually opens to reveal an extra large storage compartment. Store blankets, remotes, board games and more with this one-of-a-kind table treasure! Made with wood veneer and reinforced with square metal tubes. Trunk opens for expansive living room storage. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$299.00 $279.00

The Vogue Coffee Table features contemporary design, a polished metal finish and smooth, organic curves that combine into one comp...elling piece. Perfect for drinks, displaying home accents and more, this table will be a fun and functional addition to your home decor. Order yours today. Made from metal and glass. A polished chrome finish completes the look. read more

Kid- and Pet-Friendly

Coffee tables are both assets and liabilities in homes with small children and pets. Many toddlers have learned to walk by first cruising around the edge of a coffee table, which is the perfect height for such an activity. However, a coffee table with sharp corners can cause bruises and injuries for the same teetering toddlers. If you have an angular table, add foam bumpers. Or choose a more child-friendly shape, such as round. Beware of painted wood tables, which can flake or peel when chewed on. And finally, a glass or stone table can pose a hazard if it breaks or chips.

Built-In Storage

There are many reasons to choose a coffee table with storage, such as drawers, shelves, or cabinets, built into it. You can keep remote controls contained, tidy up magazines, or hide away throw blankets. Some coffee tables even have deep inner cabinets under a hinged table surface, which you can use to stow everything from board games to sheets for a nearby pullout bed.

Unique Designs and Materials

Coffee tables are commonly made from stained wood, polished stone, or glass. But you can also find unusual materials, including enameled metal, chrome, hammered bronze, poured concrete, smoky glass, colored glass, textured glass, slices of tree trunks, leather, and plastic. A coffee table made from one of these unusual materials functions as a decorative punctuation point in a room, fostering conversation and comment.

Upholstered

Some people like to use large upholstered coffee tables because they may have a casual look, can match your upholstery, and are ready footrests. With a tray or another hard surface on top, they can also hold drinks. Larger than an ottoman, which is sized to match a chair, an upholstered coffee table should have dimensions that relate to your sofa. It may be a circle, square, oval, or rectangle, and the surface may be taut or tufted. And it may be upholstered in fabric or leather. Some upholstered coffee tables can be quite elegant, with carved legs, high-end fabric upholstery, and trimmings such as nailhead or fringe.

Specialty

Specialty coffee tables have additional concepts or abilities built into them. For example, some have chess boards painted on the surface. Some contain small propane fire pits. Others have a top that rises to lap height to become an eating or work surface. Chances are good there is a design available to meet your specific needs.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Here are a couple of other factors to keep in mind when purchasing a coffee table.

Height

When a coffee table is the proper height, a person sitting on the sofa can easily reach forward to set down a drink or pick up a cracker. This means most tables should be 16-18 inches tall, but if you have a taller sofa or one with tight, plump cushions that boost you up a bit, the coffee table should be a bit taller. If you frequently eat at the coffee table, you may also want it to be taller—20-22 inches should do it.

Care and Cleaning

For a piece of furniture that handles everything from feet to fish sticks, it's important to know how to clean and care for the type you're buying. Glass and polished-stone tables will show fingerprints. Wood tables need occasional oiling, and you should always use coasters under drinks to prevent damp glasses from damaging the surface. Upholstered coffee tables will benefit from a stain-retardant coating as soon as you bring it home and periodically thereafter. Specialty materials, such as poured concrete, will have their own care requirements.

Furniture on sale

Better Homes and Gardens
$99.00 $97.88

Better Homes and Gardens River Crest Coffee Table:Mixed-material aestheticPowder-coated, metal frameTray-top designAssembly requir...ed1-year limited warrantyAssembled dimensions: 41.5"W x 22.5"D x 18"H (105.41 cm x 57.15 cm x 45.72 cm)Model# 418308 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$109.00 $105.00

Better Homes and Gardens Rustic Country Coffee Table, Antiqued Black/Pine Finish:Country styleFixed castersAntiqued black/pine fin...ishAssembly required41.339"L x 23.504"W x 18.504"HModel# 412720 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$229.99 $199.00

Better Homes and Gardens Preston Park Coffee Table, Dark Oak:Small storage drawer holds remotes and coastersLarge lower storage sh...elfDark oak finish with textured metal side framesAssembly requiredCoordinates with other pieces, all sold separately (1735196PCOM, 5050196PCOM, 5054196PCOM, 5279196PCOM, 9631196PCOM, 9835196PCOM)Dimensions: 43.9"W x 21.97"D x 19.96"H (111.5 cm x 55.8 cm x 50.69 cm)1-year limited warrantyModel# 5056196PCOM read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$101.92 $99.00

Better Homes and Gardens Maddox Crossing Coffee Table, Cognac:Complements Maddox Crossing CollectionSturdy wood constructionDimens...ions: 43"L x 23"W x 18"H (109.22 cm x 58.42 cm x 45.72 cm)Model# BH46-021-199-02 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$98.52 $85.34

The Better Homes and Gardens Coffee Table adds a beautiful touch to your space. With the elegant cherry finish, it can easily fit ...in either a traditional or contemporary home. Plus, this coffee table includes a large drawer for convenient storage of remote controls or other items within easy reach. It also includes a lower shelf for open storage for items such as magazines or photo albums. This cherry coffee table will add style and sophistication in the living room or family room of any home. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$159.00 $95.88

Mercer Coffee Table, Vintage Oak:Versatile 2-shelf coffee table with storageSturdy steel frame constructionVintage oak finish and ...hand-rubbed metalEasy to assemble and cleanDimensions: 43"W x 23"D x 18"HModel# BH45-021-399-01 read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$99.00 $94.80

Better Homes and Gardens Reed Coffee Table, Pecan:Mid-Century StylePecan colored finishSolid Wood Legs and stretchersPair with oth...er items from the Flynn and Reed CollectionsAssembly RequiredDimensions: 40.00"L x 23.75"W x18.00"H (101.6 cm x 0 cm x 0 cm)Model# BH1602139901 read more

Home Decorators Collection
$269.00 $239.00

This coffee table from our Oxford Collection showcases its simple-yet-elegant design through its straight lines and brushed pewter... hardware. Its lustrous finish makes it perfect for almost any living room decor.This coffee table is made with high-quality materials like the solid wood frame and hardwood veneer. These help to ensure that this coffee table will remain a part of your living room design for years to come. With 4 storage drawers for everything from magazines to coasters and remote controls, this cocktail table is sure to be a welcome addition to your living room furniture mix. Order today. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$239.00 $166.99

Perfect for entertaining or just enjoying an actual cup of coffee, the Provence coffee table features an elegant curved leg design... and scrolled footwork. Select this stylish coffee table today and add a finishing touch to any living room or den. Choose from a array of color combinations with gently distressed solid colors. Crafted from hearty poplar wood. read more

Home Decorators Collection
$379.00 $349.00

Bring a sense of adventure to your living room decor with the Trunk Coffee Table. Inspired by the steamer trunks of old, this char...acter-rich table actually opens to reveal an extra large storage compartment. Store blankets, remotes, board games and more with this one-of-a-kind table treasure! Made with wood veneer and reinforced with square metal tubes. Trunk opens for expansive living room storage. read more

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