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Coffee Table Ideas -- The Practical, Stylish, & Just Plain Fun

Updated on April 9, 2011

The internet is a great way to shop for a coffee table

With mattresses, recliners, and sofas, you probably want to sit in them before buying, but for a coffee table, it's entirely practical to shop online. Speaking as someone who recently did some furniture shopping (at way too many stores), you'll find a far greater selection on the internet.

You'll find some coffee table buying tips below, and if you're looking for ideas, there are lots of pictures too. If you see something you'd like to buy, click through and order it from the store.

Modern Glass Coffee Table

Modern Glass Coffee Table
Modern Glass Coffee Table

Choose the Right Style of Coffee Table for Your Home

Before you shop, know what type of coffee table is best for you!

It's easy to see an attractive coffee table in the store or online, order it, and then when it's set up in your living room, you realize... you made a mistake.

Let's take a look at a few coffee table buying tips that will help you choose one you won't be disappointed in!

First off, take a look at the style of your living room furniture.

Traditional Coffee Tables for Traditional Furniture

If you have a traditional sofa and chairs, then a traditional rectangular or possibly oval coffee table makes sense. An upholstered ottoman can also go well with traditional furniture. If you have wood in your furniture, then a wood table will probably go well. Glass coffee tables go with many styles as well.

Complementing Antique Furniture

What about if you have antique furniture? Well, there's no such thing as an antique coffee table, as they are something of a post WWII invention, but a table can be made to go with antique furnishings. Get one made from materials that feel antique, such as a wrought iron gate or reclaimed wood boards.

Contemporary or Modern Coffee Tables

There are a lot of great coffee table options if you have contemporary or modern furniture.

If you dig the idea of hidden storage, cubes or cylinders made of wood, leather, or metal can be smart choices. Other modern materials are stone, ceramic, shagreen, and nylon, all of which can be formed into any shape you wish.

Below is an example of a traditional wooden coffee table:

An Affordable Wood Coffee Table - You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good table!

Winsome Wood Coffee Table, Espresso
Winsome Wood Coffee Table, Espresso

No matter what style of furniture you have, it's hard to go wrong with a classic wood coffee table with simple lines.

This table features a warm dark espresso finish and can be purchased as a standalone or with a matching set of end tables.

Click on the picture to get more information!


Is a glass coffee table right for you?

Glass can be elegant and attractive, but make sure it's a good choice before buying

Glass can be a great coffee table choice, as it makes a room feel lighter (and doesn't obscure an attractive carpet the way wood or solid materials do), but glass isn't necessarily for every family.

Who should consider a glass coffee table? In general...

*families without rambunctious children (glass breaks, ya know!)

*people who don't throw their feet up on the coffee table

*people who use coasters

If you fit all those requirements, then get that glass table!

Make sure you get the right size coffee table

You won't appreciate a crowded living room, so measure before you buy

When in doubt, experts recommend you get a coffee table that's too big rather than too small, but you don't want the room to be so crowded you're bumping shins. Here are a couple of "rules" to consider:

There should be a minimum of 15" of space between the edge of the table and the sofa.

If you'll be eating at the table, get one that is taller than standard (25" or more versus the traditional 16").

A few coffee table selection "secrets"

Need more help deciding on a coffee table? Check out these tips:

*Ideally, a coffee table should be the same height as the surrounding couch or chairs.

*A coffee table with notable legs works well standing against a skirted sofa or chairs.

*A table with tiny or unnoticeable legs works best against a sofa or chairs with legs.

*A coffee table can be a great place to secret additional storage, so get something with space underneath if you've got lots of living room clutter.

Coffee Table with Four Integrated Ottomans - This coffee table might just solve your seating problems!

32" Traditional Style Versailles Bathroom Sink vanity - CF-2869M-AW
32" Traditional Style Versailles Bathroom Sink vanity - CF-2869M-AW

If you like to entertain, it's nice to be able to pull out extra seating for guests. You don't necessarily want to keep a stack of folding chairs in the corner of your living room, so here's a better option: a coffee table that comes with four ottomans.

When you're not using them, the ottomans tuck unobtrusively under the table in integrated slots, and when you need to seat some extra people, just pull out the ottomans and let folks plop down.


Oak Coffee Table with Storage Drawers and Baskets - Here's another way to get some storage from the coffee table

If you prefer your storage be divided into separate areas (hey, one wants to keep one's clutter oganized!) then drawers and baskets may make more sense than a trunk.

Available in three finishes, this oak rectangle table comes with two drawers and two wicker baskets, so there is plenty of space underneath the tabletop.

This coffee table is built in a simple Craftsman style, and there are matching end and console tables available if you want to put together a set.

Share your thoughts! - Tell us about *your* coffee table (or whatever else you'd like to talk about)

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    • profile image

      ladykida 6 years ago

      I really need a coffee table, thanks for the reminder, good job on the lens!

    • profile image

      ladykida 6 years ago

      I really need a coffee table, thanks for the reminder, good job on the lens!

    • profile image

      wickerstorageb 6 years ago

      Ha, that's actually a really good suggestion of wicker storage baskets. Thanks so much for this wicker storage baskets lens!

    • profile image

      agent009 6 years ago

      I saw a coffee table with adjustable surfaces that could be moved out and back "inside" the table, it was a space saver!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      That first yin-yang-ish coffee table is pretty awesome - I like it a lot! Very interesting lens, gotta love lenses about things people take for granted and rarely notice, but are rather interesting in their own right. :)

    • profile image

      careermom 7 years ago

      We had a huge one where the looked like a waffle cone bowl with a glass top. It seem really odd by itself but somehow it fit perfectly with the sectional we had at the time.

    • dukethepcdr profile image

      dukethepcdr 7 years ago

      Very interesting lens! We have a somewhat unique coffee table that I found at a used furniture store. It's an oak table with somewhat tall legs and is almost knee high (on me anyway). It is unique because it is knee high in "coffee table mode" but if you lift up on the top of the table, spring-loaded hinges let it raise up and towards you to a comfortable height to eat from. It becomes almost as tall as a kitchen table. I only paid $50 for it and a couple of matching end tables. Gotta love family-owned used furniture stores in small towns! I probably would have paid $500 or more for something like this in a fancy new furniture store if I could find anything like it.

    • profile image

      lawrenchalter 7 years ago

      We have antique chairs and a table in our veranda. The brass material came from one the best brass manufacturers. Since those are antique, the theme is truly 50's. Up to now, we didn't replace the rods of our curtains because they are still useful. Luckily, my dad bought those rods from known brass rod suppliers, so we didn't need to buy new rods.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Luxury Living Room Furniture and modern Dining Room Furniture with latest designed Coffee Table in London. Our broad range of Bedroom Furniture to buy online.

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 7 years ago

      Your lens is great. Very informative. I liked your lens with a thumbs up.

    • profile image

      zim351y1 8 years ago

      Great Lens! Please feel free to check out our beautiful aquarium coffee tables at

    • profile image

      melodyaking 8 years ago

      Don't you just love how a beautiful coffee table in the middle of your living room and nicely coordinated end tables strategically placed around the room can completely change the tone of the atmosphere?

      I purchased an amazing set of coffee and end tables last month that I just LOVE.

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 8 years ago

      Ooh, I like that table with the integrated ottomans. We always need extra seating. I would also like to be able to store blankets. But, that would be assuming that my blanket users would actually *fold* them back up. *sigh* Nice assortment of tables presented here.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      I've used an old steamer trunk for my coffee "table" for decades ... storage, interesting old wood and metal, and sturdy! I can keep an extra pillow and blankets handy or store old newspapers without making any clutter.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 8 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      nice presentation. the modern glass coffee table is my choice. 5* and my fav too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hello. I just don't think coffee tables are practical in such small spaces... But if you really, really need something there, then go for something different. Just a suggestion. Hope it can help. Thanks and have a nice day. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hello. I just don't think coffee tables are practical in such small spaces... But if you really, really need something there, then go for something different. Just a suggestion. Hope it can help. Thanks and have a nice day. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I really like the coffee table at the top of the page in the introduction, can you tell be where to buy it?

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I came across this unique multi-function coffee table that's also a dining table and a desk - you never have to leave the sofa! And it looks cool, too. I found it at - it's worth taking a look at...

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice lens. I could use a new coffee table.


    • Lizblueberry profile image

      Lizblueberry 9 years ago

      Thanks for your lens! I actually sell furniture!

    • profile image

      penielproducts 9 years ago

      Great balanced coffee table! How much fun is that?

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I love some of these coffee tables. I just wish I had the house to go with the tables. Fun lens. Five stars to ya.

    • DivineIguana profile image

      DivineIguana 9 years ago

      Great lens, I especially like the selection "secrets".

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 9 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I love the whole coffee table, hassock, hidden container combos. I'm totally into mulit-function.

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 9 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, all!

      Recommend away Flowski :)

    • profile image

      flowski lm 9 years ago

      A nice coffee table sets the tone of the room. I love your choices, the modern glass tables are very, very nice. Can I recommend a nice coffee table book with pretty pictures to entertain company?

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      Cool coffee tables! I would never have thought to buy them on line.


    • funwithtrains lm profile image

      funwithtrains lm 9 years ago

      Nice lens -- I like the very first one. 5 stars

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 9 years ago from Royalton

      The Purple Gallinule came by to check out your coffee tables and liked them so much that she is sending you a virtual cup of coffee to hang on your wall.

    • profile image

      tdove 9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!