The best coffee table

Erica van Blommestein

Placing items of varying heights and shapes on your coffee table creates visual interest that can transform a functional furniture piece into a sensational centerpiece.

A coffee table is so much more than just a place to put your cup down between sips or put your feet up after a long day. It's the focal point of your living room, and one of the first things you notice when you step into your home. Whether you prefer to keep yours clear or use it to display your favorite books and decorative accessories, the right coffee table can enhance your living space while still serving as a functional furniture piece.

To find out how to choose the best coffee table for your space, read on. This guide covers everything you need to know. We've also included some great recommendations at the end, like our top pick, the Emerald Home Furnishings Chandler Rustic Wood Coffee Table, which combines high-end quality with classic style.

What to know before you buy a coffee table


Even the most attractive coffee table can look out of place if it isn't a good fit for your space. As a rule of thumb, most interior designers recommend choosing a coffee table that's no more than two thirds of the length of your sofa and nearly the same height as the seat.


Coffee tables come in a variety of shapes. Let's take a quick look:

Rectangular: Traditional rectangular coffee tables are by far the most versatile shape and work well with both standard and longer sofas. If you're having a tough time choosing the right shape, a classic rectangular coffee table is always a safe bet.

Square: Square coffee tables can be ideal in living rooms with a sofa-and-loveseat setup or if you have a corner sectional. You can also place two square coffee tables side by side to create the illusion of a rectangular coffee table.

Round: Round coffee tables are a great fit for smaller rooms. A large round coffee table can also act as an eye-catching accent feature in more spacious living rooms. Because round coffee tables don't typically have a very large surface area, you may want to place a couple of end tables next to your sofa.

Oval: If you want something similar to a rectangular coffee table, but desire a softer look, an oval table is an excellent alternative. Not only do oval coffee tables complement standard sofas beautifully, but they also have a larger surface area than most round or square models.

Coffee table features

Construction materials

Whatever your tastes, you can find a coffee table in a material to suit it.

  • Wood is hands-down the most popular material for coffee tables. You can find wooden models in a host of different colors and finishes. When it comes to durability, solid wood far surpasses engineered or composite wood.
  • Glass and metal coffee tables typically sport a metal frame with a glass top. Although these coffee tables are attractive and durable, they might not be the safest choice for homes with small children.
  • Marble or stone is also sometimes used as a coffee table surface. While marble tends to be easy to care for, some stone tops can be porous, making them more prone to sustaining water damage.
  • Leather-topped coffee tables can look rather sophisticated. However they can also be difficult to maintain and usually aren't the best match for homes with children.
  • Rattan coffee tables can be ideal if you're going for a rustic, farmhouse look.


Coffee tables come in a variety of styles to fit just about any space.

  • Traditional coffee tables are often made of solid wood. Many sport ornate details and finishes that lend them a formal and sophisticated look.
  • Contemporary coffee tables are often simple with clean lines that work well in modern spaces. Some may have geometric designs or bold accent colors.
  • Cottage coffee tables generally have a distressed look that gives them a rustic appeal.
  • Coastal coffee tables have a casual look and are usually made of light-colored wood. Many also include rattan or wicker components in their designs.
  • Industrial coffee tables stand out from the crowd with bold and edgy designs that often feature exposed metal elements. These coffee tables can be a good fit for modern or minimalist decor.


Some coffee tables come with hinged tops, drawers or shelves. Whether you have a smaller living room or simply want to reduce clutter, a coffee table with built-in storage certainly is convenient.


A handful of coffee tables feature wheels or casters. If you like the idea of being able to quickly and easily move your coffee table around, be sure to look for a model with wheels that lock.

Coffee table cost

Depending on size, quality, and construction materials, a coffee table can set you back anywhere from as little as $42 right up to $1,000. For $170-$500, you can find some top-notch coffee tables in a variety of styles, sizes and materials.

Coffee table FAQ

Can coffee tables work in spaces other than a living room?

A. Absolutely. Coffee tables can work in just about any room with a seating area, including an office, family room, sun room or even a large bedroom.

How much space should there be between a coffee table and a sofa?

A. The last thing you want is to stub a toe or bump a knee every time you pass your coffee table. To be able to comfortably walk around your coffee table, it's a good idea to leave a gap of approximately 12 to 18 inches between your sofa and the table.

Which coffee table should I get?

Best of the best coffee table

Emerald Home Furnishings Chandler Wood Coffee Table: available at Amazon

Our take: Excellent quality paired with a forgiving, classic look make this coffee table a top choice for just about any space.

What we like: A combination of wood and steel elements creates a strikingly attractive look. Comes with a bottom shelf for storage. Distressed finish gives it a homey feel.

What we dislike: Some reviewers complained of a strange odor when unboxing the coffee table.

Best bang for your buck coffee table

Monarch Metal Coffee Table Glossy White with Chrome: available at Amazon

Our take: This sleek and modern coffee table delivers an upscale look without breaking the bank.

What we like: Boasts modern style with clean lines, a glossy top and an attractive chrome frame. Easy to clean. Assembly is straightforward and simple.

What we dislike: Finish can be prone to scratching. Hollow top might not be quite as durable as our other picks.

Honorable mention coffee table

Sauder Carson Forge Lift-Top Coffee Table: available at Amazon

Our take: This multitasking coffee table offers plenty of storage and a warm, traditional look that suits many homes.

What we like: Features a hidden storage compartment, as well as a foldout top that doubles as a laptop stand. Attractive design. Has a sturdy, solid feel.

What we dislike: Lots of separate pieces can make assembly a bit difficult. A few elements are made of particle board rather than solid wood.

Erica van Blommestein is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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