Coffee Table Buying Guide

Coffee tables help anchor your living room with function and style. Learn more about coffee table styles, features, and measurements.

A coffee table is a low table usually placed in front of a sofa, used to stow and display decor, magazines, and electronic remotes. Coffee tables generally appear in living rooms, as part of a lounge furniture arrangement. With numerous coffee table styles, sizes, and features to choose from, it's important to consider several important design and construction factors, to ensure your coffee table will meet all of your needs.

Coffee Table Construction

Coffee Table Shapes


By far the most popular shape, rectangular tables pair well with a longer sofa.


Square tables will appear balanced alongside a sofa/loveseat arrangement or an L-shaped sectional.


Round tables are ideal in smaller seating arrangements. Many round tables are set upon a pedestal riser, making for a space-savvy design. Rounded edges may also be fitting for a home with toddlers, as there are no sharp corners to be concerned over.


Oval tables are optimal for lengthier couches and people who prefer the round table look. Like the round tables, the softer edges can be safer for kids.

Coffee Table Sizes

Finding the perfect coffee table size for your space can be difficult, but following a principal guideline can help. The general rule of thumb is to find a coffee table at about the same height level as your sofa. It should run no more than 2/3 the length of your sofa with 12-18 inches of spce between the coffee table and the sofa for leg room.

Coffee Table Material


Metal coffee tables are often made out of iron, steel aluminum, brass, or other alloys, often with a glass or wood and glass top. These tables are durable and sturdy, but can easily retain the heat from any sunlight or lamp shining onto the table.


As one of the most common coffee table surfaces, wood tables are offered in a wide variety of colors and finishes. Choose a solid wood coffee table for the best quality and durability.


Another common table top surface is glass. A glass top with the right finish will blend effortlessly with any existing design aesthetic. Water rings and spills will be more noticable on glass tops, so they should be wiped down and dusted on a regular basis.


Slate coffee tables are easy to maintain. They do not collect dust, and are not easily marked or damaged by water rings.


Stone table tops bring a traditional, elegant look to a room. Care for these particular table tops depends on the type of stone being used. Porous stones can be susceptible to water damage and may need to be cleaned using a special solution to maintain their appearance.


Considered to be one of the strongest woods, rattan coffee tables are crafted for durability, and may feature a range of natural tones and hues.


Often multi-purposed as an ottoman, leather-bound coffee table tops offer a spot to set small household items and can also be used as a footrest. Topping a leather coffee table with a solid tray will create a stable surface to set plates and drinks.

Coffee Table Style


Traditional coffee tables recall fine craftsmanship and vintage motifs. These tables can include details such as a curved legs and inlaid tops. Rectangle and oval shapes are popular to traditional styles.


Contemporary furniture, or the style of now, often features a simple design contrasted by bold, bright accents. Common features include a metal base with a glass top.


Often detailed with a distressed finish, cottage/country coffee tables carry a rustic aesthetic, with turned legs, rounded knobs, and soft lines.


The industrial style appears to have been salvaged from many different pieces. Distressed metals and woods are the favored materials of industrial design.


Usually crafted from wood, rustic coffee tables are often carved into a simple pattern finished with brass fittings. Unique finishes and imperfections draw the main visual interest in rustic design.

Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern references any pieces lifted from designs from the 1950s and 1960s. Mid century modern tables feature clean lines, bent wood, and a simple finish.


With four square legs and equally thick table top, a parsons coffee table is a simple design with a modern feel. Parsons tables can be made to fit most design schemes with the addition of upholstery or embellishments.


Coastal pieces are often painted or built with a lighter wood finish and a casual feel.

Coffee Table Features

Lift Top

Lift top tables allow the raising of the top, typically through a hinged mechanism. These tables open up to more storage space or added surface area.

Bins, Drawers, and Shelves

Bins, drawers, and shelves help to keep your space free of clutter, and offer discrete storage to any room.

Nesting Tables

Nesting tables refer to two or more tables that are incrementally smaller in size. Nesting tables easily store under the largest table when not in use.


Versatile and ideal in small spaces, select coffee table designs include short stools that bring added seating and can easily be stored under the table.

Casters, Rolling Legs

Casters or rolling legs give a table a unique feature, allowing for swift and simple mobility.

Coffee Table Care

Wood and Glass

Use coasters, trivets, or trays to avoid water rings.


Wipe down with a damp rag followed by a clean, dry rag once a week.


Remove any spilled liquids or staining materials immediately. Use a mild granite specific detergent on a damp cloth when necessary.


To prevent staining, coat marble tabletops with protective sealants. Dust surface 1-2 times a week and wash with a warm, damp cloth if necessary. To maintain the marble's shine, apply a marble polish.

If you are ready to shop, browse LuxeDecor’s stunning selection of coffee tables here.