Living Room Tables Buying Guide

Having the right living room tables can transform a space into a more functional place to congregate.

Living Room Tables: Buyer's Guide

After all, without them, you have nowhere to store items, display your favorite collectibles, or simply set down a beverage or snack while you are sitting on the sofa.

In this guide, we will take a look at all of the different types of living room tables, define and explore their many uses, and discuss the different types of materials they are constructed from.

Choosing the Right Living Room Tables for You

There are many factors that go into making a smart selection of living room tables for your home. To start, there are several different kinds to discuss.

First, is the ever-popular coffee table. Placed in front of a sofa or sectional, a coffee table is charmingly named as such due to its primary purpose: to serve as a place to set drinks, food, and often TV remote controls and the like.

Brief History of the Coffee Table

Coffee tables have become a living room staple dating all the way back to the 17th century. In the beginning, coffee tables were found only in the most affluent of homes. They often featured ornate designs such as overstated claw legs and were dressed in gold vine leaves. They were extremely heavy, with some even weighing as much as half of a ton!

Over the years, as the consumption of tea and coffee grew in popularity, the use of coffee tables became commonplace among all social classes alike. Today, most American homes have one and the use of coffee tables can be found all over the world.

The Necessity of a Coffee Table

What would a living room be without the presence of a well-selected coffee table? A living room without one simply looks unfinished. Next to your seating, your coffee table is the most important piece of furniture in your living room.

This is because it is a place that allows you and your guests to be comfortable. You can put up your feet if you like. It gives you a place to lay down anything you don't wish to hold. Without one, you have to set everything on the floor and risk drinks getting knocked over.

End Tables

As the name suggests, end tables are intended to be placed on one or both sides of your sofa. End tables are the perfect location for placing table lamps. Just like coffee tables, end tables are a great place to conveniently set down anything that you like.

Some end tables have shelving, storage drawers, and even USB ports to plug in your electronic devices. Be sure to choose an end table that has these features if you need to hide a bit of clutter.

Just like coffee tables, end tables are available in a variety of unique shapes and materials. They offer the perfect opportunity to accent the design aesthetic of your living room space.

If you need your end table to hold a lamp, you will probably need an end table that is at least 22 inches wide. You should allow about 2 inches of breathing room on each side of the end table as well.

Console Tables

Are you familiar with console tables? A console table is a long, narrow table that is commonly placed against a wall in a living room or hallway. It is generally about 30 inches high.

Console tables are often used to display pictures, lamps, and other decorative pieces. Some console tables also have drawers or shelving that can be used to provide extra storage. You can also use a console table as a TV stand or media console.

Many people also place console tables against the back of a sofa and call them sofa tables. If using a console table for this purpose, begin by measuring the height of the couch. The console table should be of equal height or just a few inches shorter than the back of the sofa.

If you want your console table to blend in with your living room, match it with the rest of the room. If you want to create a focal point, buy one that is in a different style or material than the rest of the space.

Console tables are constructed in wood, metal, or glass top varieties. Pairing a console table with a mirror can make a space appear larger.

Nesting Tables

Nesting tables may fall into the category of end tables, but they are unique and special. This is because they are essentially three tables in one. Each table is smaller than the other, so that the smaller tables are “nested” within each other. When guests arrive, the tables can be brought out and used individually, and as the party wraps up, they are put away just as easily.

For those who have limited space, the use of nesting tables is ideal. They can be used as permanent furniture, or as temporary furniture, as needed. Although they are small, they will fit a vase of flowers or a picture frame, adorably.

Factors That Go Into Choosing the Right Living Room Tables

Available Space

When it comes to selecting living room tables, it is critically important to measure your available space first. Perhaps you would like to be able to dress up your home with every type of living room table that exists, but you might find that in doing so your living room becomes overcrowded.

Keep in mind that you are going to need to have ample space to walk around your coffee table in order to live comfortably. As a general rule, you should allow 14-18 inches between any seating clustered around your coffee table.

When it comes to the height of your coffee table, it should be no more than 2-3 inches above or below the seat height of your sofa. If it is too tall or too short, it will be impractical and simply won’t look as good.


When it comes to what shape to pick out for your living room tables, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Your coffee table should be about 2/3 the size of your sofa, in general. With that being said, a rectangular coffee table looks great with a traditional, standard-sized sofa.

However, there are other considerations to make when deciding on the shape of your coffee table, such as your lifestyle. If you have children or pets, a round or oval coffee table may be ideal for you, as no one will get hurt on sharp corners.

There are also abstract shapes of living room tables that give visual interest and are great for creating a unique focal point in your living room space.


In line with the size, you should think about scale. For example, if you have a great big fluffy couch and armchair, avoid getting a dainty little coffee table that will get lost among the rest of the furniture. Think about getting living room tables that are of equal weight and size instead. With that being said, take whatever steps are necessary to avoid overcrowding your space with too much furniture.


When shopping for your ideal coffee table, consider all that you intend to use it for. Would you like it to double as storage space? Some coffee tables come with drawers or shelves designed just for this purpose. If you find that your coffee table often becomes cluttered with “stuff” that needs a home, then a coffee table that has storage may be right up your alley.

On the other hand, perhaps you don’t need storage and you prefer a minimalist look with very few things sitting around collecting dust. In this case, you can choose a coffee table solely for its aesthetic appeal, for its form instead of function.

Materials and Design

It is a matter of personal taste as to what coffee table material appeals to you most. Let’s take a look at some of the various different options and explore which ones make the most sense to you.

If your taste leans towards a traditional vibe, selecting living room tables that are made out of wood may be the right choice for you. Traditional living room tables may feature carved wood with ornate detailing. However, there are also square-shaped wooden tables that have a contemporary feel to them.

Stone living room tables have a clean, modern look to them. Stone tables blend well with minimalistic interiors that are so popular today.

Glass top tables are always in style, no matter which design aesthetic you lean towards. They let the light shine through, and can easily be cleaned to a sparkling shine.

Metal and acrylic tables give an industrial feel that is raw and in demand.

If you are having trouble deciding on a material, consider how easy it is going to be to keep clean, as well as how it is going to blend in with the rest of the materials in your space.

One thing you may want to consider is to not make all of your living room tables match each other. Design experts recommend mixing things up a bit to keep the design element interesting. For example, you might choose to have a glass, oval coffee table and pair it with square, wooden end tables.

Final Thoughts

Having the right tables in your living room is like putting frosting and sprinkles on a freshly-baked cake. Buying the right coffee table is like giving you and your guests the key to a more comfortable haven. Utilizing end tables and console tables to place lamps, and other decorative items will give your home personality and class.

Choosing the right living room tables should be a matter of instinct. Before making a decision, look through all of the different shapes, styles, and materials and see which ones seem to draw your attention the most. Does your taste lean towards fancy or casual? Do you need your furniture to be kid and pet-friendly? Do you prefer traditional or modern?

Whatever decision you make, let your true colors guide you in making a decision that will make your living room a place you can’t wait to relax in.