Choosing a coffee table may appear to be a difficult undertaking, but there are a few basic guidelines to follow. Nina Gotlieb, an interior designer, suggests that you think about the dimensions and relative mass of each piece in your living space.
“You don’t always want a super-leggy coffee table if you have a super-leggy couch.” “You don’t want a super-massive coffee table if you have a sofa that’s upholstered all the way to the ground because then everything feels too heavy,” she explains. Also, don’t be scared to play with unconventional shapes and materials.
There are plenty of entertaining designs out there, ranging from the tried-and-true (mid-century style, for example, appears to be here to stay) to the unexpected (think a table with undulating edges), that you can include without turning your living room into a mismatched playhouse.
We asked 15 interior designers about their favorite coffee tables to help you select one that fits your budget and space — whether you want it to be the focal point of your room or serve as a supporting, remote-control-holding piece.
Coffee tables are available in a variety of tabletop shapes, including round, oval, square, rectangular, and variations thereof. They can have four legs (or fewer or more), a plinth or pedestal base, or be in the shape of a drum. Some have built-in storage or additional shelf. What you want depends on how you want to arrange your area, as well as the scale of your other furniture, such as your sofa and accent chairs.
Price: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a nice-looking table, but you will have to pay more if you want premium materials. There are a lot of possibilities in this price range, and I’ve marked them with a $ in the specifications. Anything between $500 and $1000 will be designated by the letter $, while anything above $1000 will be designated by the letter $$.
Acrylic | Rectangular | Waterfall
If you’re looking for a coffee table that blends in with the rest of your decor, interior designer Dee Murphy suggests this curved acrylic number from CB2, which she loves to use in a setting “where I feel the eye needs a’break,'” such as a room with a lot of color or pattern, or even a small area. “The table will not overwhelm or compete with the rest of the furniture or décor.” “It also works with all design styles,” she adds, which is why we chose it as the best overall. It’s also a budget-friendly option, costing less than $500.
Metal | Square | Removable tray | 4 colors
Kirsten Grove of We Three Design Studio suggests this clean, utilitarian solution. It’s a square, powder-coated steel table with a tray tabletop (perfect for catching red-wine spills) and a wiry frame developed by Danish team Hay. The simplistic design, according to Grove, works well with a number of decor styles, including Scandinavian and mid-century. The tray is also removable, which is a plus.
Marble, metal | Rectangular
According to the experts we spoke with, marble-topped coffee tables are a popular choice, and this one, recommended by Rayman Boozer of Apartment48, is a good pick. Because of its narrow dimensions, it’s ideal for a smaller living area, according to Boozer. He also praises the brass embellishments, which he describes as “suiting a contemporary design without being too ostentatious.” The proportions of the not-too-thick marble slab and the slim frame appeal to us.
This one has a Carrara marble veneer top that sits on a sleek mid-century-inspired wood base with a shelf. Rachel Schwartzmann, the founder of the Style Line and CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL, who owns it and uses the storage shelf for books, recommends it.
This traditional square coffee table is also recommended by Murphy as a “design chameleon” that can be customized in a variety of ways. The table has a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic with a warm feel thanks to a stone top — in this example, smooth Carrara marble — and a base built of wide planks of solid American ash. A low shelf provides additional storage for all of your meticulously organized art books.
Sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey of Hovey Design propose the Secant Table for a “easy Milanese” vibe (which is actually designed by Sara Wright Polmar, a Norwegian). For its streamlined industrial style and, of course, its “heavily veined” marble top, they label it “one of the most Italian-looking tables we’ve seen.” (If you choose, you can have a different colored glass top and base.)
Wood | Rectangular | Storage
Consider this convertible coffee table with built-in storage if you’re still working from home and need your area to be adaptable. Devin Shaffer, the main designer of Decorilla, argues that a coffee table like this “provides the perfect balance of form and function.” According to Shaffer, the platform may be used as a dining table or a “executive-like desk,” and the table has a “clean Danish aesthetic.”
According to Eliza McNabb, a designer at Hyphen, if you’re seeking for quality mid-century-inspired products at a fair price, Article is a dependable source. She recommends combining two tables from the Amoeba collection to create layers and the flexibility to reorganize a space as needed.
Penelope August, an interior designer, recommends these charming nesting tables from Stockholm-based design company Hem, noting that they would look well with sectionals, either in a cluster or individually. “In L-sofa setups where a single table always appears too far from one side or the other,” August says, “the two overlapping circles function effectively.” She thinks they’re reasonably priced for being made of solid oak.
Wood and metal | Round | Optional nesting
According to Los Angeles–based designer Kate Lester, you could achieve the same look by merging two matching tables but purchasing them separately. She appreciates how the tabletop’s sleek Danish-inspired design contrasts with the waxed black joinery (which in our opinion gives it a little more edge). Lester recommends matching it with the higher cocktail table (available separately but presently out of stock), which may also be utilized as a side table.
Consider this spherical coffee table, which is neither an oval nor a circle, as recommended by interior designer Lauren Ashley Allan. “I adore the natural, harmonic feel and curved lines,” she adds of the table, which is made of birchwood for the top and beechwood for the legs and handcrafted in the southwest of France. It’s been treated with natural oil to give it a raw-wood appearance.
Seattle-based designer LeeAnn Baker recommends this wooden coffee table influenced by classic Spanish design for individuals with more rustic tastes. The top has a parquet-style inlay and twisted legs that look like they belong in an antique villa. Griffin thinks that the lighter-wood tone of this transitional (i.e., achieving a balance between modern and old) piece is flexible, noting that it blends nicely with more conventional, darker-toned pieces.
“Etsy is a fantastic resource for reasonably priced, handcrafted items,” McNabb explains. She explains that working with vendors to produce personalized pieces that fit your home properly is simple – essential for city dwellers. Because a coffee table isn’t as pricey as a bed or a dining table, it’s also a more affordable initial step into the custom-made world. If you’re going for a farmhouse look, she suggests this industrial coffee table constructed of salvaged wood.
If you’re looking for a reclaimed wood coffee table but are weary of the industrial style, Allan recommends this one, which has a gentler tint. The wood veneer is manufactured from fallen trees that have been reclaimed and polished to showcase the natural grain.
A circular drum table, especially for rooms with sectionals, is recommended by Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett of Bronxville, New York-based Hackett Interiors. “We tend to the drum because such rooms are usually a little less formal,” the designers say, adding that this one from Crate & Barrel is “substantial and effortless.” The hammered-iron surface is powder-coated and feels cool and earthy.
Toussaint Derby, the lead designer of Havenly, suggests a version on a drum-style coffee table. “The hourglass form is a unique feature,” she explains. It’s composed of a dark wood and, because to its tight silhouette, nearly looks sculptural.
Round | Pedestal base | Wood
If you’re seeking for the heaviness of a drum-style table, a pedestal base will suffice. Grove praises the “organic,” “mid-century” vibe of this basic, barrel-style solid-oak table from CB2’s collaboration with GQ. Its substantial base binds it to the space, which we enjoy.
Derby also recommends this lacquered “bold black top” and gold steel base for a simple, boxy coffee table that nonetheless makes a statement. Alternatively, you might go with a white top and a black or silver bottom (though the price may change depending on your selections).
For those wishing to update the mid-century aesthetic, Murphy offers this tiered coffee table by Thomas Bina, which features a lacquered top, delicate steel legs, and an oak lower shelf. Murphy appreciates the rounded corners of the tables (which she claims are baby-proof), and the additional shelf is ideal for holding books or tiny baskets of knickknacks.
Metal | Round | Shelved | 17 colors
This basic steel coffee table, with its circular, slender form, is a favorite of Boozer’s, who says it “subtly allows you to make strong decisions with your other furnishings.” The finish is extremely smooth and stonelike, which we like. A second shelf adds much-needed storage space. It’s shown here in natural steel, but it’s also available in 16 vibrant hues.
This coffee table has a touch of glitz thanks to the tiers of brass and glass. Glass may “elevate the style of a space if you’re trying to create a more formal feeling,” according to the designers at Hackett Interiors, who believe that incorporating it can “elevate the style of a room if you’re looking to create a more formal vibe.” Those delicate, French scroll posts are to die for.
This classic glass-and-steel coffee table from mid-century modern architect Warren Platner is a favorite of interior designer Elizabeth Stuart, who calls it “design at its best.” The table, which was first introduced in the 1960s, has a curved steel rod base and a thick, tempered-glass tabletop. Designer Amee Swarz likes it because of its “airy quality,” and suggests matching it with a modern sofa or sectional. She also notes that the top is sturdy, heat- and scratch-resistant, making it great for a family with children or hosting visitors.
The Hovey sisters “despise” sectional sofas with uneven sides (see the Floyd here for an example), claiming that they “throw off the symmetry of a space and make coffee-table decisions more difficult.” They recommend adding an extra piece to the short side with a square coffee table, such as this woven-wicker one that can also double as seating or an ottoman, to counteract the asymmetry.
Round | Pedestal | Concrete
It might seem difficult to incorporate brutalism into your house, but Allan believes that a concrete table like this would look great in a “family room or living room surrounded by lots of textiles and comfortable seating options.” The table, which is made of lightweight fiber concrete and has a circular tabletop that sits on three cylindric legs, is designed as “blocklike structures, imitating architectural building components of concrete,” according to the product text. The fluting detail adds to the table’s sculptural nature.