Choosing a coffee table can feel like a daunting task, but there are actually a few simple rules for getting it right. Interior designer Nina Gotlieb points out that it’s helpful to consider the proportions and relative mass of each piece in your living room. “Sometimes, if you have a super-leggy couch, you don’t want a super-leggy coffee table. Or if you have a sofa that’s upholstered all the way to the ground, you don’t want a super-massive coffee table because then everything feels too heavy,” she says. And you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with nontraditional shapes and materials. There are plenty of fun designs out there that range from the tried-and-true (mid-century design, for example, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere) to the unexpected (consider a table with undulating edges) that you can incorporate without turning your living room into a mismatched playhouse. To help you find the coffee table that works best with your budget and your space — whether you want to make it the focus of your room or have it play a more supporting, holding-the-remote-control kind of role — we talked to 15 interior designers about their favorites.
Best overall | Best tray | Best marble | Best marble with shelving | Best (splurge) marble | Best oval marble | Best wooden with built-in storage | Best mid-century modern | Best nesting | Best round wooden | Best curvy wooden | Best rustic-style wooden | Best industrial-style | Best reclaimed-wood | Best metal drum | Best wooden drum | Best wooden pedestal | Best black lacquer-topped | Best white lacquered with shelving | Best steel | Best glass and metal | Best round glass and metal | Best wicker | Best concrete
What we’re looking for
Material: I’ve roughly arranged the tables below by material. Marble continues to be a popular choice for a table top, but wooden coffee tables are, of course, a classic, and come in a variety of styles, from mid-century modern to more rustic styles. There are also plenty of tables that incorporate mixed materials, like wood and metal, glass and metal, and wood and marble, adding a bit more texture and dynamism to a piece.
Style and Design: Coffee tables come in a few basic tabletop shapes: round, oval, square, rectangular, or a variation therein. They can stand on four legs (or fewer or more), or have a plinth- or pedestal-type base, or be shaped like a drum. Some come with additional shelving or built-in storage. What you’re looking for will depend on how you want to arrange your space, keeping in mind the scale of your other furniture like sofa and accent chairs.
Price: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy a good-looking table, but if you’re looking for premium materials, you’ll have to pay up. There are plenty of options in the $500-and-under range here, and I’ve denoted them with $ in the specs. Anything in the $500 to $1000 range will be denoted by $$, and anything above $1000 will be designed by $$$.
Best overall coffee table
Acrylic | Waterfall | Rectangular | $
If you’re looking for a coffee table that doesn’t distract from the other furniture in your room, interior designer Dee Murphy recommends this curved acrylic number from CB2, which she likes to use in a space “where I feel the eye needs a ‘rest’” — in a room that has a lot of color or pattern, for example, or even in a small space. “The table won’t crowd or compete with the rest of the furniture or décor. It also works well with all design styles,” she says, which is why we’ve named it the best overall. It’s also an affordable choice that’s under $500.
Best tray coffee table
Metal | Square | Removable tray | 4 colors | $
Here’s a straightforward, utilitarian option that Kirsten Grove of We Three Design Studio recommends. It’s a square, powder-coated-steel table designed by Danish collective Hay that features a tray tabletop (all the better for catching your red-wine spills) and a wiry frame. Grove thinks the simple design lends itself to a variety of décor schemes, including Scandinavian and mid-century. Bonus — the tray is removable.
Best marble coffee table
Marble, metal | Rectangular | $
Marble-topped coffee tables are a popular choice among the experts we spoke to, and this one, recommended by Rayman Boozer of Apartment48, is a solid option. Boozer says it’s especially great for a smaller living space because of its narrow dimensions. He also calls out the brass accents, which “suit a contemporary aesthetic without being too flashy.” We like the proportions of the not-too-thick marble slab and the slender frame.
Best marble coffee table with shelving
Marble, wood | Rectangular | Shelved | $$
This one is topped with Carrara marble veneer which sits on a sleek mid-century-inspired wood base that includes a shelf. It comes recommended by Rachel Schwartzmann, founder of the Style Line and CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL, who owns it herself and uses the storage shelf for books.
Best (splurge) marble coffee table
Marble, wood | Rectangular | Shelved | $$$
Murphy also recommends this classic square coffee table for being a “design chameleon” that can be easily styled in a range of aesthetics. A stone top — in this case, smooth Carrara marble — and a base made from wide planks of solid American ash give the table a contemporary Scandinavian vibe that still feels warm. A low shelf offers additional storage space for all your impeccably curated art books.
Best oval marble coffee table
Marble, metal | Oval | $$$
If you’re going for an “easy Milanese” vibe, sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey of Hovey Design recommend the Secant Table (which is actually designed by Sara Wright Polmar, a Norwegian). They call it “one of the most Italian-looking tables we’ve seen” for its streamlined industrial look and, of course, its “heavily veined” marble top. (You can choose a glass top and a base in a different color, if you please.)
Best wooden coffee table with built-in storage
Wood | Rectangular | Storage | $
If you’re still working from home and need your space to be flexible, consider this convertible coffee table with built-in storage. It’s recommended by Devin Shaffer, Decorilla’s lead designer, who says a coffee table like this “provides the perfect mix of form and function.” Not only can you raise half the tabletop to reveal ample storage underneath, the platform does double duty as a dining table or “executive-like desk,” according to Shaffer, who also calls out the table’s “clean Danish vibe.”
Best mid-century-modern coffee table
Wood | Drop shape | $
Article is a reliable source if you’re looking for quality mid-century-inspired pieces at a reasonable price point, according to Eliza McNabb, a designer at Hyphen. She suggests pairing two tables from its Amoeba line to create tiers — and the ability to reconfigure a space whenever necessary.
Best nesting coffee table
Wood | Round | Nested | $$$
Interior designer Penelope August recommends these delightful nesting tables from Stockholm-based design studio Hem and notes that they would work well with sectionals — either as a cluster or separately. According to August, “the two overlapping circles work well in L-sofa configurations where a single table always seems too far from one side or the other.” She notes that they are well priced for being made out of solid oak.
Best round wooden coffee table
Wood, metal | Round | Nesting optional | $$
You could also create the same effect by combining two matching tables but purchasing them individually, according to Los Angeles–based designer Kate Lester. She likes the sleek Danish-inspired look of the tabletop contrasted with the waxed black joinery (which in our opinion gives it a little more edge). Lester suggests pairing it with the higher cocktail table (sold separately, though it’s currently out of stock), which can also be used as a side table.
Best curvy wooden coffee table
Wood | Curvy | $$
For a rounded coffee table that’s not quite an oval and not quite a circle, consider this one that interior designer Lauren Ashley Allan recommends. “I love the natural, harmonious feel and curved lines,” she says of the table that’s handcrafted in the southwest of France of birchwood for the top and beechwood for the legs. It’s treated with natural oil, giving it a raw-wood look.
Best rustic-style wooden coffee table
Wood | Rectangular | $$$
For those whose tastes skew more rustic, Seattle-based designer LeeAnn Baker recommends this wooden coffee table inspired by classic Spanish design. A parquet-style inlay top pairs with twisted legs that feel like something out of an old villa. She loves how versatile this transitional (i.e., striking a balance between new and old) piece is, and Griffin agrees, noting that its lighter-wood tone mixes well with more traditional, darker-toned pieces.
Best industrial-style coffee table
Wood, metal | Rectangular | $$
“Etsy is a great resource for well-priced, handmade pieces,” says McNabb. She explains that it’s easy to work with vendors to create custom pieces that will fit your space perfectly — a must for those living in city apartments. It’s also a more affordable first step into the custom-made world, since a coffee table won’t be as expensive as a bed or a dining table, for instance. She recommends this industrial coffee table made from reclaimed wood if you’re going for a farmhouse vibe.
Best reclaimed-wood coffee table
Wood | Square | $$$
If you’re looking for a coffee table made of reclaimed wood but are tired of the industrial look, here’s one that Allan recommends that has a softer hue to it. The wood veneer is made of recovered fallen trees and is finished in a way that highlights the natural grain.
Best metal drum coffee table
Metal | Round | Drum | $$
Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett of Bronxville, New York–based Hackett Interiors recommends trying a circular drum table, especially for rooms with sectionals. “Those rooms are usually a little less formal, which is why we gravitate to the drum,” the designers say, adding that this particular one from Crate and Barrel is “substantial and effortless.” The powder-coated hammered-iron surface feels cool and earthy.
Best wooden drum coffee table
Wood | Round | Drum | $
Here’s a variation on a drum-style coffee table that Havenly lead designer Toussaint Derby recommends. “The hourglass shape is a cool differentiation,” she says. It’s made of a deep wood and almost looks sculptural, thanks to its cinched silhouette.
Best wooden pedestal coffee table
Wood | Round | Pedestal base | $$
A pedestal base also provides the heft of a drum-style table, if that’s what you’re looking for. Grove recommends this simple, barrel-style solid-oak table from CB2’s collaboration with GQ, calling out its “organic,” “mid-century” vibe. We like the way its heavy base anchors it to the space.
Best black lacquer-topped coffee table
Wood, metal | Rectangular | $$
For a simple, boxy coffee table that still makes a statement, Derby also recommends this one for its lacquered “bold black top” and gold steel base. You can also choose a white top and swap out the bottom for a black or silver finish (though the price may change depending on your selections).
Best white lacquered coffee table with shelving
Murphy also recommends this tiered coffee table by Thomas Bina that incorporates a lacquered top, delicate steel legs, and an oak lower shelf for those looking to update the mid-century look. Murphy likes that the tabletop has rounded edges (which she says are babyproof), while the extra shelf is great for storing books or small baskets of knickknacks.
Best steel coffee table
Metal | Round | Shelved | 17 colors | $
Boozer is also a fan of this simple steel coffee table and its round, slim profile, which, he says, “subtly allows you to make bold choices with your other furnishings.” We especially appreciate how smooth and stonelike the finish feels. A second shelf provides always-welcome extra storage. Shown here in natural steel, it’s also available in 16 different eye-catching colors.
Best glass-and-metal coffee table
Glass, metal | Rectangular | Shelved | $$$
Tiered brass and glass give this coffee table a hint of glamour. It’s another favorite of the designers at Hackett Interiors, who say that incorporating glass can “elevate the style of a room if you’re looking to create a more formal feeling.” We love those dainty, Frenchy scroll posts.
Best round glass-and-metal coffee table
Glass, metal | Round | $$$
Interior designer Elizabeth Stuart loves this iconic glass-and-steel coffee table from mid-century-modern architect Warren Platner, calling it “design at its best.” First introduced in the ’60s, the table features a base made of curved steel rods and a thick, tempered-glass tabletop. Designer Amee Swarz recommends it for its “airy feeling” and suggests pairing it with a modern sofa or sectional, adding that the top is durable and heat- and scratch-resistant, making it ideal for a family with kids and for entertaining guests.
Best wicker coffee table
Wicker | Rectangular | Boxy | $$
The Hovey sisters “hate sectional sofas with uneven sides” (take a peek at the Floyd here for an idea of what they’re talking about), explaining that they “throw off the symmetry of a room and make coffee-table selections very hard.” To combat that asymmetry, they suggest adding an extra section to the short side with a square coffee table, like this woven-wicker one that can also work as seating or an ottoman.
Best concrete coffee table
Concrete | Round | Pedestal | $$
Incorporating brutalism into your home may feel like a challenge, but Allan thinks a concrete table like this could work well in a “family room or living room surrounded by lots of textiles and comfortable seating options.” Cast in lightweight fiber concrete, the table is designed as “blocklike structures, reflecting architectural building components of concrete,” according to the product copy, with a circular tabletop that rests on three cylindric legs. Adding to the sculptural nature of the table is the fluting detail.
• Lauren Ashley Allan, interior designer
• Penelope August, interior designer
• LeeAnn Baker, interior designer
• Rayman Boozer, Apartment48
• Nina Gotlieb, interior designer
• Kirsten Grove, We Three Design Studio
• Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett, Hackett Interiors
• Hollister and Porter Hovey, Hovey Design
• Kate Lester, interior designer
• Eliza McNabb, Hyphen
• Dee Murphy, interior designer
• Rachel Schwartzmann, founder of the Style Line
• Devin Shaffer, Decorilla lead designer
• Elizabeth Stuart, interior designer
• Amee Swarz, interior designer
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