Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Coffee Table

How to find a coffee table that makes the perfect centerpiece of any living room.

Coffee tables hold all manner of supporting things for whatever you are doing, from watching TV or playing video games to entertaining.

A coffee table holds everything from your pizza to your car keys, a glass of wine to the all-important TV remote control. They hold flower or artistic centerpieces and are right there to support whatever you need to put down. Some feature glass tops where you can display Uncle Joe’s arrowhead collection. Others let you tie flies while watching Gunsmoke reruns. Given the fact such a unique piece of furniture does more than just hold what its name implies, it’s sometimes difficult to find a design that fits your style and is built to last. Here are a few tips to help you with your search.

This model complements a 60- to 80-inch wide sofa and can support up to 75 pounds. Walker Edison Furniture

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As a guideline, your coffee table should be at least half but no more than ⅔ the length of your sofa. This is true whether you have a full-length sofa or L-shaped (measure only the longest side). When it comes to height, a coffee table should rise to about the same height as the cushion seats.

The oval shape and rounded edges of this coffee table are safer for toddlers than angular or sharp corners. FURINNO

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Coffee tables can be rectangular, square, oval, or circular. For decorating purposes, rectangular and oval shapes are roughly the same, with length measured at the longest point. Similarly, measure square and circular shaped tables at their longest point, per side or diameter respectively.

In addition to style, size, and shape, consider a table’s construction. Solid hardwood is more durable than softwood or veneer and will be more scratch-resistant. Particleboard will be less expensive but far less durable. Joints should fit well, and attachment points should not wiggle. Metal welds should be solid and complete. As with many things, a bargain-priced coffee table might turn out to be less of a bargain than a better-constructed one that costs more.

This model has plenty of internal space to stash books or magazines. YAHEETECH

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Today’s coffee table options do more than, well, hold coffee. Aside from being sure a coffee table matches and compliments the style and look of the rest of your furniture, consider the possibility and advantages of drawers. Lift-top coffee tables are a handy way to bring your take-out dinner or craft project closer while you watch Netflix from the couch. Magazine racks on the side are another plus. A well-designed table will not only help tie your living room together, but it can also help you stay organized.