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Coffee Table Shapes and Features Guide

coffee tables
When searching for a coffee table, it's useful to first determine the shape that will work best in your space. If you have a long sofa, you may need a rectangular coffee table so that everyone seated on the sofa can reach the table. If you have kids, an oval or round table without sharp edges may do the trick. In this guide, we also describe several construction and storage elements to keep in mind while looking for your perfect coffee table. No matter the shape you decide, there's a coffee table to fit your style and functionality needs.

Common Coffee Table Shapes

coffee table


The most popular coffee table shape, rectangular tables are long enough to place in front of a sofa.

coffee table


A round shape works with smaller sofas or seating arrangements. Long sofas tend to make round coffee tables look small. Round tables can often have pedestal leg, which is one leg in the center of the table holding it up. This would be a good feature to have if you're thinking of hosting many game or puzzle nights with people gathered around the coffee table. A drum-shaped coffee table is round with a solid base, like a drum.

coffee table


Like round tables, square coffee tables tend to work best in a smaller or square-like seating arrangement. Square tables may not be long enough for everyone to reach if they're seated on a lengthy sofa.

coffee table


An oval coffee table will work if you like the shape of a round table, but have a longer sofa, which would make a round table look small.

coffee table


Trunk coffee tables can come in many shapes, but are usually rectangle. Their defining feature is a lidded top, like a traditional suitcase trunk. The lid opens to reveal a hollow inside, perfect for storage.

Common Coffee Table Features

Tray Top
  • A tray top coffee table comes with a tabletop made of one or more removable trays. 

Lift Top

  • ​This type of coffee table features a moveable tabletop that can be raised from cocktail to dining table height. When not in use, the tabletop can be lowered back to coffee table height. 

Bins, Drawers, and Shelves

  • These organizational features are ideal for storing magazines, pillows, blankets, remotes, and anything else to help keep your living room clutter free. 

Nesting Tables

  • Nesting tables can come in any shape, but refer to a group of two or more tables that get progressively smaller and all fit under the largest table for storage when not in use. 


  • Some tables come with stools that can be neatly stored under the table, optimal for small rooms and spaces that need some extra seating. 

Casters/Rolling Legs

  • Casters or rolling legs are an excellent feature if you foresee moving your coffee table often.

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