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Taking requests: Coffee tables are so hard

saarinen coffee table

I’ve received a few requests for a post on coffee tables, and I can’t say the prospect thrilled me, as I have always had a tough time with this particular piece of furniture. In fact, when I moved into my post-divorce apartment, the hunt for the right one dragged on so long that I just ended up buying a bunch of Moroccan poufs and placing them between the two old leather sofas I’d brought from my marital home. It was a colorful but imperfect solution, as you couldn’t place drinks on them without the drinks toppling over, and I was resolved to do better when I moved into a new place (I got one from BluDot, in a vivid bright pink that is currently marked down). But I am nothing if not devoted to all of you, so here are my picks. A few are on the pricey side, but I’ve found a number of quite well-priced specimens as well. This classic Saarinen table falls into the former category, but if you don’t mind making a small investment you could do a whole lot worse.

reeve coffee table

I like the marble top here, and the fact that it has a lower shelf, so you can place your coffee table books and such there and keep the top half uncluttered.


marble top coffee table

Another marble-topped option, with a design that is nicely—but not overpoweringly—Midcentury.

bend coffee table

I love the sculptural look of this, and the bright poppy yellow (here’s a similar and cheaper way to go, minus the yellow).

amherst coffee table

Just as simple as can be, and a pretty good deal.

noguchi coffee table

A Noguchi coffee table is another classic worth considering, although I would caution that it’s not the best choice for a home with rambunctious children (or clumsy adults) as the glass is just placed on the base, and can fall off if you aren’t careful (I say this because I had one in my office for years, and I knocked it over more than once).

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 4.42.59 PM

I just like this one because it’s such a good red.

round coffee table

I think this round one looks pricier than it is.

adam coffee table

And I think the brass legs are a nice touch here.

elliptical table

When I lived in a brownstone with a big old living room, I had this Eames table and loved it. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something to place between two sofas.


Did you miss my post on furniture for the home office? Do check it out!

Posted on February 2nd, 2018 13 Comments

13 Responses

  1. Dana D says:

    Geez…you totally nailed it.

    Coffee tables are hard. Your selections are perfect.

    I have an old wooden library table with curved legs that someone cut down to coffee table size long ago. I had it stripped and made matte by my furniture man. I like it enough but I’d love a Noguchi or an Eames. Those are pieces that outlive all of us and go on to make other homes happy.

  2. y.k. says:

    o i have been lusting after that BluDot STrut table ever since seeing it in a photo of Jenna Lyons’s office. But i have 2 red sofas so that won’t do.

  3. Cheryl says:

    I would add the Noguchi table is also not a wise choice for a household with curious dogs 😊. I can no longer leave anything on the coffee table or my Golden will knock the glass off again. The base broken on the first offensive and had to be glued together. Otherwise a lovely table.

  4. c.w. says:

    We have a Noguchi in the east coast living room and a CB2 clear acrylic coffee table on wheels in the tv room (I don’t think CB2 makes it anymore)–I love both. In my condo in Texas I have a glass coffee table with metal legs that I also love (don’t know the designer/maker because it’s Ned’s not mine). The point being I love any see through coffee table be it glass or acrylic because of what it does to the space it’s in for what that’s worth (about 2 cents!).

  5. Kristine E Bjerke says:

    All great selections! Here are a few more from Room & Board. I like that company for quality, delivery and being American made. Most come in a variety of woods/tops/bases so you can create a semi-custom piece:

  6. shana says:

    We own the side table version of the West Elm marble top. I have it on good authority that wine will damage the marble. That shouldn’t stop you, it’s beautiful, we love it. We don’t actually have a coffee table – our 1920’s era living room is too narrow. We went with a giant ottoman ( extra seating when needed ) and two trays we move around to hold drinks.

  7. ComicSansa says:

    I absolutely love this ( Jens Risom coffee table, but it’s too big for my space.

    My boyfriend has this Nakashima table ( and it’s gorgeous, practical, and very easy to move around.

  8. marjorie says:

    i have two small painted octagonal moroccan stools with silver trays on top. easy to move, sturdy enough to withstand cats.

  9. moi says:

    I was a coffee table gal for years, but gave up several years ago when we adopted a pit bull—THE most hyperactive tail of any breed I’ve ever known, LOL. Now I have end tables (sorta swat-proof) and In place of coffee tables, big poofy leather things that work as ottomans or places for people to sit if we have a party.

  10. Anne says:

    We have the Eames table in black, it elevates our thrown together furniture assortment like the best accessories pull together a basic outfit. I love it!

  11. Viajera says:

    These are lovely. You-all’s mmv but to me, an essential is that it be heavy enough not to move when I put my feet up on the edge. I’m clearly a barbarian.

  12. joannawnyc says:

    I have one of those industrial go cart coffee tables from CB2 which is actually perfect for us but it’s getting kind of scratched up. Right now I’m in the market to coordinating but non-matching SIDE TABLES (also hard).

  13. Amy in StL says:

    I feel like people are either coffee table people or ottoman people. My boyfriend is the former and I’m the latter. I can’t imagine living in a home with shin-height hard edged piece of furniture inches away from my legs. He is horrified that I only have end tables for drinks and the like. Apparently, it’s all what you grew up with.