Coffee Table Vs. End Table: Which One Should You Buy?

Coffee Table Vs. End Table

Muddled about choosing between a coffee table and an end table? The decision could be particularly hard if you do not have a clear idea about them. Having a detailed and comprehensive idea about these tables can help you to choose the right one for your home.

Buying the wrong table for your living room can really mess up both your room decor and your wallet. Don’t worry, I can help you to decide which one you should go for.

In this article, I will explain in detail and compare between a coffee table and an end table. If you want to choose the right one for you please read this article to the end.

Comparison Between Coffee Table And End Table

A detailed head-to-head comparison grid between a coffee table and an end table is given below.

ComparisonCoffee TableEnd Table
HeightBetween 16-18 inchesBetween 20-30 inches
StorageHave more storage space and store bigger stuffGenerally have less storage space and can only store smaller stuff
SizeRelatively and more spaceMuch smaller and takes less space
UtilityCan extend seating capacityCan’t extend seating capacity
PriceComparatively expensiveComparatively inexpensive 
Table TopBig, spacious tabletopSmall, cramped tabletop

What Are The Differences Between Coffee Tables And End Tables?

Coffee tables and end tables have many dissimilarities between them. Although both these tables are used in the living room, the differences between them is really staggering. The main difference between them can be found in their construction. Some differences are:

  • Their Height:

    The most obvious difference between a coffee table and an end table can found in their height. Coffee tables are a lot shorter in height compared to an end table.

    Coffee tables are generally constructed to be significantly shorter than a sofa. The rule is, a coffee table must sit 1-2 inches below the couch seat. So typically, a coffee table has a height of 16-18 inches.

    On the other hand, end tables are constructed to be noticeably higher than a coffee table. An end table must stand 1-2 inches taller than the sofa’s arm.

    For instance, if the arm of your sofa is 20 inches then, an end table must be around 22 inches long. Normally, the height of end tables varies between 20 to 30 inches depending on the height of the sofa arm.

  • Their Purpose:

    Many differences between coffee tables and end tables can be observed in terms of their purpose too.

    For instance, coffee tables can be considered as multipurpose furniture. It can not only enhance the look of your living room but can be many important utility purposes.

    Additionally, coffee tables can also help you to keep stuff organized. Moreover, your guests can put on their drinks and beverages on the tabletop of a coffee table.

    You can also use it to showcase big showpieces. Some coffee tables also have the ability to accommodate multiple stools, providing you with additional seating capacity.

    On the contrary, an end table is basically a smaller version of a sofa table. Its primary task is to fill up empty spaces in the living room. The tabletop of an end table is mainly used to keep a lamp, flower vase, or a few books. They mainly serve an aesthetic purpose.

  • Their Size:

    Coffee tables and end tables have a distinctive difference in their shape and size.

    First of all, end tables have a much smaller footprint than coffee tables. Normally an end table will occupy a fraction of the space than a coffee table would. Moreover, because of having a smaller footprint, the tabletop of an end table also has very little space.

    Coffee tables, on the other hand, have a ginormous footprint in contrast to an end table. They take up a huge chunk of space in the living room. Coffee tables also have very spacious and large tabletops. You can store a lot of stuff on top of a coffee table but not much on an end table.

  • Their Design:

    Coffee tables generally have a much more eye-catching and glamorous design than an end table.

    An end table is meant to be kept at the end of your living room or beside your sofa. So naturally, people really don’t notice it that much. That is why most of the end tables have simple and minimalist designs.

    Contrastingly, because of being placed in the middle of the living room and in front of the sofa, a coffee table is much noticed by people. Someone entering your living room will always notice the coffee table first. Because of that, coffee tables are designed to be more attractive and alluring.

    Moreover, some end tables don’t even have four legs. Depending on the design, they can have two legs or multiple legs. But generally, coffee tables have four legs.

  • Their Price:

    Although the cost of coffee tables and end tables vastly depend on the design and material, it is safe to say that you need to spend significantly more for buying a coffee table.

    As stated in the previous points, coffee tables are generally bigger and more attractive. All these features add up to the price. Expect to pay anywhere between $200 to $500 for buying a decent-sized and designed coffee table.

    And because of being comparatively smaller and less attractive, end tables can be found at a relatively cheaper price. A good quality end table will cost you a quarter of the price of a coffee table. You can find a pretty decent end table for less than $100.

What Similarities Can Be Found Between Coffee Tables And End Tables?

It might not be in plain sight, but you can actually find many similarities between a coffee table and an end table.

The first similarity is pretty obvious. They are both used in the living room and have the ability to complement the look of your sofa. Secondly, both of them can be used to store stuff albeit, you cannot store as much stuff on an end table as you can on a coffee table.

Thirdly, depending on the design, coffee tables and end tables can have differently shaped tabletops. For example, it is possible for both tables to have oval, round, square, or rectangular-shaped tabletops. Some of them can also have uniquely shaped hexagonal tops.

Again, both these tables can contain drawers and cabinets and provide additional storage.

So, Which One Of Them Is Best For Serving What Purpose?

Before you invest a good amount of money on a table for your living room, take a moment and think about why you need them for. 

  • As said before, a coffee table can serve both aesthetic and utility purposes. If you want to showcase some big showpiece or want to store some stuff, then a coffee table would be best suited for the job.

    Moreover, a coffee table with multiple stools can also help to accommodate more guests in your living room. But an end table can’t do such a thing.
  • What an end table can do is house table lamps or flower pots. They are great at filling up vacant spaces in your living room. You can also put the TV remote or store a few books on top of an end table.
  • Now you may ask yourself, “If I am on a tight budget, which one should I go for?”. Well, the answer to that question is really simple. You should certainly go for the coffee table if you are short on cash.

    A coffee table will serve much more important functions than an end table would. It would be a great investment and great value for your money as well.
  • And if you do not have budget concerns, my advice would be to buy both of them. Buying both of them for your living room will really lift up the room decor. If possible, try to buy a pair that matches your sofa.


Prior to buying any of the above tables, make sure they match the proportion of your sofa. As both of them are dependent on the size and dimension of your sofa, buy a coffee table or an end table that perfectly correlates with its height.

Also, keep in mind that to buy a coffee table or an end table that goes on with the size of your living room. If you have a small living room, try to get a small table and vice versa.


Hey guys, This is Md Muktar Hossain, I have been working on home / office furniture for a long time. I thought I would share things with everyone through a website. If you like my articles, please share them with everyone. Stay well Stay healthy.

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