Coffee Table VS Tea Table: Which One Is Actually A Better Choice?

Coffee Table VS Tea Table

Between the coffee table and tea table, which one you should buy is really a matter of concern. But we all know that one of the most essential pieces of furniture in your house is a table, right? 

As a self-declared furniture expert, I know both coffee tables and tea tables have advantages and disadvantages. So which one you should buy for your living room mainly depends on a few factors. 

Here in this article, I will be talking about coffee tables and tea tables and a comparative discussion between them. So stay tuned. 

Comparison Between Coffee Table And Tea Table: 

For the readers’ convenience, a table of differences is given below that shows the basic differences:


Coffee Table

Tea Table

Price Range (in USD) 50-400 50-150
Shape Mostly square Mostly round
Height height less than 25 inches to 27 inches Height not less than 25 inches to 27 inches
Serving Purpose Basically for serving coffee Serves snacks and many other things
History Coffee table is more modernised  Tea table has been used Since The Invention of Tea.
Size Coffee Tables Are Usually Smaller Than Tea Tables Tea Tables Are Comparatively Bigger Than Coffee Tables

Here is another table that shows some similarities between both the coffee table and tea table:


Coffee Table

Tea Table

Decoration Used To Put Vase, Flowers or Souvenirs Used For Decorative Purposes
Serving Guests You Can Serve Almost Every Kind Of Snack And Beverages On It Tea Tables Can Also Serve All Kinds Of Snacks And Beverages
Keeping Books You can keep books and magazines on your coffee table You can keep books, magazines and TV remotes on it
Storage You Can Keep Many Things Such As- Newspapers, Old Books In A Coffee Table Tea Tables Also Have Many Racks To Put Things

From the tables as mentioned earlier, we see that coffee tables and tea tables have both differences and similarities. From the sizes to shapes, they have many differences. Basically, coffee tables are an evolved version of tea tables.

Since the invention of tea or beverages, people have started to use tables as a medium to serve them. Thus the invention of tea tables. Then over time, coffee tables emerged. 

Coffee tables are modern-day stuff. People these days prefer coffee tables over tea tables. Some have both of them at home, but most people have only one of them.

In the difference chart/table, though it is said that tea tables are mostly round and coffee tables are mostly square, many different kinds of designs are available in the market.

What Features Sets A Coffee Table Apart From A Tea Table?

The main distinction between a tea table and a coffee table is that a coffee table is a small, rectangular table placed in front of a living room sofa. On the other hand, a tea table is a high, round table that is commonly positioned near a sofa or tables and chairs to serve visitors with a tea-drinking set.

The coffee table gradually evolved from the tea table, which has been used in Europe for centuries. However, unlike traditional round and high tea tables, the coffee table has seen a significant transformation in design.

A coffee table requires a lower base, about 20 inches from the floor, but less than a tea table’s 27 inches height.

Tea tables are typically used to serve tea or other hot beverages to the guests such as, espresso, cappuccino, coffee etc. Coffee tables are used for what they are named for: putting coffee on them.

On the other hand, the contemporary coffee table is frequently stylized for ornamentation or transformed into a functional piece of furniture for usage in a common area such as a television room.

The Right Table For You:

You might be confused about choosing either a tea table or a coffee table. Being an expert, I will guide you to the path of selecting the right table for you and your room.

When Should You Use A Coffee Table Instead Of A Tea Table? 

To know when you should prioritize a coffee table over a tea table, you should first know your purpose of using the table and the purpose served by the coffee table that you chose. You’ll also need to know the difference.

The primary distinctions between both the tables are their height and history. By history, it means which one is modern and which one was invented first.

Such kinds of tables are small in size compared to the tea tables. They take less space.

Coffee tables nowadays come in many different shapes too. Many people prefer a 

coffee table over a tea table because it is more convenient in size. Moreover, it is more sleek and fashionable. Perfect for a movie night to keep your snacks and drinks.

So, if you are looking for a table for personal use only and want a more youthful, modern, and posh look to your living room, then you should head for a coffee table over a tea table.

When Should You Use A Tea Table Instead Of A Coffee Table?

If you are wondering whether or not to go for a tea table or a coffee table, then my suggestion would be to think about your wants and necessities first, as I have mentioned previously.

The core thing that separates a tea table from a coffee table is one is an evolved version of the other. The first smaller table than a dining table to serve beverages was a tea table. The coffee table came later on. Tea tables are also bigger in height.

Tea tables are century-old furniture and have a classic traditional vibe to them. Many people prefer a tea table as it is more spacious, it allows more things to be put on over in addition, It makes serving the guests easier. 

Some prefer tea tables as the taller height seems more convenient than a coffee table with a smaller height.

So if you are an old-school person who likes to keep things ordinary and simple, then the tea table is just the thing for you. Also, a house that expects guests might consider choosing a tea table over the coffee one!

After reading the above two discussions on when to choose which table, it will be easier for you to choose the perfect table. To know more about selecting the ideal table, keep reading!

Will It Beat Your Personality If You Use A Tea Table While Drinking Coffee?

This question might ponder around your head about choosing the accurate table that matches perfectly with your personality. It doesn’t necessarily beat your personality if you use a teat table while drinking coffee.

You could be a person who loves everything modern and has all the furniture at the home of contemporary fashion—having everything sleek, posh, and up to date.

You can also be a person who likes it antique—a person with retrograde fashion sense. You might have everything at your place that might be all traditional, antique, and old-fashioned. 

Whatever you do, you need to maintain the balance of your design or choice of furniture. 

So, if you have everything a bit classic and retro, you don’t need a coffee table just to drink a coffee! 

Tea Table Or Coffee Table: Which One Is The Best To Serve Beverage To Your Guests?

To know which one of the tables is best to serve beverages to the guests, first, you will need to know about the tables in detail.

A coffee table is mainly for serving coffee or any drink that you want to serve. 

It is comparatively small in size, but if your purpose is to serve drinks or beverages, only that should be enough.

On the other hand, tea tables are spacious, so if your intention is not to serve more items and serve drinks only, it might not be the right choice for you.

From the above discussion, it is clear that tea tables are more capacious than coffee tables. 

From my experience, I would say that tea tables are more advantageous than coffee tables in the case of serving beverages to guests.

  • Coffee Table:

The first person to invent the coffee table was Stuart Foote. He just cut a dining table’s legs short and named it a coffee table. 

Why Do You Use A Coffee Table?

You must be wondering if you need a coffee table or do fine without a coffee table in your living room. Below I am mentioning some reasons to use a coffee table. 

  1. A coffee table is such kind of furniture that helps to increase the beauty of your living room.

  2. It is the best use of the space of your house.

  3. You can serve the guests snacks at this table instead of serving snacks on the dining table.

  4. If you have a TV in your living room, then you can keep the remote of the TV on the coffee table.

  5. You can serve drinks, such as coffee, milk, and many other beverages.

  6. You can keep vases with flowers or souvenirs on top of the table to increase the beauty of the living.

  7. Books or magazines can be kept on the table.

  • Choosing The Perfect Sized Table:

Before starting to shop your furniture for your rooms, you first need to make a plan. The plan should always include:

  1. The size of your room.
  2. The size of the furniture you are going to buy according to your room size.

The coffee table should be about 30 inches away from any seating clustered around it. So, if you calculate this and the size of your room, then it will be easier for you to figure out the size of your tea table. 

Distinctive shapes and sizes can also serve to emphasize a certain wooden coffee table’s appeal. For example, even though they have about the same finish, a circular drum coffee table might have a unique aesthetic and vibe than a rectangle coffee table having tapered supports.

If your room is big enough, then you can keep more than one table in the room.

Always remember not to overcrowd the room with too much furniture or furniture too big in size.

  • Choosing The Coffee Table Shape:

Not every room has the same shape and same size. Different sizes and shapes of a room requires different sizes of furniture:

  1. Square or Rectangular Shaped:

For a space that is more closed off, shapes like square or rectangular tables are more preferable.

  1. Round Shaped:

If your living room is corridor type or something like a pass through then a round-shaped table is more preferable.

  1. Maintaining The Balance:

If you want to make your house look aesthetically beautiful, then it is compulsory to balance the shapes of your furniture. If you have more square or rectangular-shaped furniture, then you need to have a round-shaped table and vice-versa.

  • Choosing the Right Material For Your Coffee Table:

You need to select the right kind of material for your coffee table to get the desired look and durability of the table. Below are some different type of materials discussed:

  1. Wooden Coffee Tables:

The most popular material used for coffee tables is wood. Consequently, it may be used in various styles, yet changing finishes will cause it to sway in numerous styles, trying to make it the material with the most variety.

Some facts about wooden coffee tables. 

  • Lighter finishes give more of a Scandinavian or modern look to the table.
  • Lighter finishes give a more airy and more lightweight feel.
  • Teak or acorn finishes give a very mid-century vibe.
  • To get a more classy and rustic vibe, you can get a dark wood finish.
  • The red-tinted finish will bring an old American vibe.

A wooden coffee table, irrespective of finishing or size, brings an organic and natural aspect to the room. Just don’t forget to use coasters on the table. Also, bear in mind that certain woods demand special cleaning agents and polish, so keep that in mind when trying to clean and manage your own coffee table.

  1. Glass Coffee Tables:

You would be surprised to know despite being a fragile material, the demand for glass tables has increased over the years. Coffee tables made from glasses are ideal for people who prefer a glam, elegant, contemporary, or youthful appearance in their living room. 

Metal frames and legs are standard on glass tables. The color of the glass table’s metal part and texture of the metal parts will contribute to the overall look.

Cleaning and maintenance of a glass table are way more accessible than any other materials or objects. 

To avoid any kind of accidents, you would want to use coasters or clothes on the surface of the table. Clothing will prevent scratches or stains on the coffee table.

You should never put too much stuff on a glass coffee table. Also, if you have kids around the place, then you need to be extra careful. 

  1. Metal Coffee Tables:

Numerous metal coffee tables, especially those made of silver or pewter, fall into the industrial or transformational category. However, it is more likely to be considered modern or glam if it has a golden or brass polish.

It is pretty rare to see a coffee table made of complete metal materials. Usually, it is paired with wooden or glass materials. 

As easy as it is to clean metal tables, but they are prone to getting rust. That is why, alongside cleaning the metal coffee table, you must use a coaster. 

  1. Marble Coffee Tables:

You might have seen marble tables in many places and liked them very much. Stone tables are pretty famous around the world, especially marble ones. 

Marble is a stunning material that can be used in nearly any interior architecture style, though it is most often seen in a glam, sleek, or contemporary setting. It gives your living area an organic, modern feel.

Marble finishes can be pretty tough to manage. Though some marble coffee tables have a protective layer on them to protect them from scratches and stains, most do not have such finishing. 

  • Tea Table:

A round shaped table that is about 27 inches tall and is seen alongside your sofa is usually known as a tea table. It is a type of furniture that is used to store tea and other refreshments while they are being consumed.

Why Do You Need a Tea Table?

Well, tea is a common way of discussion in most homes. It is commonly seen that people gather for food and drinks, and they discuss a variety of topics. So, a table to serve tea is quite a necessity. 

  1. A tea table enhances the beauty of your living room.

  2. You can serve tea and beverages to guests at a tea table.

  3. It may also be used as a beautiful piece of decor because it doesn’t take up a lot of space. When it’s not pouring tea, you can redecorate it with a candle holder, a flower vase, or other home accessories.

  4. Breakfast and munchies can also be served at the tea table. You can enjoy your breakfast at the tea table whilst reading the paper in the morning and have a brief talk with your loved ones while drinking tea or coffee.

  5. Tea tables can be placed in your garden to enhance the appearance of your garden and to allow you to have tea in an open, fresh environment.

  6. There are some tea tables that feature compartments in the bottom that can be used to store newspapers and magazines, and books.

  7. Many other aesthetic pieces can be placed on the lower shelves to make them more appealing and gorgeous.

  8. Tea tables can be used for informal chats in little gatherings at your home or in workplaces.

  • Choosing The Perfect Sized Tea Table:

The tea table is usually of such a size that it is higher than a coffee table but lower than a dining table. 

The tea table consists of a height between 25 inch to 27 inches and knee width between 5 inches to 6 inches. It works well as a second resting arrangement in a living area. With a few lounge seats or a sofa, you’ve got yourself a fantastic spot for casual meals and discussion.

While selecting a tea table, you need to remember:

  1. The size of your room
  2. The size of the sofa or the couch in the living room.
  3. The size of the other pieces of furniture and items in the room where you want to keep your tea table.

There should be a minimum distance between the furniture in a room to keep enough space. By calculating the size of your room and other furniture, you can decide the size of the tea table you would like to keep in your room, just like the coffee table. 

  • The Shape Of A Tea Table:

A tea table is a type of furniture that is used to serve tea and other beverages while they are being consumed. To put it another way, it’s a piece of furniture that’s generally used to brew tea and coffee.

A tea table is usually round shaped. But in the modern era, many shapes can be found, such as oval shaped, square shaped, etc.

  • Materials Of A Tea Table:

The materials or components of the tea table can be different. Here I am describing some below: 

  1. Wooden Tea Table:

Wooden furniture is the most popular among other furniture. It is widely used around the world. The features of wooden furniture are –

  • A wooden tea table gives a classic look to your house.
  • Wooden tea tables are less expensive.
  • It has a more classical look to it.
  • A dark wood finish gives off a contemporary look.
  • If you keep a wooden tea table in your garden, it will give off a very classical look.

Wooden tables can be messy and fussy about cleaning. You cannot use any cleanser to clean the wooden surface. 

  1. Glass Tea Table:

As discussed in the previous point in the article, glasses are now used as one of the fashionable things in furnishing. 

Depending on the shape, a glass top coffee table with a wooden base can range from earthy to mid-century contemporary to elegant and futuristic. Vivid copper and glass, on the other hand, have a luxurious and elegant sense to them.

Cleaning them is more manageable than other substances. You can have many cleansers available at your arms stretch. Though it is easy to get scratches marks on a glass surface, you can use clothes to cover them to avoid such stuff.

  1. Marble Tea Table:

Tea tables with wooden legs and marbled tops are trendy nowadays. Marbles are materials that give your house a royal look. It enhances the look of your place and rooms even more.

Marbles can give a great look to your retro tea table, but it is more costly than the other tea tables. Cleaning the tables is also fussy. Not all marbled tables have a protective layer on top.

Final Verdict:

If we compare both the tables by seeing their features, we can conclude that both the tables serve the purpose, which is almost similar. The difference is only in height and size.


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.

Recent Posts