top of page
  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Coffee Table Talk & History

Welcome to DesignTime-There are several  steps to putting a room together, to make it work for the way we use it!  One of the pieces that you have not talked about lot about is a coffee table!  Where did the idea of this piece come from?

Generally the piece we know as a coffee table probably appeared when coffee became a popular drink in Europe in the 18th century.   Coffee was brought to Europe through global trade routes! At that time, tea would have been the popular drink!   But with the introduction of coffee, coffee houses began showing up throughout England.  It was a place people went to have lengthy  discussions on   philosophy and politics.  Problem was they had no place to set their cup of coffee, along with newspapers, and books.  The coffeehouse owners came up with the idea to place a table in front of the seating area to accommodate those things!  So began the coffee table!

Did those first coffee tables look like what we know today?

No, at that time, they were made much taller, and because of the very traditional character of furniture, these tables had very ornate carved legs and designs.

How did the coffee table get to where it is today?

Over the years, coffee tables evolved into pieces that had very specific uses.  Not only for serving beverages, but also for hors d’oeuvres, and displaying large decorative pools and smaller accents.  By the 1950’s the coffee table was part of every LivingRoom.  Family shows like I Love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver always had a coffee table in the main LivingRoom!

Why did the height of the coffee table get lower?

Many believe that popularity of the TV in the 1950s influenced the height as well as the shape and size of the table. The lower height view  clear!  

So, are coffee tables still poplar today?

Yes, they are still an important piece in a LivingRoom design set up!  They offer a central focal point which helps bring together a conversation area. walls.  They are designed to provide a convenient surface for placing items like drinks, books, magazines, or remote controls within easy reach.  They offer storage as well.

Is there a standard size for a coffee table today?

Coffee tables have evolved in to many different shapes and sizes.  They can be narrow or wide, square, round, rectangle plus many other interesting shapes.  They can have shelves or drawers and even lift tops today!  Stone, wood, marble metal and glass are options for a coffee table as well!  It is important to find the style that works with your room decor!

What about putting your feet up on the coffee table?

That still is done, but an ottoman has stated to replace a coffee table, if you are looking for a comfortable place for your feet.  You can still place a tray on top so there is a place to serve drinks, as well as set smaller accents.  Ottomans can come with storage as well! It offers a much more comfortable place for your feet, but can also be pulled aside and used for extra seating if need!  It is a very versatile piece!

Thank you Kathy for giving us the history of the coffee table and where it has come today! Thank you for watching DesignTime!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page