Coffee table buying guide

Coffee tables are often also known as cocktail tables and are characterised by their long rectangular low lying table shape. The name of this product originates from the key purpose that these tables are used, to place a cup of coffee or tea whilst sitting on the sofa or other living room chair.

Coffee tables first appeared on the British market in the 18th century. Traditionally, these products were considered to be a luxury product, in much the same way as the sideboard. The reasoning behind this was based on the fact that during the Victorian period only the very wealthy had access to a living room and so consequently, if you were able to purchase a coffee table then you were relatively affluent. However, Britain wasn't the only country to latch on to the benefits of coffee tables, they gradually became a common feature throughout tea houses in Asia which is perhaps how the long low shape of the table became such a large and key feature. By the late 19th century, coffee tables had become an extremely popular product and not just for the rich section of the population. They were now commercially available and were beginning to be mass produced. The presence of coffee tables in the home became increasingly common with the rise in popularity of TVs, these tables were considered to be a more suitable height on which to place your television set than a traditional sized table.

  • Practicality: coffee tables are the ultimate practical product. They are by no means a necessity in the same way that a sofa or book case are but they make life that bit easier. Gone are the days when you will place your cup of tea on the floor next to you, only to look five minutes later and it be spilt all over your carpet. Coffee tables are for that exact purpose, to place your hot drink on to a strategically sized table in front of your sofa, meaning that there is plenty of room for drinks and anything else that you may need to place on there such as a few magazines.

  • Style: whilst the original use of a coffee table was a place to position your hot drinks, they are now also commonly used as a display piece. This can take many different forms, either as a way in which to accentuate a lovely vase of flowers or as a focal point to leisurely past times such as reading. Whatever the function of your coffee table you are sure to add a splash of style and contemporary design to your home. Coffee tables are available in a wide range of styles and materials, but our favourite collection here at Dunelm Mill is that of the wooden Harrogate Oak. These tables truly ooze style and decadence and will help to create a warm and rustic atmosphere to any room.

  • Sturdiness: a key characteristic of any coffee table is the quality of the material and thus, if the product is going to be sturdy and hardwearing. Coffee tables are usually made from wooden materials which help to make them into strong and reliable furniture items; no-one wants a table that will collapse after a few tries, that is why, at Dunelm Mill our coffee tables are built to last the test of time. Made from wood with solid joints you can be assured that your coffee table is a great investment for future years.


  • Coffee tables are one of the easiest products to clean. Often all that is needed is a light dust from time to time, however in the case of any spills or stains we provide a product specific cleaning pack with each coffee table product.

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