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  • Coffee Table vs Side Table: So similar yet so different

    Coffee table and side table, both go in a living room and are usually sitting very close to each other. Their sheer size difference alone will prevent you from buying the wrong type.


    Truly, these two aren’t the kind of tables that you could swap with each other for multipurpose desires. But given the right size, you could possibly use multiple side tables together as an alternative for a coffee table.


    That being said, it would be best if you made the right choice now when you still can.


    Anyway, for a quick answer -


    A Coffee table is a short table that you place at the centre of your sofa set, where you typically put all the snacks & drinks for your guests. In contrast, a Side table is a small table that you place adjacent to another furniture piece, with the reasons ranging from decoration to storage.


    Both tables come in various sizes and designs. And the console table can even be used for many different purposes.


    So, let’s get to the nitty gritty to set your expectations right.

    Origin of Console Table’s and Coffee Table’s Name

    Coffee tables are believed to exist since the 17th century, but they got their name in 1938, probably due to the rise of coffee’s popularity.


    On the other hand,


    Side table is a broad term. Any small table placed adjacent to a furniture piece is a side table.


    So, both a bedside table and an end table are types of a side table. Hence, You could even be looking for one of them, actually.


    But if you're sure it's not a bedside table or an end table you're after, then keep reading.

    Design Overview

    Both tables now come in different shapes and structures. So, the main differentiator will always be their size and purpose.


    Once you have figured out which of the two you actually need to buy for your living room, give a good look at the place where you want to put it. Then see what shapes from our available catalogue of coffee tables, and side tables would best complement your space.


    By the way, both the table types come with the options of - built-in storage, no storage, and semi-storage (just one little drawer or cabinet, for example).


    You have to pick one that will work best for you, depending on what other purposes you want your table to serve.

    Size Difference Between Console Table and Coffee Table

    Coffee tables have a height range of 40 cm - 50cm. And here are the horizontal dimension ranges for the 3 typical table shapes that you’ll most likely come across -


    • Rectangular coffee tables come in 122 cm - 137 cm in length and 61 cm - 76 cm in depth.
    • Oval coffee tables, on average, come in 137 cm in length and 56 cm in depth.
    • Round coffee tables come in 76 cm - 122 cm in diameter or width.


    Besides this, coffee tables are also expected to be 2.5 cm - 5 cm lower than your couch’s seating level for both - comfort and attractiveness.


    Side tables come in a width range of 56 cm - 41 cm.


    Besides this, a side table's height also stays within the range of 5 cm above or lower than the adjacent furniture's height - so it doesn't look odd. But either way, your side table should be at most 51 cm.

    Purpose of Getting Either of These Tables

    A coffee table has just one purpose - to be placed at the centre of your sofa set where you would put snacks and drinks for your guests, which they could access without leaving their comfortable sitting position.


    Know that:


    Coffee table's design became popular when coffee was trending more than tea and other consumables. Now despite the time being changed and you can put any consumables on this table for your guests, it is still called a coffee table.


    On the contrary, a side table has 3 usual purposes - decoration, storage, and as an armrest for adjacent armless seating.

    Placement Decision

    A coffee table should only be placed in front of your sofa... or in the centre of your sofa set.


    For small spaces, you must maintain at least a 14" gap between your sofa and table for comfortable leg movement. But if you have a bigger room, do what you feel more comfortable with.




    A side table should only be placed adjacent to another furniture piece, usually on either side of a chair.


    But if you wish to, you can place it wherever you want.


    By the way, when you place a side table adjacent to a sofa, then you'd call it an end table.

    Price Range

    Besides the size, shape, and design, the wood used in the table plays a vital role in its pricing. However, our coffee tables range from $200 AUD - $1500 AUD and our side tables range from $130 AUD - $930 AUD.


    Each table type is made for a different reason. So ideally, your choice of the table should be based on its purpose.


    But if you're low on budget or space and also want a multipurpose use, then pick the table based on your primary intended use. It may be a little uncomfortable for other use cases since that's not what it was made for, but it'd still get the job done for you.


    Know this:

    For the coffee table, it doesn't matter if you place this table in the centre of the chairs or the sofa set or stools. As long as this table serves its primary purpose of - being a place to put coffee and other consumables while comfortably sitting around this space during a small gathering, then you'll use, or must we say, buy a coffee table.




    A side table is supposed to be placed adjacent to another furniture piece, preferably beside a chair. But you can place it wherever you want if that satisfies your aesthetic needs.