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Coffee tables vs. bedside tables: what's the difference?

Coffee tables vs. bedside tables: what's the difference?

The importance of height

If you have a spare bedside table and you're considering bringing it down to the lounge as a handy coffee table, you might want to measure its height first.

One of the most consistent differences between coffee tables and bedside tables is their height. You are unlikely to come across a bedside table shorter than 60cm, while some bedside tables are over 75cm tall.

In contrast, coffee tables are rarely more than 45cm in height, and even this is a bit tall for some people. A tall coffee table can come across as imposing, affecting the relaxed atmosphere we all like to enjoy in our living rooms. Some tall tables can even obstruct your view of the TV.

Coffee tables in the 35cm to 40cm range are usually ideal for most living rooms. This is well below the height of most sofas, which is exactly what you want.

On the other hand, bedside tables are designed to be level with or slightly higher than bed height. The average height of a bed is around 60cm, which is why bedside tables are almost always taller than this.

Size and function

We've combined size and function here because they are very closely related in the design of both coffee tables and bedside tables.

Think about what you use (or would use) your coffee table for. While some people do use theirs mainly for enjoying a cup of coffee, for many of us, coffee tables are a general, all-purpose surface. Whether we're doing homework or artwork or playing board games or enjoying a takeaway in front of the TV, we increasingly need a lot of space.

As such, coffee tables are often much bigger than bedside tables. This is why we offer coffee tables with dimensions of up to 140cm x 80cm. Having said that, we also make petite 60cm coffee tables for those who are looking to save space.

Bedside tables are often much smaller than this because they tend to be used mainly as a surface for holding a few small items (phone, alarm clock, book, lamp, etc.) Bedside tables frequently include drawers for additional storage, while coffee tables often don't.

Shape and aesthetic

Coffee tables fulfil a dual role in many households. In addition to their functional purpose, they also contribute to the aesthetic of the home. Whether chosen to match the rest of the room or as an accent piece, coffee tables are an integral part of a room's design. For this reason, coffee tables often come in a wide range of shapes and designs. While circular and rectangular coffee tables are very popular, oval and square designs are often seen.

While bedside tables do have an aesthetic function, they are usually designed to blend in to the decor while taking up minimal space. As such, they tend to be small and either square or rectangle. However, some bedside tables include ornate decoration and may even be designed as 'his and her' sets.

Are you looking for a sustainably produced coffee table?

Do you prefer round coffee tables or rectangle ones? Do you like prime oak, with its clean lines and modern aesthetic, or is rustic reclaimed scaffold board more to your taste? We can offer these options and more.

Take a look at our dedicated Coffee Tables page and please contact us if you have any questions.

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