why is a coffee table so called

Why Is a Coffee Table So Called?

A coffee table, also known as a cocktail table, is a small, low-lying table designed to hold beverages, magazines, and other items that are used while sitting on a sofa or chair. This type of table has its origins in Europe, where it was first developed in the mid 1800s.

History of the Coffee Table

The coffee table was first developed during the Victorian era. During this period, evening parlors became popular in the homes of wealthy families and their guests would gather around the large table to drink tea, play cards, or simply have conversations. This custom was referred to as “taking coffee,” and the tables on which the beverage was served became known as “coffee tables.”

Design Features

Coffee tables generally have four legs and a flat top, although some may have additional features such as drawers or shelves. The height of a coffee table is usually lower than that of a dining table, as it is intended to be used while seated in a comfortable position.


Today, coffee tables are used to hold drinks, books, and decorative items such as plants. They are also commonly used as a place to put a laptop, tablet, or other electronic device while in use. The low-lying tables have also become a popular choice for displaying artwork or photographs.

Modern Variations

Modern coffee tables come in a wide variety of materials, sizes, and shapes. There are classic round and rectangular tables as well as unique variations such as oval, trapezoid, and even triangular. Many are made from wood but others are constructed from glass, metal, or plastic.

Advantages of a Coffee Table

Not only does a coffee table provide a place for people to put beverages and other items, but it also adds a decorative element to any room. Coffee tables come in many designs and finishes, making them a great way to customize a room to fit your individual taste.


The popularity of the coffee table remains strong and its name derived from the custom of “taking coffee” in the mid-1800s. Today, coffee tables are often used as more of a decorative piece than a functional one, but their lower height still makes them perfect for holding books, drinks, and other items while sitting comfortably on a sofa.

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