Accent Tables Vs. Coffee Tables: A Complete Comparison

Accent Tables Vs. Coffee Tables

There are many kinds of tables that go inside a home. Two of the most common include the accent table and the coffee table. It can be confusing to try to distinguish between the two. What are the key differences between these two pieces of furniture?

There are a few key contrasts between an accent table and a coffee table, including but not limited to:

Coffee TableAccent Table
StyleFlat, simpleTall, more detailed

Read on to learn more about what sets these two items apart. For anyone decorating a home, it can be vital to understand these. It might even save the way your space looks.

What is the Point of a Coffee Table?

One of the most critical differences between an accent table and a coffee table is their use. First, we will go over the use of a coffee table, so you see how it differs from the use of an accent table. They each have come into existence to serve the home differently.

A coffee table is something that many people have in their homes. It is a long table, often residing in front of a sofa. Many people place items on top of it, such as books for décor or plates for eating dinner.

The point of a coffee table is just as it sounds. This piece is intended to:

  • Keep drinks on top: The coffee table was designed to hold beverages such as coffee, as its name suggests. This trait comes in handy for parties and other gatherings with lots of people.
  • Store various items: The coffee table is a sturdy piece of furniture. It was created to hold a large number of items on its surface.
  • Hold decorations: Many people put decorative items on their coffee table, such as large books or vases of flowers. It acts as a support for more flashy pieces of décor inside of a home.

Essentially, the coffee table is a base for food, drinks, and decoration. It is practical as well as presentable in a space.

A coffee table has a distinctive use. It is excellent for family gatherings, as many people can rest their drinks, phones, and other items on top of it. This piece was designed with the intent for it to serve a purpose.

What is the Point of an Accent Table?

The accent table, on the other hand, has an entirely different use. These pieces were not formed to serve much more of a purpose than looking beautiful. Anyone who invests in an accent table is going to look over practicality. It’s flashy rather than usable, the chandelier of tables.

If you want to use an accent table, it can:

  • Display decorations: The accent table is capable of holding a decorative vase or picture frame that you might want to show to other people or use to accent your home.
  • Hold useful items: The accent table can be utilized to display your car keys out in the open for when you need them. It’s very helpful, as many people tend to lose their car keys daily.
  • Place trinkets: We all have a lot of various items that have no good places to live inside a home. The accent table can hold the purpose of placing these items, storing remotes and other useful items for the room it is located inside.

The accent table is not so much for use and more for displaying items to look at in the home. Craftspeople take the time to make the accent table more intricate than coffee tables, so they tend to draw the eye and complement the furniture that they are positioned next to in a space.

The coffee table serves a critical use, while the accent table is more of a decorative piece. This piece is one of the largest and most vital differences to understand. You cannot use an accent table as a coffee table. It will not work, as they are two completely different products.

Price Difference in the Two Items

Another difference lies in the average price of each table. Someone looking to purchase should take note of the money that they will have to pay. If you are looking to decorate a space, the price might be a critical factor for you.

Each has a different price range for varying reasons. You can pick between them based on the functions that you need for your space. The prices might be worth it for some, but not for others. That’s a critical item that separates these two.

Cost of a Coffee Table

On average, coffee tables tend to be more expensive. Those looking to invest in a coffee table can expect to spend between $200-$400. That’s for a simple wood table. More intricate versions can cost upwards of $3000 if they come from a designer brand.

There are a few reasons why coffee tables tend to be expensive. These include:

  • The size: Coffee tables tend to be bigger than accent tables. Though not as big as traditional tables, they still have enough room on top to hold cups, magazines, and other items. The larger the table, the more it will cost.
  • The use: Coffee tables can be used in social scenarios. If guests come over, they can place items on top of the table. It can also hold decorations. Its multiple uses drive the price up a bit.
  • The material: Coffee tables are often made from sturdy pieces of wood since they need to support a significant weight. They also often include metals, glass, and even stone on their surfaces. These sturdy materials can up the cost quite a bit.
  • The practicality: A coffee table, as we discussed, can be used for many things. It can hold coffee cups and décor. It can be used to prop feet on top of it. It can display decorative vases and books. Because it has so many ways that it can be used, the coffee table often costs more. They are very practical to have in a home.

These items differ from the accent table in many ways. The cost has many reasons why it is at the price that it is, and the accent table has a different set of reasons.

Next, we’ll go over the same qualities with the accent table. The traits will show distinct differences between the two pieces of furniture. The coffee table costs a lot more than the accent table, and we will talk about why.

Cost of an Accent Table

Accent tables, though occasionally more expensive, often cost much less than the coffee table. If you want to get one for your home, you should plan on spending anywhere from $100-$200. The low-end price is often made with minimalistic materials that can fit inside any style of home. More intricately decorated pieces can cost more.

There are a few reasons why accent tables can cost what they do. These include: 

  • The size: Accent tables are usually small, designed to fit right in with a room. They are usually no more than two or three feet tall or wide. The small area contributed to the lower price range.
  • The use: Accent tables are most often used to hold decorative items. Occasionally, they support drinks if they are situated next to a location where people sit. Limited uses mean lower pricing.
  • The material: In accent tables, less material is used to create the product. Less material, which is often wood or metal, means less money is needed when purchasing. Of course, there are some exceptions if the accent table is intricate or made of a material like gold.
  • The practicality: Accent tables are less practical and more for décor. There are a few practical uses, such as for holding keys or cups. However, they are mainly for decoration and are less useful than a coffee table.

These items are very different for an accent table than they are for a coffee table.

By judging the items that contribute to cost, we can see that the coffee table is more expensive to create and purchase. Someone investing in a coffee table for their home can expect to pay a lot more than if they want to get a basic accent table.

Difference in Sizes of the Tables

The sizes of the tables are very different. This trait can be observed the easiest and is the most distinguishable difference between the accent table and the coffee table.

We’ll go over the sizes of the coffee table and the accent table, diving into how this factor contributes to what the table is used for and how it sets the two apart. This quality is one of the most critical items when talking about the things that make these tables unique from each other.

Size of a Coffee Table

The coffee table is the bigger of the two, more like an actual table than the accent table is. An average coffee table is between 36-48 inches long and 18-24 inches wide. In terms of height, the coffee table is about 10-18 inches high. Sizing can vary. Most want their table to fit inside the arms of the sofa. This size makes it easy for those lounging to get in and out of the area.

The coffee table is this size because:

  • It can carry more: The coffee table is intended to hold more than the accent table is, so it must have more bulk to support this purpose.
  • It lies in the middle: The coffee table is a centerpiece rather than an item put off to the side. It needs to be larger to match the other pieces of furniture in the space.
  • It needs to add something: The coffee table adds to the visual appeal of a space, so it must be noticeable to the average individual.
  • It works with other furniture: The coffee table is designed to work in tandem with the sofa. Thus, it must match up with the piece to accompany all of the people that could sit on the couch.

All of these factors and intended uses contribute to the size of the coffee table.

The accent table is sized differently than the coffee table. Compared to each other, these pieces look like different items. We’ll go over the sizing of the accent table to further set the tables apart.

Size of an Accent Table

An accent table is much smaller than a coffee table, but it is also much taller at the same time. On average, an accent table is about 20-24 inches tall, often working with whatever it is placed next to in a room. It tends to be between 14-20 inches in both width and length. As with the coffee table, sizing can vary depending on the individual style of the accent table.

The accent table is this size because:

  • It holds less: The accent table is intended to display the items on its surface for all to see at a higher level than the coffee table. 
  • It accents: Being slimmer and taller allows it to serve its purpose as an accent piece rather than a focal point.
  • It cooperates: At this sizing, the accent table can work in tandem with other pieces of furniture in the home, rather than drawing attention away from them.

All of these items contribute to the sizing of the accent table. These factors vary quite a bit from the other piece of furniture.

This piece is much smaller and taller than the coffee table. The size is an area where the two vary a lot. This trait is the clearest difference between the two and one that anyone can pick out with a single glance.

Differences in Placement of the Tables

The accent table and the coffee table are typically placed in different parts of the room. Of course, they don’t have to be placed this way, but the intent behind where they go is different. This location is a subtle difference that many do not realize.

We’re going to go over the placements of the tables and how they differ. If someone wanted to, they could be positioned in the same location. However, there are standard places for coffee tables and accent tables in a home.

Placement of a Coffee Table

The coffee table is a bigger piece and is often the focal point of a room. That means that it goes in the center of the room. A coffee table works best when it is used in tandem with a sofa. It should be about a foot from the couch, allowing people to get in and out of the space. This way, they can use the table as a place to set drinks or feet.

The coffee table can also go:

  • In front of a bed
  • In front of a chair, though two will balance it out better
  • In the center of a circle of chairs or sofas

All of these are typical places that a coffee table can go in a home.

The accent table is not placed like the coffee table. Rather than being the center of the room, it assists the other pieces of furniture. We will talk about this placement next and reveal just how much it differs from the location of a coffee table in a general home layout.

Placement of an Accent Table

The accent table, as stated before, serves to push other pieces of furniture forward rather than taking over. They most often go right next to a sofa, couch, or chair. They do not sit in front of these pieces of furniture. They complement them and allow a place that people on the couches can rest their cups.

The accent table can also be placed:

  • By the door, as a place to put your keys
  • In the kitchen, as a location to store kitchen utensils
  • In an office, as a place to store office supplies and electronics

These are all typical places that an accent table can go, assisting the purpose of the room that it is placed inside.

Accent tables serve to hold, rather than help with social situations. They are placed off to the side, where they can display knick-knacks and other items that might be useful in the future. This use is a big difference between the two. The coffee table is placed in the center, while an accent table is placed where it is not as easily noticed.

Difference in Styles Between the Tables

Style is something that a piece of furniture is known for, no matter what it is. Coffee tables and accent tables each have the unique styles that most come in. These factors into their usability, size, and the locations that they can be placed.

We will dive further into the typical styles of each table so that you know what to expect from each one. They contrast each other very much. You should not have a hard time telling them apart and identifying them once you know the styles that define them.

Style of a Coffee Table

The typical style of a coffee table is long and low. This piece of furniture is flat on the top, with four legs that keep it standing. Though there can be extra drawers and storage on the bottom, the most common shape is the simple top supported by legs.

This style is simple because:

  • It is a display: The coffee table is intended to hold more fascinating objects on top of it, so it does not need to be fancy.
  • It can hold more: The coffee table’s surface is large enough to hold many objects at once, so it needs to be flat and simple.
  • It can be used by many: The coffee table is lengthy to support many individuals on a sofa. It can assist multiple people at once, rather than just one or two like a smaller table.

All of these factors, and more, contribute to the style of the coffee table.

Its style is less for show and more for practicality, as we have discussed before. A coffee table can be beautiful and intricate, but there is rarely anything flashy about it. This piece of furniture was designed with the intent to serve.

Style of an Accent Table

An accent table, on the other hand, is tall and often intricate. These pieces come in styles that draw the eyes differently, accenting the space they are inside and tying everything together for the eyes.

The style of an accent table is this way because:

  • It makes the room cohesive: An accent table is styled in a way that can draw a room together.
  • It accentuates other furniture: Rather than taking away from the bigger pieces, the style of the accent table allows it to complement them.

Both of these factors contribute to the style of the accent table.

As you can see, the styles of each piece are different. The coffee table displays and draws the eyes, while the accent table complements other pieces of furniture. They were each designed for varying reasons, and their styles reveal that.

Difference in Ease of Movement

Sometimes, you may feel the desire to move your furniture around in your home. When this time comes, some pieces of furniture might give you a more difficult time than others. This weight is another critical thing that sets these two items apart.

Ease of movement is crucial to understand. If you are living on your own, you might not be able to handle moving a coffee table as well as you could shift an accent table. We’ll go more in-depth on this problem next.

Moving and Storing a Coffee Table

If you have ever tried to lift a coffee table, you know that it can be heavy. The material that it is made from can have a drastic impact on the weight. Generally, the coffee table can weigh anywhere from 30-80 pounds. Those made of glass and metal are typically the heaviest, while wooden ones are not quite as hard to lift.

This weight can make rearranging and moving a coffee table nearly impossible. For a person living by themselves, an extra hand or some sort of leverage may be necessary for this to happen.

This inability to move a coffee table means that:

  • It can be tricky to create a new set-up in an interior, regardless of how simple it is
  • Moving might cost extra if an individual needs extra hands to shift the coffee table
  • The first location the table is placed might need to be the final one

All of these can be caused by the weight of the coffee table.

Moving this piece of furniture on wood or carpet can also cause damage that is hard to fix. Overall, it is a tricky piece to shift and store. This problem is very different from the accent table. We will discuss this piece next, going over its ability to be moved and stored compared to the coffee table.

Moving and Storing an Accent Table

An accent table, on the other hand, is very light. Of course, there are exceptions if it is made out of solid stone or metal. However, most have an average weight that falls between 15-30 pounds. It is much lighter than the coffee table and thus can be lifted by almost any kind of person.

This weight makes it easy to move the accent table around a space as it is needed. Unlike the coffee table, only one person is needed for this process. Rearranging and a change of scene can happen in an instant.

This easy ability to move means that:

  • The accent table can be used for another purpose in a split second
  • It can be stored and moved easily if needed in the case of a home move
  • A room can take on a different style in a few moments

All of these items can happen in an instant, thanks to the lightweight of the accent table.

If you want to move an accent table, all you need to do is move items off its surface and shift them to a new place. It’s as simple as that. The coffee table, on the other hand, is a much more involved process. For someone living by themselves, this can make all the difference. An accent table is easy. A coffee table is much harder to shift around for most people.

Final Thoughts

In a home, you need a variety of tables to fill the space. Two of the most popular options are coffee tables and accent tables. Though it is clear that they are two different kinds of tables, many might not be familiar with what sets the two apart.

Coffee tables and accent tables have many factors that set them apart. Some of the largest include price, size, and their ability to be moved around and stored. Anyone decorating their home should keep these differences in mind when deciding what tables will work best in their home.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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