Antique Coffee Tables: A Brief Guide



When furnishing a living room, a coffee table may not be the first item on your list compared to the larger pieces of furniture you're searching for. However, don't underestimate the importance of a high-quality coffee table. It can serve as a convenient surface to place your coffee on or even as a comfortable spot to rest your feet after a long day at work.

A picture of a antique coffee table.
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Why Antique?

In the modern age, people often buy furniture out of convenience and accessibility. The emergence of companies such as IKEA mean people can decorate their house at the push of a button without having to leave the living room. However, what if I told you that antique coffee tables and similar antique furniture are not only easy to purchase but are better made, cheaper and better value for money.


The term 'antique' refers to items that are more than 100 years old. It's evident that many skilled cabinet makers and craftsmen from the past have passed away, and with the rise of machines, handmade items are becoming rarer. In earlier times, craftsmen used to invest countless hours in meticulously crafting wood into finely detailed and carved pieces. Today, furniture is often mass-produced and of lower quality. Craftsmen of the past took immense pride in their work, striving to create high-quality furniture. This is why much antique furniture remains in a condition similar to when it was first crafted over a century ago.

A picture of craftsmanship and making an antique coffee table.


When purchasing furniture at retail stores, anticipate paying the full price for a modern piece that is unlikely to endure for another hundred years and has been crafted from contemporary woods, often at the expense of the environment. One significant advantage of engaging in the antique trade is that you're essentially recycling old and unused items, with no adverse impact on the environment or climate change. Historical furniture, when sold as secondhand, often fetches only a fraction of its original value, despite its age and artistic value.

Where To Buy?

If you're seeking antique furniture, check out local antique stores, car boot fairs, and auction houses. The UK's antique market is now worth £1.8 billion, with approximately 26,300 full-time workers. More supply means better deals, and you can easily find affordable vintage pieces online. While high-quality furniture once fetched tens of thousands, the market has since declined, making it a buyer's market. With less interest from younger buyers, antique furniture is often undervalued and readily available for purchase and use.

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Price Guide

Pricing can be a challenging matter, as factors like age, style, wood type, and quality all have a significant impact on the cost of antique furniture and coffee tables. While oak tends to be more affordable, walnut and mahogany often command two or three-figure sums at auctions. Victorian and Edwardian pieces are frequently available and are typically well-crafted and in excellent condition. Expect to spend £100 or more for an antique coffee table. If you ever question the value for money, consider that you'd likely pay five times that amount at a retail store.

Author: Gregory Ebbs

CEO of the Antique