It might sound obvious, but when choosing a coffee table, first think about the way you will use it. For many, it's a canvas for artful arrangements of objects, while for others, it doubles as a dining table. So for the latter, ease of clean is an important consideration, making glass-tops and heavy veneers and laminates perfect, and unsealed wood not a good idea. A tabletop decked out in weighty vases and glossy statuary demands rock-solid construction, which - based upon your DIY savvy - can rule out tables which require some self-assembly. Strong construction is also advisable for those whose living room must withstand the rigours of little one. A coffee table can also serve as storage in cramped quarters, but don't necessarily limit your search to models with built-in shelving under the tabletop when this double-duty is a must-have attribute. Tables with an airy and open foundation can still adapt attractive stacks of books, filling the negative space between flooring and tabletop.