The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Right Table Top

The biggest purchases require and deserve the most thoughtful consideration. That is certainly the case with buying a new table top for your home. 

While table tops too often go unnoticed, they serve a particularly important role in any home design. For one, they are frequently the focal point of a room—whether as the coffee table in the living room or the dining room table. Because of this importance, they are called upon to tie together the overall design of the room while also being incredibly durable and functional.


A great table top can do all of these things. And great tables do not go unnoticed. If you are in the market for buying a new tabletop, follow this ultimate guide for making the best decision.

Plan Your Budget

Before buying a new table top, the first thing you should do is gain a strong understanding of your budget. You should not be making any sizable purchases without knowing exactly what your price range is. 

This is not a time to be irresponsible. Be sensible about what your realistic money constraints are, what you are willing to spend, and be sure that as you move forward through the buying process you keep that budget in front of mind.

Know Your Purpose

Be sure to have a firm grasp on why you are buying a new tabletop. Is this for a new coffee table in the living room? Is it for a new dining room or kitchen table? Perhaps it will be for an outdoor patio table. A table going inside will have a very different purpose than one going outside. Likewise, even inside, a table in the dining room will serve a much different purpose than a side table in the den.

It is important to have a strong idea of where the tabletop will go inside (or outside) your house. Once you have a budget nailed down and you know where the table will go, you can keep a narrow focus throughout the process of buying a new tabletop.

Choosing Appropriate Material

Once you know your budget and the purpose the new table top will serve, you can begin to explore the various options in the marketplace. Below are some of the most common materials.

Glass – elegant and modern look

Perhaps the most well-rounded of all table top materials, glass looks great in any room, is durable, easy to clean, and it helps accentuate other fine features, such as chairs or rugs. If you choose glass when buying a new table top, be sure that you keep it clean of fingerprints and scratches so it always looks its best.

Solid Wood – a traditional way 

Solid wood is a conventional yet close to natural look for any tablet, and with the right sealant, these tables can have very long lives. However, if you go this route, be aware that these tables show their age—with scuffs, watermarks, temperature, and humidity all taking their tolls.

Butcher Block – add a rustic style with wood

Much like solid wood, butcher block tabletops offer a natural design, and they are also very versatile. However, the same drawbacks of solid wood apply here as well.

Quartz Composite – durable and modern way 

This is a great option for a durable and modern look. It is also easy to clean and won’t show its age like wood. These tabletops are cool to the touch, and if they require multiple slabs, it can be difficult to seamlessly put them together.

Granite – for a timeless look

These table tops are perfect for a timeless look indoors and outdoors, along with many of the same benefits of quartz. However, they also have the same drawbacks as quartz.

Marble – A very versatile material

A versatile material that can look good in modern or traditional room designs, marble table tops are always unique. If you go this route, know that the marble should be sealed so that its porous surface does not allow stains.

Ceramic Composite – a tough yet low-cost option 

While a cheaper option than quartz, granite, or marble, ceramic composite table tops offer durable surfaces at lower costs.

Laminated Plywood – most cheapest but least hard-wearing option 

These surfaces provide a great value. They are typically the cheapest of all table top surfaces, but they are also the least durable. Be sure not to use these as cutting boards and be cautious about chipping the laminate.

The Recommended Material Option

When buying a new tabletop for your home, the best-recommended material option is easily glass. Glass offers the best combination of benefits, with very few downsides. With its durability, ease of keeping a clean, clear surface to give the room a larger feel, and elegant look, glass should be your top choice. Also, it offers a range of versatile designs, from clear glass to crackled glass to frosted glass.

What Shape Do You Want to Use?

Part of the process of buying a new tabletop, once you have set your budget, focused your search, and chosen your material, will be selecting the shape of the table. For most locations inside and outside the home, the best option is either rectangular or round shapes. However, because tables—and glass in particular—are so customizable, your options are nearly endless. Always wanted a peanut-shaped table? How about an octagon? Or perhaps a half-circle? These are all viable options.

What Size & Thickness of Glass?

An often-overlooked aspect of buying a new glass table top is the thickness, but this is an important part of finding the right one for your home.

  Typically, the thicker the glass, the more durable the table. Common thicknesses range from about 1/8” to about 3/4″. However, increased thickness also means a heavier table. Is this table going to be completely stationary, or will it need to be moved occasionally? Also, how much weight must it be able to hold? These are questions you should be able to answer. 

Along with thickness, be sure that you are measuring the space where you will be putting the table to ensure you get a size that fits as you expect it should. There is nothing worse than buying a new table top, only to get it home and realize it does not fit!

Choosing Edge Polishing Styles

Lastly, be aware that glass table tops come in an assortment of edge polishing. Some of the most common are flat polishing, beveled edges, or pencil polished. There are many less common options, though, such as ogee, waterfall, and the bullnose, to name a few. Find the right one for your style!

Custom-Cut Glass Table Top Solution: Glass Genius

Ready to start the process of buying a new table top? And if your pick is a glass, so is the best place to look for custom-cut glass table top options. GlassGenius is a unique online glass marketplace that brings together top local vendors and buyers so that the best services are being delivered at the best prices. For a great deal on a custom-cut glass table top, start with GlassGenius.

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