There’s a classic Curb episode in which Larry David investigates which of his friends doesn’t respect wood — that is, he tries to get to the bottom of who damaged Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ table by not putting a coaster down. Many of the grievances of the fictionalized version of Larry David are frankly ridiculous, but we’re with him on this one. Coasters are an incredibly cheap and easy way to protect your coffee, dining, and side tables from condensation from cold drinks or warping from hot drinks. If you respect wood, you use a coaster.
Beyond their practical application, drink coasters can be treated as decor, whether your tastes skew mid-century modern, Scandi minimalist, or you’re more of a color-loving maximalist. Because they come in so many colors and styles, they can serve as a tasteful bit of functional decor on your coffee table. Not for nothing, having a set of matching coasters will also make any bachelor pad seem more grown up.
And while there’s seemingly not much to a coaster, they’re not all created equal. The material of the coaster can make a big difference in how effectively it protects your table from moisture. It’s best to look for coasters that are made from absorbent materials.
It may seem counterintuitive, but an absorbent cork, felt, or sandstone coaster will absorb moisture without transferring water to the table. Nonabsorbent coasters will either just stick to the bottom of your glass or drip onto the table. If you are looking at nonabsorbent materials like metal, it’s good to go for one with a raised edge or lip to keep condensation contained.
We’ve done the work for you and rounded up the coolest coasters to buy for every interior that will work just as well for ice-cold cocktails in the evening and piping hot coffee the next morning.
LA-based Graf Lantz specializes in home goods made from merino wool felt, a material that is as cozy and inviting as it is durable. The coasters come in a pack of four in 18 different color schemes, and they’re available in square or circular shapes. Since it’s wool, it can absorb a lot of water without getting damp.
Leatherology specializes in, you guessed it, leather goods. The same properties of leather that make it good for jackets and shoes also work for coasters. These coasters are durable, good looking, and they get better with age. Plus, you can customize most Leatherology goods for $10 extra. These coasters come in a set of four and are available in black, tan, oxblood, dove, or black leather with an embossed croc detail if you’re extra fancy.
Part puzzle, part coaster, Areaware’s Bower Studios-designed coasters have become a trendy option, at least as far as coasters go. They’re available in various colors and fit together in an eye-catching way. While they seem expensive, they come in a set of 12, while most other coasters on this list come in a set of 4 or 6. If you regularly entertain, it’s good to have coasters and conversation pieces. It’s rare to have a coaster that is a conversation piece, but this set fits the bill.
Square and round aren’t the be-all, end-all of coaster shapes. These curved coasters call to mind the eclectic look of mid-century modern hanging mobiles. They’re made from recycled leather and come in a set of four. Colors include blue, green, sand, and black.
Water can damage wood, but some wood can take it better than others. These coasters are made from acacia, which is naturally durable and moisture-resistant. The raised lip helps keep moisture in check.
Thirstystone makes coasters from sandstone, a material notable for its unique, natural pattern. The porous material effectively absorbs liquid and keeps it from pooling on your table. The natural cork backing also protects the table from scratches.
Yamazaki Home is a brand that nails Japanese minimalism, and the brand’s designs come in uniform shades of white, black, or light wood. This set of coasters is made from easy-to-clean and heat absorbent silicone, and the raised lip helps prevent spills.
Vintage coasters are harder to collect than, say, vintage ashtrays, largely because the paper ones start to dissolve the second, you put a cold one on them. But they’re out there, like this new old stock Pabst Blue Ribbon set. They may not be the best for use as an actual coaster, but they’re cool to collect.
best beach house vibe
Haancrafts Handwoven Rattan Coasters
This set of rattan coasters comes in a set of 6 and includes a coaster caddy. It’s perfect for the boho, coastal grandma vibe.
Grovemade makes some of the most stylish desk accessories money can buy, and while they’re pretty expensive, they can at least add some serenity to a busy workday. These coasters are made from virgin wool felt and come in dark or light gray. Four coasters are included.
Doodling on the table never looked so good. These silicone coasters have a unique squiggle design. It may not do the best job of containing moisture, but it’ll protect your surfaces from hot beverages.
The inspirations may be eclectic, but Schoolhouse consistently delivers tasteful interior design goods. These coasters are pretty expensive, but the stylish brass look makes for a great housewarming gift, and the cork base protects your surfaces.