I recently flew out to visit my best friend, and among other fun things, we ended her months-long hemming and hawing over a coffee table. Rather than paying for a placeholder, she had been holding out for something that felt just right.
The trade-off, obviously, was that she had nothing in front of her couch for a very long time. I would tease her intermittently about the six-plus-months of searching, but that couldn't make Craigslist turn up her ideal table for cheap. Finally, convinced she could afford it and that it was worth the money, she committed to a table she had loved from the beginning, the Y-Base coffee table from West Elm. We took it home, assembled it (very easily!), and she was as happy as you can be about a piece of furniture.
I had a similar but not quite so drawn-out experience shopping for my current dining table, another big ticket item. How about you?
Image: West Elm