How Big Should A Coffee Table Be? Explained

Looking to buy a coffee table but not sure how big should a coffee table be? This measurement guide will help you make the right pick.

Black square coffee-table, modern interior - How big should a coffee table be
Idea coffee table height should be between 16-18 inches

Shopping for the right coffee table that synchronizes with your home space is not a piece of cake. There are plenty of leading designer brands introducing various styles, sizes, and materials.

An ideal coffee table height should be 16 to 18 inches from the floor to the tabletop. You will need to measure your couch, the distance between the table and the sofa, and the square space of the room you put the table in.

Other than that, you have to imagine whether or not you’ll feel comfortable reaching out to the coffee table from your couch.

What To Consider Before Buying The Right Coffee Table

Size And Proportion

An average height of a coffee table most people bid for falls somewhere between 16 to 18 inches high. However, it can also fluctuate between 14 to 20 inches, depending on the height of the sofa or couch. Plus, the coffee table should be two-thirds the length of your sofa for the correct proportion.

You want your coffee table to be lower than your couch and TV because it’s a coffee table, not a dining table. 

Material And Visual Impact

Some storage Ottoman coffee tables deliver a bold and fancy look, but the downside is that they would make a room feel dark and heavy. On the other hand, an oval, glass, seen-through coffee table is a common, safe call that fits most modern homes as it brings out a sleeker, lighter, and friendly atmosphere to the space.

Interior fashionable living-room rendering
Glass coffee tables reflect light and ventilate airflow

Between wood, leather, and glass, glass coffee tables are one of the best-sellers thanks to their ability to reflect light and ventilate airflow. However, glass coffee tables are not the best choice to accommodate your resting legs or carry weights.

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Function

What else can you do with a coffee table? What if someday you like to have a meal on it? Or what if you wish to garnish it with some heavy decorative items?

Having these answers sorted out will help you choose the right size, material, storage space, design, and color. You might also find our guide on what is a lift-top coffee table helpful.

Can A Coffee Table Be Higher Than A Couch?

The coffee table only looks right if it has the same height as the couch or lower. Usually, a coffee table will go in the living room. So place your coffee table between your sofa or couch in front of your TV. 

Some may like to place it outdoors on the balcony or under a porch by the garden. But no matter where it goes, a low coffee table allows you to see over it and maintain eye contact with other people during the conversation. 

You want a low coffee table that doesn't blind your eye contact. A high coffee table is likely to steal the spotlight from your other furniture.

How Tall Should A Coffee Table Be Compared To The Couch?

The standard height of a sofa or a couch falls between 17 to 19 inches measured from the floor to the top of the seat cushions. Lower couches make it uncomfortable when you’re reaching out for a cup of coffee at a higher table. Meanwhile, a higher couch or elevated seating will result in an awkward space when the coffee table is accidentally pushed too low for use.

Get your tape measure ready and have the size of your couch at hand before popping into the furniture store to pick up your coffee table. Then subtract one to two inches, and you’ll come up with the perfect height of your coffee table. This standard height will give you enough clearance to watch over the tabletop and the subjects falling above.

If I have a sofa that reaches 18 inches in height, I will aim for a 16-inch coffee table. If I have an overstuffed couch of 22 inches, my ideal coffee table should be 20 inches in height.

The Best Placement For A Coffee Table

Now let’s go over the distance between the couch and the coffee table. If you have an extensively large living room, place your coffee table in the middle of the room and push your couch one foot away from the table.

Place your coffee table in the middle of your living room

If you have an armchair or sofa swathing around, leave a standard space from 12 to 18 inches between the coffee table and surrounding seating. You don't want the table to be too close to the seating or too far away; otherwise, it doesn't serve its purpose well. This standard floor space allows you or your family to move between the seats, stretch your legs, and navigate the room without bumping up against the table.

What Is The Best Shape For A Coffee Table?

Coffee table size matters, but the shape is another key factor that comes into place. First off, take a look at your sofa size.

If you have a horizontal sofa, balance it with an oval or rectangular coffee table. On the other hand, an L-shaped sofa looks better with a round or square coffee table.

Author

  • Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing copies about everything drink-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea.