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What size should my coffee table be versus my sofa?

July 14th 2017

Your new coffee table deserves to be shown off in the very best light — and ensuring it is the correct size, shape and height for your living room will do just that.


When choosing a new coffee table, one of your main considerations should be its size in relation to the height, width and length of your sofa.

If your coffee table size is nothing more than afterthought, it will be glaringly obvious, and you run the risk of it either dwarfing your sofa or rendering your coffee table unnoticeable.

Coffee Table Vs Sofa

Coffee Table Size Guide


Although there is no standard sofa size, depending on how many your new sofa is going to seat, common sofa sizes range from around six to eight feet.

Likewise, there is no standard coffee table size, but the general school of thought from designers is that your new coffee table should be roughly half to two thirds of the length of the sofa.

Although this is a good guide, you also need to take into account the size of the room — a small living room might look great with an oversized sofa, but could be better suited to a pair of side tables rather than a central coffee table.

If you have two sofas or a large living room with lots of seating, a pair of matching coffee tables can work better visually than one large coffee table.

Before you buy a coffee table, take a note of its measurements then mark it out using masking tape on the floor — this will give you an idea of how its position will affect the surrounding living room furniture and the space you will have to move around it.


Coffee Table Height

Coffee table height is really important — even if the other proportions of your coffee table are spot on, getting the height wrong will ruin the rest of your living room furniture layout as well as affecting the way you can use it.

Your sofa height, or the height of the armchairs nearest the coffee table, should act as your guide. Aim for a coffee table height that sits level with the top of the seat cushions of your sofa, or just an inch or so lower, but never higher.


Coffee Table Positioning

In terms of the distance between sofa and coffee table, 16-18 inches usually works perfectly. This distance gives enough leg room whilst still allowing the easy set down and pick up of drinks and the like from the table top.

Aim to leave at least 16-18 inches all around the coffee table for ease of manoeuvring around it. In smaller spaces, a coffee table on wheels is a good flexible option.


Coffee Table Shape

Finally, the shape of coffee table you choose should reflect the size and layout of your living room too.

Round coffee tables are easy to navigate around and work well in living rooms with lots of seating. They also provide a practical solution to those with young children who are prone to bumping themselves on furniture, with no sharp edges.

The classic rectangular coffee table is a good choice in front of a long sofa, whilst a chunky square coffee table makes a good central focal point.

Still can’t decide? An oval or ‘squoval’ coffee table is a good compromise.

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