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Finding the Sweet Spot: How Tall Should A Coffee Table Be

Recently updated on February 21st, 2024 at 11:44 am

On the lookout for a coffee table to complement your new sofa? With myriad choices, it can be overwhelming to decide what height is suitable for your setup. But fret not; we’re here to help. When selecting a coffee table height, it’s crucial to find one that’s proportional to your sofa and doesn’t affect the balance of the room. Simultaneously, it should also be practical enough to hold your drinks, remotes, books, and other things you need within reach. Keep reading to discover how tall should a coffee table be and create a cozy, chic living room that you’ll enjoy returning to.

Living room with wooden accents

Photo by Willie879 from Freepik

Insight – When choosing a coffee table, consider the age of the users. Higher tables, around 20 to 22 inches, work best for adults, while lower tables are more suitable for kids.

How Tall Should a Coffee Table Be: Consider Your Overall Room Dimensions

Consider Your Overall Room Dimensions The height of your table should complement the size of your room and seating. If you have a small setup with a modest sofa and loveseat, a table around 16 to 18 inches high is ideal. It’s tall enough for sufficient viewing but won’t overwhelm the space.

For a larger interior with larger furniture, you’ll want a taller table, around 20 to 22 inches high. This provides a good viewing height when sitting back on a deep sofa or sectional. It also gives you added surface area for decorating and serving guests. Just make sure any taller coffee table still leaves enough clearance for easy walking traffic and legroom.

Related Article: Sectional Sofa Style: 26 Coffee Table Styles To Complete the Look

As a general rule of thumb, a table should be at least 1 to 2 inches shorter than the height of your main seating. So, measure from the floor to the top of your sofa cushion for reference. If you have an open-concept space or one with varied seating heights, choose a table in the middle of the range that works with all the furnishings.

Your table height should create an inviting space for relaxing, lounging, and casual living. If it’s too low, you’ll feel hunched over. Too high and it’ll look odd and out of place. Find the height that lets you unwind and puts your furniture, decor, snacks, and electronics within arm’s reach.

White living room with colorful accents

Photo by Studioworkstock from Freepik

Insight – Lower coffee tables around 16 inches are better for serving food and drinks. They allow you to sit closer to the table while eating and conversing.

How Tall Should a Coffee Table Be: Measuring Your Existing Furniture

When choosing a coffee table, measuring your existing furniture is key. Here are some tips to find the ideal height:

Measure your sofa height: The most common mistake is choosing a table that’s too high or too low compared to your sofa. For the best look, aim for a table height 1 to 2 inches lower than the seat height of your sofa as previously mentioned. If your sofa has loose cushions, measure with the cushions in place.

Consider how you use the space: If you often find yourself with your feet up, a lower table around 14 to 16 inches high is ideal. For a more formal space, 18 to 22 inches is a good range. Taller people will likely want a higher table. Remember to consider how you entertain and choose a height that meets your demands.

Factor in legroom: Leave at least 18 to 24 inches between the edge of the table and the nearest sofa. More space may be needed for larger tables or if you have an open-concept space. Ensure the table you choose leaves enough room for people to easily walk and manuveur around.

Measure twice: Once you’ve measured your sofa and determined the ideal height range, measure the space where you want to feature the table. Compare the measurements to the dimensions of the tables you’re interested in to ensure they will fit well in your arrangement. It’s best to measure the space in multiple spots to account for any variances in the room.

Living room design with table and sofa

Photo by Cobrastock from Freepik

How Tall Should a Coffee Table Be: Factor in Use

How you use your coffee table significantly impacts how tall it should be. A taller table, around 16 to 18 inches high, is a good choice if it’s mainly for displaying decor like books, candles, or plants. This provides ample surface area for accessories while still being low enough to not obstruct sightlines or conversations.

On the other hand, if you frequently dine, work, or play games in your living room, consider a shorter coffee table, around 14 to 16 inches tall. This makes reaching items on the tabletop easy and gives you plenty of legroom underneath. A lower table is more convenient for casual lounging and snacking while watching TV.

The seating in your living room is another essential factor. If you have a higher-set furniture sofa or lounge chairs, a taller table will balance the space nicely and keep items within reach. For lower seating options like ottomans or floor cushions, a lower table prevents you from having to stretch or bend awkwardly to access the tabletop.

Related Article: Sumptuous & Space-Savvy: 20 Low Coffee Table Ideas That Wow

How many levels you want is also something to ponder. A single-level coffee table is versatile and sleek but may not provide enough surface area for your deomands. Multi-level tables with two or three tiers give you extra space to hold items at varying heights, creating an alluring display. But ensure the overall height of a multi-level table still suits your room and seating style.

Living room with white coffee table and L-shape sofa

Photo by ALYND from Freepik

Insight – If you have ottomans, the coffee table should be at least 2 inches taller to allow the ottomans to fit comfortably underneath.

Adjustable Height Coffee Tables Offer Flexibility

Adjustable height coffee tables offer flexibility to find the sweet spot for your space and needs. Rather than being stuck with a table that’s too tall or too short, adjustable tables allow you to raise or lower the tabletop to your perfect height. An adjustable table lets you experiment to find what works for your space. Start at a middle height, around 17 inches, and live with it for a while. If you find yourself hunching over or struggling to reach items on the tabletop, raise it up an inch at a time until it feels right. Or lower it down if it feels too tall. The ability to make these minor tweaks can make a big difference in convenience and usability.

Related Article: 17 Lift Top Coffee Table Designs For A Smart Furnishing Upgrade

Change As Needed

The versatility of an adjustable table means you can modify the height to suit different needs. For example, raise the table higher when entertaining or hosting a party so guests have an easier time setting down and picking up drinks. Lower it when it’s just family lounging on the sofa so everything is within reach.

You may even find different heights preferable for different seasons. A slightly higher coffee table in the winter months brings items up and within reach for blankets, throws, and pillows. In summer, a lower height feels less imposing and more casual. Whatever your reasons for changing the height, adjustable coffee tables make it simple to do so.

Insight – Test the height by sitting in your typical seated position. You should be able to rest your arms comfortably on the table without straining.

Final Thoughts

Finding the ideal height for your coffee table is crucial, but it’s essential to remember that what works for you and your space is what really matters. Don’t rely solely on design blogs or your friend’s living room setup. Take measurements and consider how you use your space to determine the perfect height to let you relax with your feet up with everything within arm’s reach. Once you find that sweet spot, you can enjoy your comfy new setup with a cup of coffee in hand. While it may take effort to find the ideal height, it will be worth it, just like that first sip of coffee in the morning.

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